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Principals and teamwork among teachers: An exploratory study

  • Fortune School of Education


This study explored the role public school principals play in implementing teamwork among K-12 teachers. A sample of 636 U.S. principals completed an online survey rating the importance of teamwork, identifying the barriers teachers face when working in teams, and listing the initiatives they have taken to promote teamwork among teachers. The findings suggest that principals consider teamwork to be very important. They also showed that time constraints, relationship concerns, and differences in teaching and experience are the leading barriers to teamwork. The findings also indicated that principals take initiatives-such as modifying schedules, team-building activities, and professional development-to foster teamwork among teachers.
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
Meaghan Polega1
Roque do Carmo Amorim Neto2
Rebecca Brilowski3
Kristin Baker4
This study explored the role public school principals play in implementing teamwork
among K-12 teachers. A sample of 636 U.S. principals completed an online survey
rating the importance of teamwork, identifying the barriers teachers face when
working in teams, and listing the initiatives they have taken to promote teamwork
among teachers. The ndings suggest that principals consider teamwork to be
very important. They also showed that time constraints, relationship concerns, and
dierences in teaching and experience are the leading barriers to teamwork. The
ndings also indicated that principals take initiatives—such as modifying schedules,
team-building activities, and professional development—to foster teamwork among
Este estudo explorou o papel que os diretores das escolas públicas desempenham
na implementação do trabalho em equipe entre professores do ensino fundamental
e médio. Uma amostra de 636 diretores dos EUA completaram uma pesquisa on-line
1 Davenport University
2 Davenport University
3 Davenport University
4 Davenport University
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
sobre a importância do trabalho em equipe, identicando as barreiras enfrentadas
pelos professores ao trabalharem em equipes e listando as iniciativas tomadas para
promover o trabalho em equipe entre os professores. As descobertas sugerem que
os diretores consideram o trabalho em equipe muito importante. Também mostraram
que restrições de tempo, preocupações com relacionamento e diferenças no ensino
e experiência são os principais obstáculos ao trabalho em equipe. Os resultados
também indicaram que os diretores tomam iniciativas tais como a modicação de
horários, atividades de formação de equipes e desenvolvimento prossional para
promover o trabalho em equipe entre os professores.
Este estudio exploró el papel que desempeñan los directores de las escuelas públicas
en la implementación del trabajo en equipo entre los maestros de K-12. Una muestra
de 636 directores de EE. UU. completó una encuesta en línea en la que se evaluó la
importancia del trabajo en equipo, identicando las barreras a las que se enfrentan
los maestros cuando trabajan en equipos y enumerando las iniciativas que han
tomado para promover el trabajo entre los maestros. Los hallazgos sugieren que los
directores consideran que el trabajo en equipo es muy importante. También mostraron
que las limitaciones de tiempo, las preocupaciones de relación y las diferencias en la
enseñanza y la experiencia son las principales barreras para el trabajo. Los hallazgos
también indicaron que los directores toman iniciativas, como la modicación de los
horarios, las actividades de creación de equipos y el desarrollo profesional, para
fomentar el trabajo en equipo entre los maestros.
Teamwork can be dened as the ability to work with others through cooperation
and communication to accomplish a common goal (Baker, Salas, King, Battles &
Barach, 2005; Ballangrund et al., 2017). For teamwork to be eective, members must
understand the team’s purpose, work toward that purpose, and be both independent of
and dependent on other members to accomplish the task (Baker et al., 2005). Strom,
Strom, and More (1999) also call attention to the critical role of communication for
teamwork success.
Teamwork can lead to a decrease in workplace errors, higher rates of satisfaction
among employees and clients, and provide opportunities for continuous improvement
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
among professionals (Ballangrund, 2017; Hwang & Ahn, 2015). Teamwork also brings
benets to schools. Dierent forms of teacher teamwork are associated with greater
impact on students, readiness to teach, teacher commitment, teacher entrepreneurial
behavior, and higher student achievement in math and reading (Ronfeldt, Farmer,
McQueen & Grissom, 2015; Shapira-Lischshinky & Aziel, 2010; Tschida, Smith &
Fogarty, 2015; van Dam, Schipper & Runhaar, 2010).
The benets of teamwork are being increasingly documented. Authors such
as O’Neill and Salas (2018) advocate for more empirical studies on teamwork in
general, while Amorim Neto, Bursey, Janowiak, Mccarty, and Demeter (2018) call for
an exploration of teachers’ teamwork from the perspective of school leaders. Their
call is relevant because school leaders—namely principals—are tasked with the
development of a culture of teamwork among teachers (Ketterlin-Geller, Baumer &
Lichon, 2014). In Benoliel and Schechter’s (2018, p.234) words, principals must “pull
teachers away from the comfort of their closed classroom doors and instructional
routines and allow them to take the risks of learning and doubting with colleagues”
to ensure school success. Accordingly, our exploratory study is an answer to their
call. Our study examines teamwork among teachers from the principals’ perspective
identies the importance they give to teamwork, barriers teachers face when working
in teams, and initiatives taken by principals to further teamwork.
Teamwork is viewed as fundamental to successful organizations, and more
specically to good teaching (Cherkowski & Schnellert, 2018; Leonard & Leonard, 2003,
2005). According to Leonard and Leonard (2003), professional teaching standards
have been revised to include language advocating for teachers’ learning communities
and collaboration. Teamwork not only deters teachers from working in isolation, it also
improves pedagogical practices and advances student acumen and achievement
(Achinstein, 2002; Datnow, 2011; Vangrieken, Dochy, Raes & Kyndt, 2015).
In a review of the literature, Vangrieken et al. (2015) provide a comprehensive
overview of teacher collaboration. The team found that schools must oer a climate
of trust, honesty, and respect to foster eective teamwork. An environment of open
communication and a shared sense of purpose and values also contribute to successful
teamwork (Kutsyuruba, 2011; Vangrieken et al., 2015). Furthermore, eective teams
are exible and regard the expertise of individual contributors. The work is not imposed
from the top down, but emerges from the eort of the entire group instead (Duyar,
Gumus & Bellibas, 2013; Vangrieken et al., 2015).
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
Teamwork has the potential to motivate teachers, reduce workload, and
increase self-ecacy (Vangrieken et al., 2015). According to Avanzi, Fraccaroli,
Castrelli, Marcionetti, Crescentini, Balducci, and van Dick (2017), social support is
a meaningful tool for navigating work overload. Supportive mentors, colleagues, or
team members share positive experiences and work together to complete tasks, thus
alleviating workload stress (Avanzi et al., 2017). Furthermore, research by Moolenaar,
Sleegers, and Daly (2011) found a relationship between the collective ecacy beliefs
of Dutch teacher teams and student success in language. When teamwork fosters
feelings of ecacy in teachers, it supports student achievement (Chantathai, Tesaputa
& Somprach, 2015; Moolenaar et al., 2011; Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2017; Vangrieken et
al., 2015).
Leonard and Leonard (2003) point out that teacher collaboration is unlikely
to develop in a toxic school culture. A hostile environment and other stressors in the
teaching profession—such as low salaries, lack of support from the administration,
and poor communication of expectations—have led to worldwide rising attrition rates
(Buchanan, Prescott, Schuck, Aubusson & Burke, 2013; Kutsyuruba, 2011; Skaalvik
& Skaalvik, 2017). Research in Norway suggests that teamwork has the potential to
subvert this trend (Skaalvik & Skaalvik, 2017). The Norwegian team analyzed the
results of a questionnaire completed by over 500 teachers at ten randomly chosen
high schools. They concluded that social support may not necessarily alleviate stress.
But feelings of self-ecacy, job satisfaction, and enthusiasm can indeed be derived
through teacher teamwork, mentoring, and learning communities (Skaalvik & Skaalvik,
2017). Skaalvik and Skaalvik (2017) also found that a supportive and collaborative
atmosphere at work could be associated with lower attrition rates. However, a recent
study with U.S. teachers found no correlation between teamwork and motivation to
leave teaching (Amorim Neto et al., 2018).
The processes of building eective teamwork and improving as a group can
be quite complex, often involving what Achinstein (2002) refers to as micropolitics.
Micropolitics is the use of power struggles within an organization as individuals or
groups set out to attain specic ambitions or objectives (Achinstein, 2002). Coups,
quibbles, and contention can create conict. But a failure to think pragmatically about
the delineation of tasks and the complicated nature of relationships—as well as a
miscommunication of goals—can lead to lack of trust and breakdown in the process
(Bennett & Gadlin, 2012; Datnow, 2011; Frederick, 2008; Zaccaro, Rittman & Marks,
While many teachers are uncomfortable with conict, it may actually have the
potential to be viewed as a source of renewal (Achinstein, 2002; Hargreaves, 1995).
Research challenges the commonly held notion that community is built in harmony
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
and consensus, asserting that conict can be an instrument of inquiry, growth, and
innovation (Achinstein, 2002). While it is true that strong communities typically have
common values or goals, Achinstein (2002) points out that teamwork, derived in a
climate in which cohesion itself is the value, can stie diverse ideas and minimize the
benets of reection. Achinstein (2002) explains that conict can be the catalyst for
transformation, allowing teachers to challenge the status quo and take greater risks to
reform education.
Asked what they needed to build eective teamwork, teachers oered
diverse opinions. These included additional training through appropriate professional
development, time and money for planning, more administrative support, and clear
expectations (Kutsyuruba, 2011; Leonard & Leonard, 2003; Matsuo, 2016). Teachers
consistently report frustration with inadequate resources and support, especially when
they perceive the work environment as unsupportive, discouraging, or even hostile
(Kutsyuruba, 2011; Leonard & Leonard, 2003; Matsuo, 2016).
These issues bring the role of principals in fostering teamwork to light. Mickan
and Rodger (2000) indicate clearly that eective teamwork stems—at least in part—from
supportive leadership. On the other hand, leadership actions presented by principals
can be a barrier to teamwork (Karakus & Tomeren, 2005). Because the support of
principals to teamwork does not happen automatically, their role in implementing
teamwork and a culture of collaboration in schools requires further exploration.
Facilitating a culture of teamwork among teachers is one of the many tasks
of principals (Ketterlin-Geller et al., 2014). In Turkey, Duyar et al. (2013) found that
principal leadership and teacher teamwork rank high among variables that aect job
satisfaction and self-ecacy. Schools in Turkey are adapting to support teamwork
among teachers. As a result, the role of principals is shifting from hierarchical, top-
down management to transformational leadership (Duyar et al., 2013).
Eective leadership emphasizes teamwork and collaboration rather than a
singular manager. Principals are responsible for the transformational shift that occurs
when schools commit to a culture of teamwork (van der Mescht & Tyala, 2008). Since
schools tend to be highly structured organizations, principals must modify their structure
to strengthen the culture of collaboration (Szczesiul & Huizenga, 2014). According
to van der Mescht and Tyala (2008), successful principals support teamwork by
establishing a cohesive climate in which team members from distinctive backgrounds
with various areas of expertise collaborate to reach a shared goal. When principals
facilitate successful teams by focusing on a wide variety of skills, teachers become
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
part of teams with a comprehensive range of ideas, expertise, and experiences that
can be shared and reected upon (Ketterlin-Geller et al., 2014; Mullen & Hutinger,
2008; van der Mescht & Tyala, 2008).
Principals who are intentional about facilitating teamwork establish a precise
mission and provide opportunities for teams to develop a shared vision (Drago-
Severson & Pinto, 2006). By making the purpose and vision of teamwork well-dened,
they provide teachers with a sense of unity and alleviate isolation. The organizational
school structure gives way to an empowered culture of collaboration (Szczesiul &
Huizenga, 2014). What emerges from this new mindset is a cohesive community
of learners driven by diversity, participation, and shared responsibilities (Mullen &
Hutinger, 2008; van der Mescht & Tyala, 2008). As teamwork ourishes, the culture of
schools becomes less rigid and an environment of risk-taking, creativity, and openness
is unfurled (van der Mescht & Tyala, 2008).
Early work in Australia by Walker (1994) suggests that teachers entrusted
with decision-making and shared responsibilities become more willing to participate,
take creative risks, and contribute to the overall eectiveness of the school. Further
studies in Dutch elementary schools found that teachers empowered in this way foster
strong student achievement (Moolenaar, Sleegers & Daly, 2011). Likewise, a study
of secondary schools in Kenya found that school leaders can inspire ownership and
achievement when teachers are included in decision-making and planning (Zaveria &
Thuringi, 2017). This study also indicated that teachers more successfully implement
school programs and may also improve student performance when principals design
eective teams.
As decision-making and shared responsibilities are ltered through teams,
principals become wellsprings of resources and support (Walker, 1994). They can
support teacher teams by building mutual planning time into team schedules, giving
feedback to teams as they work toward team goals, and advocating for a shared vision
(Mullen & Hutinger, 2008). In addition, principals can model meaningful professional
learning by leading teams in study groups (DuFour, 2006). They can also act as a
buer for teams against external factors—such as bureaucracy and policy—and allow
teachers to stay focused on the team’s creative work (van der Mescht & Tyala, 2008).
In a study in South Africa, van der Mescht and Tyala (2008) explored the
perceptions of principals regarding team management. They found that teachers
consider time, trust, and diversity as necessary components of good teams. For
collaboration in schools to ourish, leaders must foster a climate of trust (Duyar et al.,
2013). Principals who cultivate teamwork will establish a culture of trust and openness,
in which teachers feel a sense of shared values and purpose, feel safe to express
their feelings, enjoy acknowledgement for their accomplishments, and know they are
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
buered against negative external forces (Duyar et al., 2013; van der Mescht & Tyala,
2008; Walker, 1994).
Van der Mescht and Tyala (2008) also support a transformation from the
hierarchical management approach to distributed leadership—an approach in which
members of the team evolve and contribute to the team in varying ways. Szczesiul and
Huizenga (2014) point out that the hierarchical use of mandated, formal controls has
been proven ineectual in complex school settings. In fact, a climate of authoritarian
oversight, rather than organically derived collaborative processing, may put teamwork
at risk (Mullen & Hutinger, 2008; Szczesiul & Huizenga, 2014; van der Mescht & Tyala,
2008; Walker, 1994). When the Turkish Ministry of National Education implemented
a training program on collaboration without teachers’ input, they were less willing to
embrace it (Duyar et al., 2013). The authors of the Turkish study emphatically call on
the centralized systems integral to the country to rethink education.
Nonetheless, barriers like the ones in Turkey exist elsewhere. In Australia,
Walker (1994) expressed concerns about overburdened teachers. He noted that
pushing teachers to take on extra duties without extra pay could undermine teamwork.
A similar U.S. study stated that teachers develop resentment toward the process when
they participate in teamwork without feeling like they have inuence (Tschannen-Moran,
2001). This is a term known as contrived collaboration. Tschannen-Moran (2001) also
referred to principals’ lack of trust. They feared that teachers were not trained to lead
or that they might not perform competent work in shared leadership positions.
Another barrier noted by several studies was the scarcity of time (Amorim
Neto et al., 2018; Ketterlin-Geller et al., 2014; Mullen & Hutinger, 2008). In some
cases, principals are concerned about the challenge of nding common time for
all team members to meet (Szczesiul & Huizenga, 2014; Zaveria & Thinguri, 2017).
Other studies note the challenge of team members who misuse time or fail to use it
productively (Ketterlin-Geller et al., 2014; Szczesiul & Huizenga, 2014). In this sense,
van der Mescht and Tyala (2008) alert us to teachers who undermine the process of
collaboration—what the authors call sabotage. Such teachers may not contribute as
much to the process, or they may act as disruptive elements.
Research has found that lack of clear communication is a sizable barrier when
principals set out to build teacher teams (Szczesiul & Huizenga, 2014; Tschannen-
Moran, 2001; Walker, 1994). Szczesiul and Huizenga (2014) argued that lack of
communication includes the principal’s inability to convey the vision or provide
feedback. They noted that this can leave teachers feeling uncertain. They also found
that teams end up longing for clearly stated goals to give them a sense of purpose.
These ndings resonate with the study Amorim Neto et al. (2018) conducted with
322 U.S. public school teachers. Their study found that providing a clear vision and
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
goals is the number-one action teachers expect principals to take to foster teamwork.
Furthermore, teachers do not want a vision and goals imposed on them. They expect
principals to engage them in developing the school’s vision and goals, while leading by
example (Amorim Neto et al., 2018). Additionally, teachers would like to see principals
foster teamwork in ways that include trusting teachers and listening to their feedback,
running team-building activities, providing time for collaborative work, and oering
professional development focused on teamwork (Amorim Neto et al., 2018).
Fostering teamwork involves much more than simply addressing specic
barriers. Principals need to engage in a deeper transformation of the school culture.
For example, Szczesiul and Huizenga (2014) reveal that team members end up
feeling like the process does not really matter when principals fail to oer appropriate
oversight or make decisions without consulting them. Furthermore, principals must be
aware of tensions that may arise when the culture transforms from power to creative
collaboration (van der Mescht & Tyala, 2008). As they face external administrative
pressure, principals must nd a balance between compliance and collaboration to
emerge as the buer between policy and practice (van der Mescht & Tyala, 2008).
Shifting the culture of education is a daunting task, requiring more than
managerial skills (van der Mescht & Tyala, 2008). It requires a shared vision, the
courage to take risks, and a clearly dened set of values (Drago-Severson & Pinto,
2006; van der Mescht & Tyala, 2008). Furthermore, it requires educational leaders to
reinvent schools with wisdom and teamwork (Tschannen-Moran, 2001).
This exploratory study addresses the following research questions:
(i) To what extent do principals nd teamwork as important?
(ii) What are the most common barriers they face?
(iii) How do principals foster teamwork among teachers?
By tackling these questions, this study attempts to ll a gap in the literature
surrounding teamwork in the educational eld by assessing the importance that
principals place on it, identifying from the principals’ perspective the most common
barriers that teachers face when engaging teamwork, and compiling a list of the most
common initiatives principals take to foster teamwork. This study is relevant because
the research on teamwork in the teaching profession is still very limited. Much of
the work focuses on the positive outcomes of teamwork in teaching and the barriers
teachers experience when working with a team (e.g., Achinstein, 2002; Amorim Neto
et al., 2018; Hallam, Smith, Hite, Hite & Wilcox, 2015; Kutsyuruba, 2011; Vangrieken
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
et al., 2015). Given the importance of leaders in shaping the culture of organizations
(Groysberg, Lee, Price & Cheng, 2018; Warrick, 2017), more specically the role
of principals in providing teachers with support systems and impacting teachers
schedules and workload (Hallam et al., 2015; Hallam, Boren, Hite, Hite & Mugimu,
2013; Thomas, 2014; Yirci, zdemir, Kartal & Kocabaş, 2014), it is important to
explore how they value teamwork and foster teamwork among teachers—thereby
oering more evidence to the literature in this area.
U.S. K-12 public school principals received an online message. It informed
them of the goal of the study and of their right to decline participating or discontinue
their participation at any time. They were also ensured that their identity would remain
anonymous. After completing the survey, they could enter a drawing for one of two
$30 gift cards. A total of 636 principals completed the survey.
The mean age of responders was 49.3 (SD = 8.2) and mean years experience
as principal was 8.6 (SD = 6.6). Females comprised 57.39% of participants. This gender
distribution is similar to the overall U.S. public school principal population. According
to the U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2017)
in 2015-16, 54.2% of principals identify as female. Most participants had a Master’s
degree (n = 543, 85.37%). More than half were principals at elementary schools (n =
349, 54.87%), consistent with national statistics.
Participants were asked to provide information regarding age, gender,
experience as principal, school type, and highest degree achieved.
Principals were asked to rate the overall importance of teamwork on a ve-
point Likert scale, ranging from 1 (not at all important) to 5 (very important). Then they
were asked to justify their response to this item.
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
Principals were asked to identify up to three barriers they perceive teachers
may face when working in a team. We also asked them to identify up to three initiatives
they have taken to foster teamwork.
We performed descriptive statistical analyses to determine the age, gender,
years of experience, school type, and highest degree. We also analyzed the importance
of teamwork with descriptive statistics.
We performed an analysis of frequency to identify the barriers principals
perceive teachers having to teamwork and the initiatives they have taken to promote
teamwork. Finally, we performed an analysis of frequency to determine why principals
felt teamwork was important.
To assess the extent to which principals nd teachers’ teamwork important,
participants rated it in a Likert scale ranging from 1 (not at all important) to 5 (very
important). Almost all rated it as highly important (M = 4.803, SD = 0.425). Only 7
(1.1%) principals attributed low importance to teachers’ teamwork.
As a follow-up question, we asked principals to briey justify their response
regarding the importance of teamwork. Their reasons focused on three elements:
school culture and success, student achievement, and teachers’ pedagogical practices
and personal growth. While these elements are usually intertwined in the daily school
routine, we present them separately below to better illustrate the participants’ reasoning.
i) School culture and success (n = 185, 35.99%). Teachers’ teamwork is
important to principals because it benets the entire school by facilitating community
building, school success, and the creation and achievement of common goals
throughout the building. According to principals, teamwork helps create a positive
school culture, an environment of open communication, and a climate of trust, honesty,
and respect. Additionally, teamwork supports all individuals in the building—teachers,
sta members, and students. We have to work together to best serve kids AND
ourselves. It allows us to build a learning community to support the growth of everyone
in our building,” said one principal.
ii) Student achievement (n = 128, 24.90%). Principals believe that teamwork
among teachers positively impacts student achievement and creates a model which
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
students observe and engage in good teamwork. Teamwork can create an environment
in which students are successful and achieve more, both socially and academically.
“Collaboration is extremely important in achieving schoolwide goals and vision. These
goals are student-centered and ultimately contribute to student achievement,” said a
iii) Teachers’ practices and growth (n = 201, 39.11%). Principals stated that
teamwork impacts teaching practices and inuences teacher personal growth. Many
principals reported that teamwork helps teachers by giving them role models, other
teachers to talk to about best practices, and the opportunity to examine dierent
perspectives and opinions. “When teachers work as a team they learn and grow
together as they see things from others’ points of view. An eective team taps the
expertise of each person, honors the opinions of all and compels each member to be
curious, inquisitive and resourceful professional learners and problem solvers,” said
one principal.
Participants were asked to list up to three barriers that teachers face regarding
teamwork. The list presented in Table 1 indicates that time constraints, relationship
issues, and teaching concerns were the main barriers teachers face when engaging
in teamwork.
Table 1: Barriers to teachers’ teamwork according to principals
Barriers n (%)
Time constraints 408 (26.19%)
Relationship issues (lack of trust, conict, communication issues) 252 (16 .17%)
Teaching concerns (lack of resources, dierences in teaching
style, experience, and knowledge)
252 (16 .17%)
Personality dierences (attitude, ego, personal values) 218 (13.99%)
Other barriers (isolation, leadership issues, lack of buy-in) 174 (11.17%)
Unclear roles and goals 131 (8.41%)
Unwillingness to participate in teams or to change 65 (4.17%)
Insecurities 58 (3.72%)
Total: 1558 (100%)
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
Participants were asked to identify up to three initiatives they have taken
to encourage teamwork among teachers. The list indicates that the most frequent
initiatives taken was modifying schedules, followed by team-building activities and
professional development. Table 2 contains the complete list of initiatives.
Table 2: Initiatives taken to promote teamwork
Initiatives n (%)
Modifying schedules (common planning time, adding time to meet) 324 (21.04%)
Team-building activities (relationship building, awards, celebrations) 205 (13.31%)
Professional development/training (book studies, mentoring,
classroom observations)
219 (14.22%)
Professional Learning Communities (PLC) 165 (10.71%)
Regular meetings (grade-level meetings, team meetings) 164 (10.6 5%)
Other initiatives (district/state driven, less responsibilities for sta,
creating common goals/expectations)
463 (3 0.06%)
Total: 1540 (100%)
This exploratory study had three main objectives: (i) assessing the importance
of teachers’ teamwork according to principals; (ii) identifying the barriers teachers face
when working in teams; and (iii) listing the initiatives that principals take to promote
teamwork. The following sections address the ndings for each of these goals and
their implications for the eld. These are followed by the limitations in our study that
we identied and recommendations for future studies.
The high importance of teachers’ teamwork reported by participants is
encouraging. The literature has long indicated the positive benets of teamwork (e.g.,
Datnow, 2011; Ronfeldt, Farmer, McQueen & Grissom, 2015; Shapira-Lischshinky &
Aziel, 2010; Tschida, Smith & Fogarty, 2015; van Dam, Schipper & Runhaar, 2010;
Vangrieken et al., 2015), which we highlighted in previous sections of this paper.
Similarly, the reasons provided by principals for such evaluation—which included
school culture and success, student achievement, and teachers’ pedagogical practices
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
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and personal growth—are also aligned with the previously cited literature. The results
suggest that principals in our sample seem to be aware of teamwork as a strategy to
school success in a very dynamic society.
The fact that principals already have a high regard for teamwork suggests that
school districts can continue to reinforce this message and provide tools for principals
to identify obstacles to teamwork and address them. As Karakus and Toremen (2008)
suggest, teamwork eectiveness has not only to do with teachers’ relationships and
individual dierences, but also with structural issues and how leadership is exercised.
School districts and principals need to see themselves as part of the equation.
They impact teachers’ teamwork and it impacts them in return. Once schools have
redesigned themselves to embrace a culture of collaboration—which includes the
ability to doubt deeply held assumptions regarding education, leadership, and the very
role of schools—there is no way to go back to a hierarchical management approach,
as discussed by van der Mescht and Tyala (2008). In this sense, the very nature of
principalship changes. Principals are no longer managers or enforcers, instead they
become leaders who facilitate the development of a shared vision, foster a sense
of unity, and empower a culture of collaboration (Amorim Neto et al., 2018; Drago-
Severson & Pinto, 2006; Szczesiul & Huizenga, 2014).
In light of this study’s ndings, current and prospective principals could be further
educated on team development strategies and theories, how a culture of collaboration
actuates the exercise of their profession, and the nature of the expectations that school
districts place on them. In this way, they can support teachers in designing successful
teamwork initiatives and redesigning school systems and practices that previously led
to isolation and competition.
The barriers to teamwork identied by principals include time constraints,
relationship concerns (e.g., lack of trust, conicts, communication issues), teaching
and personality dierences, willingness to participate, and more. These deterrents to
teamwork are aligned with the literature. For instance, Vangrieken et al. (2015) discusses
how conicts, unclear goals, poor communication, and little time can negatively impact
teamwork. Outside of the school context, Poghosyan, Norful, and Martsolf (2017)
highlight the role of time constraints and lack of participation on teamwork. Similarly,
Levitt (2016) indicates that personal dierences such as age, educational background,
and gender could be barriers to teamwork. Levitt’s conclusions are also supported by
previous work by Karakus and Toremen (2008).
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
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While those barriers to teamwork are well-known to researchers and
practitioners, we were surprised by the ways in which principals downplayed the role
of leadership on teamwork. A small number of participants reported leadership issues.
The number was so small that we presented it under “Other barriers.” It is possible
that they did not see themselves or other principals as a potential barrier. As shown
in the results, they put a high importance on teamwork and took action to foster it.
However, it is possible that they are not fully aware of the critical role they play in
fostering or derailing teamwork in schools. According to Park, Henking, and Egley
(2005), leaders need to be intentional when promoting teamwork. In that way, they can
demonstrate reliability, trustworthiness, and embodying behaviors that demonstrate
the value of teamwork, rather than just talking about it. Deriving from Tschannen-
Moran (2001) and van der Mescht and Tyala (2008), it can be argued that teamwork is
less likely to take place if principals do not trust that teachers are capable of oering
meaningful contributions. This is relevant because previous studies have found that
some teachers do not believe principals trust them (Balyer, 2017; Yirci et al., 2014).
Teachers respond by not trusting principals in return (Hallam et al., 2015). In such an
environment, meaningful collaboration and a sense of community are compromised.
This can ultimately lead to teacher attrition (Boyd, Grossman, Ing, Lankford, Loeb &
Wycko, 2011; Yirci et al., 2014).
These ndings are a call to school principals to further develop their awareness
of their own power to block and/or support the growth of teamwork through specic
actions as well as forging a culture of collaboration. They also remind teachers that a
well-prepared and well-intentioned principal can only do so much if they sabotage the
collaborative processes introduced by school leadership. Professional development of
teachers and principals, as well as the certifying programs, could integrate teamwork
both as a content and a process aimed at supporting student success.
The initiatives principals take to promote teamwork among teachers include
modifying schedules to increase common time and availability for meetings, conducting
team-building activities, providing professional development and training in teamwork,
establishing PLCs, and conducting regular meetings by grade levels or discipline areas.
These actions seem appropriate to address the barriers discussed in the previous
section. In fact, just like time constraints was the main barrier identied by principals,
modifying schedules to allow for common time was their number-one initiative. This
is meaningful because the issue of time is commonly found in the literature (e.g.,
Ketterlin-Geller et al., 2014; Mullen & Hutinger, 2008; Zaveria & Thinguri, 2017) as a
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
e-ISSN 1982-8632
deterrent to teamwork. Additionally, most of the initiatives reported are aligned with
actions that U.S. public school teachers expect principals to take to foster teamwork,
such as providing professional development, time for collaboration, and running team-
building activities. (Amorim Neto et al., 2018).
While principals seem to be aware of the concerns shared by researchers and
teachers in terms of barriers and actions taken, our ndings suggest that principals
may be losing sight of an important role of leaders: shaping organizational culture
(Groysberg et al., 2018; Warrick, 2017). U.S. public school teachers have said that
their main expectation is for principals to provide a clear vision and goals (Amorim
Neto et al., 2018). The lack of a clear vision and goals may lead to confusion due
to faulty communication (Szczesiul & Huizenga, 2014) and to contrived collaboration
(Tschannen-Moran, 2001). It is therefore important to put all initiatives in the context
of a culture of collaboration that fosters participation and shared leadership (Mullen &
Hutinger, 2008; van der Mescht & Tyala, 2008; Szczesiul & Huizenga, 2014).
These ndings regarding the initiatives that principals take to foster teamwork
suggest that while they are mostly in tune with their teachers’ expectations, they need
to continue working toward a more systemic perspective of their initiatives to develop a
deeper understanding of teamwork and forge a culture of collaboration in their schools
through a shared vision and goals (Drago-Severson & Pinto, 2006; Hallam et al., 2015).
A culture of teamwork and collaboration would lead to a school that Cetin and Keser
(2015) describe as a place where adults learn together and continuously with focus
on student success. A school culture that fosters teachers’ teamwork also requires
attention to their needs, expectations, and inclinations (Karakus & Tomeren, 2008).
While principals are expected to shape the culture of their schools, they need proper
education and the support of school districts to do so. In this regard, the ndings of
this study are also a call to certication programs and school districts to ensure that
principals are well-equipped and able to develop a common vision and goals with the
school community. Teachers expect principals to do more than manage schedules,
organize professional developments, and run meetings. Teachers want principals to
be visionaries who engage them in achieving a common goal and developing a shared
vision (Amorim Neto et al., 2018; Drago-Severson & Pinto, 2006).
Up to now, only limited studies have explored teachers’ teamwork from the
principals’ perspective. This paper is a step toward a systematic investigation of the
importance of teamwork for principals, the perceived barriers, and the actions they
take to foster it in their schools. While the exploratory nature and the type of analysis
among teachers: an exploratory study. Revista @mbienteeducação. São Paulo:
Universidade Cidade de São Paulo, v. 12, n. 2, p. 12-32 mai/ago 2019.
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conducted were appropriate to address the research questions with a large sample of
principals, the ndings of our study were limited. We identied the actions principals
take to foster teamwork, but did not explore decision-making processes nor the level
of involvement of teachers in the implementation of these actions. Similarly, while we
placed the role of principals toward teachers’ teamwork in the larger context of school
culture and leadership, we did not ask any questions specically addressing principals’
perceived leadership styles and their impact on teamwork. Finally, while inquiring
about the actions taken by principals to foster teamwork, we did not ask them about
the success of those actions and potential takeaways.
We reinforce the calls by O’Neill and Salas (2018) for more empirical studies
on teamwork in organizations and by Amorim Neto et al. (2018) for a continuous
exploration of teachers’ teamwork from the perspective of school leaders. To expand
the literature on the topic at hand and address this study’s limitations, we recommend
in-depth qualitative studies aimed at uncovering the decision-making processes
that support the actions principals take to foster teamwork. More specically, future
research could assess the extent to which teachers and other sta are involved in
the decision-making and implementation of such actions. Future studies could also
explore the success rate of actions taken by principals to foster teamwork as well as
what they have learned from their successes and failures in such implementations.
Finally, the implementation of teamwork from the perspective of principals could also
be explored from the broader discussion of shared leadership, including how principals
understand their roles as leaders regarding developing a shared vision and common
goals that require teamwork.
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MEAGHAN POLEGA. Is seeking her doctoral degree in diversity and equity in
education from University of Illinois, USA. Currently she serves as adjunct instructor in
the College of Urban Education at Davenport University, USA.
ROQUE DO CARMO AMORIM NETO. Received his doctoral degree in educational
leadership from Saint Mary’s College of California, USA.
REBECCA BRILOWSKI . Earned her master’s degree in urban education at Davenport
University, where she serves as adjunct instructor.
KRISTIN BAKER. Teaches science at Hope Academy, USA. Currently, she seeks her
master’s degree in urban education at Davenport University.
RECEBIDO: 15/01/2019.
APROVADO: 15/02/2019.
... The common point these studies have reached is that the level at which teachers adapt to teamwork affects their success (Cankaya & Karakus, 2010;Cetin & Yaman, 2004). Teamwork also discourages teachers from working alone, improves pedagogical practices, and enhances student intelligence and achievement (Polega et al., 2019). 1 This study was presented as an oral presentation at the Seljuk Summit 5th International Social Sciences Congress held in Konya (Turkey) on 11-12 December 2021. ...
... Recent years have witnessed an increased interest in teachers' engagement, efficacy for classroom diversity, and teamwork attitude (Cagri San & Tok, 2017;Erturk & Aydin, 2018;Gulbahar, 2017Gulbahar, , 2020aGulbahar & Sivaci, 2018;Nartgun & Kocak, 2020;Nayir & Taskin, 2020;Polega et al., 2019;Salleh & Kayode, 2014;Sezen-Gultekin, 2014;Unlu & Orten, 2013). Studies are also found to have revealed positive relationships among teachers' work engagement, efficacy for classroom diversity, teamwork attitude, and other various variables (e.g., job satisfaction, effective in-class communication skills, organizational trust, supervisor support, school effectiveness) that can be considered positive (Cagri San & Tok, 2017;Erturk & Aydin, 2018;Gulbahar, 2017Gulbahar, , 2020aGulbahar & Sivaci, 2018;Nartgun & Kocak, 2020). ...
... Professional teaching standards have been revised to include language advocacy for teachers' learning communities and collaborations. Teamwork not only discourages teachers from working alone but also improves pedagogical practices and enhances student intelligence and achievement (Polega et al., 2019). ...
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The purpose of this quantitative research is to examine the relationships among teachers’ work engagement, teamwork attitudes, and efficacy for classroom diversity within the scope of structural equation modeling. The sample of the study consists of 355 teachers involved in the Project Supporting the Integration of Syrian Children into the Turkish Education System (PIKTES) during the 2020-2021 academic year. The Teachers’ Teamwork Attitude Scale, Work Engagement Scale, and Teacher Efficacy Scale for Classroom Diversity have been used for collecting the data. Four hypotheses were developed based on the structural model created within the context of this study. Accordingly, (i) teachers’ work engagement is claimed to positively affects both teachers’ efficacy for classroom diversity as well as their (ii) teamwork attitude; and (iii) teachers’ efficacy for classroom diversity is claimed to positively affect their teamwork attitude, and (iv) teachers’ work engagement is also claimed to positively affect their teamwork attitude through their efficacy for classroom diversity. To verify these hypotheses, the relationships among the variables were determined first, and all the variables were seen to have moderately positive relationships. Based on these relations, the given structural model was then created and tested using path analysis. The findings showed all the hypotheses to have been proven confirmed.
... They have a powerful position to create a vision of inclusive education (Billingsley and McLeskey 2014) and to empower cooperation in class and other school settings. An exploratory study by Polega et al. (2019) shows that principals report to implement collaboration by fostering team building and modifying schedules in order to enable joint work. Likewise, teachers expect principals to initiate collaboration by scheduling time for teamwork and creating a culture of collaboration (Amorim Neto et al. 2018). ...
... Previous research showed that the provision of supportive frameworks to boost collaboration in school teams (e.g. de Jong, Meirink, and Admiraal 2019) and the motivating role of principals (e.g. Polega et al. 2019) seem to play a critical role here. However, the present results indicate that these beneficial factors could be further expanded in German primary schools. ...
School teams are becoming more and more interprofessional, especially in the context of inclusive education. However, to collaborate in an interprofessional manner is still a challenge for everyone involved and there are few studies that describe the current scope and ways of cooperation found in primary schools and their relation to beneficial school support. In a cross-sectional study, interprofessional staff members (N = 251) in German inclusive primary schools (N = 38) self-assessed the current and desired level as well as various modes of interprofessional collaboration in their daily work. They also assessed the motivational support from the principal and the institutional school support for teamwork. Main results show that interprofessional collaboration is already rated as high and wished as even more intensive in the sample, whereas various modes of cooperation are used to different extents. The desired level of collaboration is significantly higher in pedagogical staff than in primary school teachers. Overall school support for teamwork is perceived as moderate and shows positive correlations to all reports on staff collaboration. The role of school support as a booster for teamwork in interprofessional school staff and a way to improve their qualification to act interprofessionally is discussed.
... Open communication plays an important role in successful teamwork (Strom, et al, 1999;Kutsyuruba, 2011;Vangrieken et al., 2015). Instead of being forced from the top down, the task develops from the collective effort of all teammates (Polega et al, 2019). ...
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A top-down reverse hierarchal approach that helps create an environment where students learn from each other is proposed. This is put into practice in a recitation class setting where a group of sophomore college students is matched with a group of senior students. This study observes their performance during the Fall 2020 semester. The sophomore-senior teams work on structural analysis and design of different types of bridges, accompanied by a teaching associate who is also an active researcher. This project evaluates the role of student interaction in enhancing students’ learning abilities and teamwork practices in a virtual environment. The project also discusses how to integrate learning in a reverse hierarchal manner and presents measures to evaluate both successes and failures of the reverse hierarchal approach. The projected longevity of this approach, tackling various engineering problems, is integrated into the project. Possible impacts on education and teamwork experience are explored. A discussion on the viability of transferring this approach to other universities and engineering firms is included. Finally, the ethical responsibilities that academic institutions have in implementing this approach are discussed. Keywords: Top-down Reverse Hierarchy, Virtual Interactive Learning, Online Teamwork, COVID-19, Pandemic Active Learning, Engineering Education
... Despite the fact that there is need for teamwork behaviour among teachers now more than ever, it is beset with myriads of barriers such as: time constraints; relationship concerns; differences in teaching and experience; vertical trust; lack of cooperation; Mind reading/biases; peer jealousy; impatience; and poor team spirit (Polega, Neto, Brilowski & Baker, 2019;Acosta, Salanova & Llorens, 2011;Akindele-Oscar, 2016). ...
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Teamwork behaviour are becoming pervasive in the world of education services. Globally, teachers are increasingly being employed, evaluated, compensated, recommended, and promoted based on their ability to work effectively on teams. This study examined the effects of Emotional intelligence (EI) and lnterpersonal skills training (IST) on Teamwork behaviour among secondary school teachers. The study adopted a pretest, posttest, control group quasi-experimental design with a 3 x 3 x 2 factorial matrix. One hundred and twenty-six secondary school teachers were randomly selected and assigned to two treatment groups and a control group. Collective Teacher Efficacy Instrument (CTEI) was used to put respondents into groups while Teamwork Behaviour Questionnaire (TBQ) was used to collect pretest and posttest data. Findings revealed that the two treatment strategies were effective in enhancing teachers' teamwork behaviour. It also revealed a no significant interaction effect of treatment, collective efficacy and gender on teamwork behaviour of teachers. It was concluded that secondary school teachers who have individual weakness and are unable to work effectively on teams, could be helped through emotional intelligence and interpersonal skills training. It was recommended amongst others that teachers should embrace teamwork behaviour, accept the challenges of working purposively, regularly and cooperatively in teams to help students learn meaningfully.
... The need for assistance could become lesser when using more mature technology [36] or if artificial intelligence would be able to assist both teacher and students [37] -both of these alternatives are, as of today, not feasible. Another way to approach this question would encourage more teacher teamwork [38] by having teachers of different subjects to co-creatively design and conduct joint lessons. ...
The decision makers of educational systems in different countries have started to realize the importance of technology enhanced learning (TEL) in order to prepare students for the world of 4th Industrial Revolution. However, in the grass root level, teachers are still reluctant to implement technology into their lessons. In this paper we investigate the feedback from 134 Estonian teachers, each of whom conducted with the help of educational technologists up to 15 robot supported math lessons, in order to find out which supportive roles did educational technologists have in these lessons. The results show that educational technologist’s roles as a technical support person or a robotics teacher were more important during the first lessons, but the need for these roles faded fast. Instead, educational technologist’s role as an assistant teacher, explaining tasks and answering students’ questions, proved to have a greater importance, especially in the 3rd grade. Based on the results we suggest that in TEL lessons the subject teacher needs to be accompanied by an educational technologist who also has basic knowledge about the topic taught.
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This study aimed to determine the level and lived experiences of teachers' training needs and core behavioral competencies toward teaching performance in the new normal among the elementary school teachers of 2nd Congressional District of Cotabato for the school year 2020-2021. This study utilized Concurrent Quan + Quali Mixed Method Design wherein the collection of sampling and analysis of quantitative and qualitative data were collected in the same time but separate in manner. Survey questionnaires were given to 253 elementary classroom teachers for the quantitative strand of the study. It was validated and tested with Cronbach reliability test and gained an alpha value of 0.873. Ten (10) School Heads became the participants of the In-Depth Interview (IDI). Teachers' training needs and core behavioral competencies significantly influence the teaching performance in the new normal. Hypothesis of the study were rejected because probability value is significantly lesser than 0.05. Moreover, on the influence of the teachers' training needs on the teaching performance in the new normal in terms of utilization of technology, assessment and reporting had gained negative t-value of-1.814 with the probability of 0.050 described as significant. It implies, extra training on assessment and reporting, the lesser improvement of teachers on their utilization of technology. Consequently, the findings of the quantitative strand were confirmed by majority of the participants in the qualitative strand. Furthermore, the qualitative and quantitative data shows convergence in its result.
Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of cognitive tasks on mentoring provided and the moderating influence of having an educational leadership position. Design/methodology/approach This cross-sectional survey was based on a questionnaire sent to 435 employees of 29 preschools in Norway. A total of 284 responses were returned, with a response rate of 65.3%. A total of three research hypotheses were formulated. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was used to develop three measurement models, and structural equation modelling (SEM) based on the multigroup analysis was used to test the hypotheses. Findings Results revealed that cognitive tasks increase the occurrence of mentoring provided at work for employees with and without an educational leadership position. Furthermore, educational leadership moderates the relationship between cognitive tasks and mentoring provided. Research limitations/implications The use of convenience sampling and self-reports are discussed, especially related to representativeness and reporting biases. Implications for practice and future research are also discussed. Originality/value This is an understudied area, and no previous research has used a confirmatory approach to investigate how cognitive tasks and educational leadership influence the occurrence of mentoring provided.
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Abstract Background Teamwork is an integrated part of today’s specialized and complex healthcare and essential to patient safety, and is considered as a core competency to improve twenty-first century healthcare. Teamwork measurements and evaluations show promising results to promote good team performance, and are recommended for identifying areas for improvement. The validated TeamSTEPPS® Teamwork Perception Questionnaire (T-TPQ) was found suitable for cross-cultural validation and testing in a Norwegian context. T-TPQ is a self-report survey that examines five dimensions of perception of teamwork within healthcare settings. The aim of the study was to translate and cross-validate the T-TPQ into Norwegian, and test the questionnaire for psychometric properties among healthcare personnel. Methods The T-TPQ was translated and adapted to a Norwegian context according to a model of a back-translation process. A total of 247 healthcare personnel representing different professionals and hospital settings responded to the questionnaire. A confirmatory factor analysis was carried out to test the factor structure. Cronbach’s alpha was used to establish internal consistency, and an Intraclass Correlation Coefficient was used to assess the test - retest reliability. Result A confirmatory factor analysis showed an acceptable fitting model (χ2 (df) 969.46 (546), p
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This paper documents the first year of a qualitative case study investigating the experiences of reciprocal learning teams of teachers within a small, rural secondary school. The purpose of this study was to examine how teachers experienced collaborative professional development (PD) and how their experiences contributed to developing the culture and structure of their school. Collected data were analyzed using an iterative process of coding, categorizing, and abstracting data. Three themes emerged: (a) self- and co-regulated learning in teams invigorated collegial relationships and contributed to a sense of agency toward change at the school level; (b) differentiating support for collaborative inquiry among teachers and within teams is critical; and (c) creating structures to support collaborative inquiry among teachers engages teachers in their ongoing professional learning. This case study of a rural secondary school demonstrates how deep and substantial school change can happen when teachers co-construct and co-regulate their PD.
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Trust is considered as one of the essential elements at schools. Although it is important, there is relatively little research on trust in educational settings. Research indicate that trust across school affects much of a school’s functioning and it is a critical resource as principals embark on improvement plans. In this regard, it is a matter of question whether teachers trust in their principals as school leaders, in their administrative implementations and in their principals’ personalities. Therefore, this qualitative study purposed to discover teachers’ opinions on their trust in their school principals. Results reveal that teachers of this sample do not trust in their principals in all sub-themes in general. It can be concluded that there is a lack of trust in their principals in all sub-themes among teachers at schools. It is recommended that principals should be chosen and appointed to their posts with a more careful way.
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This study explored how teachers’ working conditions or school context variables (job demands and job resources) were related to their teaching self-concept, teacher burnout, job satisfaction, and motivation to leave the teaching profession among teachers in Norwegian senior high school. Participants were 546 teachers in three counties in central Norway. We analyzed data by means of confirmatory factor analyses and SEM analysis for latent traits. The results supported expectations derived from the Job Demands–Resources model of one health impairment process and one motivational process, but also showed that these processes are related. The analyses indicated that, in the teaching profession, different dimensions of job demands and job resources predict teachers’ well-being and motivation differently.
This study has two goals: (a) to assess the contributions of teamwork and demographics to teachers’ motivation to leave the profession and (b) to identify the actions teachers believe they and their principals should take to foster teamwork. A sample of 322 U.S. public school teachers participated. Grade level was found to predict teachers’ motivation to quit. The roles of principals and teachers in fostering teamwork were also discussed.
Teams of teachers and administrators have become more and more common as a framework for improving responsiveness to the ever more dynamic educational environment. Although teamwork is often expected to broaden the team’s collective knowledge base, consequently improving team effectiveness, research shows that this potential effectiveness is not always reached. The article seeks to explore the concept of collective doubting – the inquiry into routine and habitual perceptions and assumptions – and its importance to the teamwork processes, a topic that has been vastly under-investigated in the educational context. Specifically, we propose that collective doubting in the teamwork process has a dynamic nature, and that the doubting process should be carefully considered in the context of different stages in team development. Our goal is to increase both theoretical and practical knowledge about the process of collective doubt in such a way as to facilitate team effectiveness. We further seek to delineate the internal and external activities in which principals can engage to promote a constructive doubting process in the team context. Implications for principals, as well as for further avenues of research, are suggested.
Recent theoretical and empirical research outlined the role of organizational identification in the stress process. We provide an empirical test of the social identity model of stress by testing a two-step mediation model of the identification-burnout link. We hypothesize that strongly identified teachers will receive more support from colleagues which, in turn, relates to perceptions of reduced workload, which finally leads to both lower work- and student-related burnout. We tested our model in a large cross-sectional sample of 2685 Swiss teachers representing half of the teacher population of Ticino Canton. Hypotheses were supported. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
The adoption of teams continues to increase in almost every domain of modern work life. In the current article we review evidence of the complexity of modern work, industry trends in the use of teams, and the challenges of achieving the full potential of organizational work teams. We aimed to meaningfully move forward the science of high performance teamwork by assembling a focused set of review articles in the present special issue. We consider four themes that capture the articles in this special issue and avenues for achieving the full potential of teams: (1) work across boundaries; (2) build effective team processes and states; (3) manage team development issues; and (4) leverage human capital. Collectively, the contents of this special issue offer important new opportunities for advancing future research and for making a practical difference in the effectiveness of teams in organizations. We identify six areas in which future research efforts in high performance teamwork should be directed based on "realities" that, in our view, need to be addressed.
A major factor in the success of an organization is its culture. Organizational culture can significantly influence the performance and effectiveness of a company; the morale and productivity of its employees; and its ability to attract, motivate, and retain talented people. Unfortunately, many leaders are either unaware of the significant impact culture can have, are aware but overwhelmed by the extensive and sometimes conflicting information available on culture, or are not well informed about how to build and sustain cultures effectively. This article integrates the most consistent findings that leaders need to know about culture and what they can do to build strong, successful cultures that bring out the best in people. Developing organizational culture requires far more than talk about culture and emphasis on its importance. In order to achieve the best results, culture development requires leaders who see it as one of their key tasks and who understand the importance of aligning organization strategies and decision making with cultural ideals.
Developing team-based care models and expanding nurse practitioner (NP) workforce in primary care are recommended by policy makers to meet demand. Little is known how to promote interprofessional teamwork. Using a mixed-methods design, we analyzed qualitative interview and quantitative survey data from primary care NPs to explore practice characteristics important for teamwork. The Interprofessional Teamwork for Health and Social Care Framework guided the study. We identified NP-physician and NP-administration relationships; organizational support and governance; time and space for teamwork; and regulations and economic impact as important. Practice and policy change addressing these factors is needed for effective interprofessional teamwork.