Publication Details

Lipscombe, K., Buckley-Walker, K. & McNamara, P. (2019). Understanding collaborative teacher teams as open systems for professional development. Professional Development in Education, Online First 1-18.


Teacher collaboration continues to be deeply grounded within effective professional development. Teacher teams, where small groups of teachers work together in teaching and learning, have become progressively more popular and are considered one of the most effective approaches to improvement and growth. However, teacher teams are situated within a school system where interrelated sets of elements, such as resources and priorities, interact and impact on their work. These interactions can both enable and constrain the necessary conditions of members working effectively together but also their capabilities in producing a meaningful impact on the school organization. As such, paying attention to both the teacher team and the broader working environment of the school is important. Employing an open systems framework, this paper explores the phenomenon of collaborative teacher teams by examining them within the context of three primary schools in Australia. We propose a preliminary framework for collaborative teacher teams as a useful lens to consider both the internal working interactions of the team and how the site based professional development is influenced by and transferred back into the school organization.

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