Brown and Knowles, common time planning, factory model in the middle schools, meet me in the middle, teaching in the middle school, teaching middle school students, teaming concept, unique needs of young adolescents, young adolescents needs
The teaming concept, when applied to the schools’ structural design could be seen as a “remedy” against the factory model or the traditional departmentalized school structure. In order to effectively answer to the unique needs of young adolescents, many middle schools have been shifting their organizational structure from departmentalized and deterministic into a more holistic and contingent structure (Brown and Knowles, 2007, 226). Having a Business Management academic background makes me realize that while the corporate world has been successfully changing their organizational structures from the factory model into a holistic-team oriented approach, implementing successful teaming in schools might take great time and efforts. If the schools’ objective is to prepare citizens with a well-rounded education, there must be a shift from the industrial era paradigm into the knowledge era paradigm. In other words, teaming is not only necessary in order to answer to young adolescents’ needs, but also to prepare them to join a job market that is each day more focused on selling knowledge and innovation rather than manufactured products.
Common planning time is much needed so that the teachers team can become more cohesive and synchronized. According to Manning and Bucher (2012), one of the benchmarks for effective teams tells that, “Teachers should have compatible personalities and good interpersonal skills” (134). I strongly believe that teachers will work better in groups and get to know each other’s thoughts if they have the time to work and plan together. In that way, they’ll be more competent when managing disagreements such as different point of views. They’ll also be more aware of their individual educational philosophies and better able to compromise in order to achieve long term goals. Teams would work together by sharing their thoughts, brainstorming ways to approach the chosen theme, defining ways to assess their students, and last but not least, including the students in the process of integrating the curriculum. In addition, teachers would work in looping in which a core group of teachers and students remain together for several years. Looping is an effective way to promote personalized instruction, facilitate the students’ transition from elementary to middle school and reduce anxiety since students will already know their teachers’ expectations when a new school year begins (Manning and Bucher, 2012, 135). Since there is interaction among individuals with different perspectives, common time planning instruction will certainly present challenges. I believe that one of the main challenges would be teachers who are not willing to give up all the autonomy they have when they are isolated in their classrooms and can freely plan their instruction (Manning and Bucher, 2012, 136). In order to overcome that challenge, teachers should be willing to compromise some of their views so that the entire group can benefit. If we want to teach cooperation to our students, we should be the first ones to model cooperation by willing to make common time planning succeed.
Brown, Dave F, and Trudy Knowles. What Every Middle School Teacher Should Know. 2nd ed. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2007. 290. Print.
Manning, M. Lee., and Katherine T. Bucher. Teaching in the Middle School. 4th ed. Boston: Pearson, 2012. Print.