What makes teacher teams in a vocational education context effective?

K.J.P. Truijen (Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
P.J.C. Sleegers (Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
M.R.M. Meelissen (Faculty of Behavioral Sciences, University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands)
A.F.M. Nieuwenhuis (LOOK Scientific Centre for Teacher Research, Open Universiteit Heerlen, Heerlen, The Netherlands)

Journal of Workplace Learning

ISSN: 1366-5626

Publication date: 4 January 2013

Abstract

Purpose

At a time when secondary vocational education is implementing competence‐based education (CBE) on a large scale, to adapt to the needs of students and of the labour market in a modern society, many vocational schools have recognised that interdisciplinary teacher teams are an important condition for this implementation. In order to provide students with the right competences for the labour market, different subject teachers should work and learn together and, by doing so, should be able to develop changes and improvements to ensure the effective implementation of CBE. In spite of the appeal of forming teacher teams in vocational education, studies on this subject show that teams in educational settings are not easily implemented. This paper aims to address this issue.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, 28 managers from a Vocational Education and Training (VET) college in The Netherlands were interviewed in order to find factors that are related to effective team functioning. The authors choose to rely on a qualitative approach, because there has hardly been any empirical validation of factors that are related to effective team functioning in a vocational education context. In order to determine what factors influence team effectiveness, the results from the interviews have been related to what is known about team effectiveness from the literature.

Findings

By relating the results from the interviews to what is known about team effectiveness from the literature, a framework for future research on team effectiveness in schools is provided. In line with the organisational and psychological literature on team effectiveness, the managers distinguished several aspects in their definition of team effectiveness. Moreover, the findings of the study highlight the importance of the development of task interdependence, transformational leadership, and group efficacy for producing effective teams in education.

Originality/value

Although teams and team functioning have been the focus of researchers from different disciplines and have been studied from different perspectives, studies on the conditions that support or limit the successful implementation of teacher teams in vocational education are still scarce. The results of this study are expected to provide a deeper understanding of the mechanism that underlies the ability of teacher teams in vocational education to function effectively.

Keywords

Citation

Truijen, K., Sleegers, P., Meelissen, M. and Nieuwenhuis, A. (2013), "What makes teacher teams in a vocational education context effective?", Journal of Workplace Learning, Vol. 25 No. 1, pp. 58-73. https://doi.org/10.1108/13665621311288485

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Publisher

:

Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2013, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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