DEVELOPING EFFECTIVE INTERDISCIPLINARY TEAM TEACHING- A CASE STUDY INVESTIGATION OF SOME OF THE ISSUES INVOLVED
Petroleum Institute (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
To participate in team teaching is not necessarily a choice many teachers would willingly make, perhaps because it can bring with it added and unexpected challenges and pressures as well as additional work. Interdisciplinary team teaching can make the already challenging work of an instructor even more demanding and problematic to manage. It is not a common phenomenon in education generally (Stewart 2005) and issues such as experience/preparation, mastery of content knowledge, roles, responsibilities, classroom dynamics and time management can be daunting challenges; so much so that many teachers may have little interest in being involved in this dynamic. The researcher works in the Department of Communications in an engineering university in Abu Dhabi, UAE (United Arab Emirates). He team teaches with engineers on a Strategies for Team –based Engineering Problem Solving programme which focuses on teaching, applying and communicating the engineering design process.
The purpose of this reflective case study (Yin 2003) is to identify and discuss some of the major issues involved in developing a useful and effective team teaching relationship (and by implication, some of the factors which can inhibit this) in our context and to set out some thinking and guidelines based on teachers’ experiences and student attitudes to the teaching dynamic. This is intended to generate recommendations and inform a discussion on potential improvements which will be of benefit to our teachers, students and programme. In the broader context, the study can assist and inform teachers in other tertiary institutes new to the experience and generate useful discussion and reflection amongst those already involved.
Methodology employed is a phenomenological qualitative approach using interviews with team-teaching colleagues and a related self-administered survey given to students to gather quantitative data. Main findings of the survey indicate a high level of student satisfaction with the approach. Teacher interviews generally indicated satisfaction with some concerns expressed about dynamics, planning and preparation and pedagogy.