Facilitating effective teaching teams to enact positive change in the classroom.

by Peggy Stewart

All Grades


When teachers come together we know more and we’re better able to solve problems—not only our own but those within the educational system within which we work. But every teacher needs strategies and skills to lead and to facilitate change among teaching teams.

Facilitating a team demands different abilities than those you bring as a team member: Facilitators must be able to identify and cultivate the strengths in every team member. To do so most effectively, they must simultaneously:

–Understand both the broader organizational structure of the system within which their team must succeed, and the ways in which communication travels within that organizational structure;

–Recognize the specific behaviors, protocols, and strategies that distinguish highly effective teaching teams—and be able to cultivate and develop these components among team members; and

–Assess their own strengths and challenges as a team facilitator, and employ these abilities to support the district’s own culture of effective team leadership and facilitation.

As professionals, we teachers need to think beyond the walls of our classroom. Together, we can move everybody forward. And we can come together to improve schools, and to make things better for our kids, our peers, and our community.


What I did well…

The goal of the lesson was to:1. support teacher leaders in understanding their school’s organizational structure, why it’s important to know, and how to navigate that structure, 2. the characteristics of highly effective teams and how to use protocols and strategies to facilitate teams, and 3. to reflect on their facilitation skills. I introduced each topic well and provided thoughtful questions and process activities for teachers to engage in rich dialogue.The tools introduced were well received and the feedback was positive regarding how the tools could guide the teacher leaders work in developing highly effective teams.

What I would do more of, better, or differently…

The three lesson goals were fragmented. I need to help teacher leaders see how each of the three lesson concepts connect and work with each other for the most impact and best results in supporting highly effective teams. Including an activity that supports teacher leaders in thinking through how the pieces connect would enhance this lesson.

I still want to grow in this practice by…

I need to work on strategies that will provide opportunities for teacher leaders to practice using the tools and apply the new knowledge in their own context. A second area for growth is to support the group in giving feedback to each other.

About Peggy Stewart

Peggy Stewart, a National Board Certified high school social studies teacher and the NJ State Teacher of the Year, 2005, currently serves as the Di...

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