The title of this paper is: “The teachers’ way of dealing with problems in connection with cooperation in the team.” We have put forward 4 hypotheses which we examine in the paper:
• Teachers spend much time solving conflicts with colleagues at work
• Teachers do not translate well-known methods from the booklet “Conflicts at Elementary School” into their own conflicts
• Teachers lack a professional terminology to be able to deal with problems in the collegial cooperation in the team
• Teachers consider themselves professionals who are experts in their field, and it is not customary for teachers to share their vulnerability with their colleagues
The context, which the school is part of, is what Anthony Giddens refers to as the post traditional society - from a social point of view. This is a society which is characterized by the reflectivity of modernism and that you are able to consider and argue for all your choices.
To illustrate the problem statement we have adopted 2 approaches, a theoretical understanding of the context of the school focusing on the development of the team and an empirical examination.
The reflectivity of modernism is experienced in the school through the demands that teachers must work in teams stated in the elementary school Act of 1993. This way to cooperate is more committing than the teachers have been used to previously, as particularly the job as a teacher has been characterized by the fact that the teachers have worked individually.
To cooperate in teams requires that the teachers are able to cooperate professionally, i.e. develop their communicative, reflective and conflict solving skills.
Furthermore, research carried out by the CASA Institute shows that teachers do not feel sufficiently prepared for this change.
We have also made empirical examinations at Skovvangskolen to find out how the teachers there experienced conflicts with colleagues. The teachers at this school have in many ways developed a conflict solving approach which means that the teachers generally do not experience that they spend much time solving conflicts. They have developed this approach by introducing a clear structure, visible leadership and a very well developed social life.
At the same time we have examined a group of trainee teachers whom we consider being at the introduction of their education and career, as they work as trainees at the school and have not graduated yet.
The difference between the trainee teachers’ and the teachers’ opinion of the conflicts in the team cooperation is that the trainee teachers thought it was difficult to bring up conflicts, but they were more open to receive help from experts. It takes more for the teachers to consider that they are in a conflict situation which may indicate that the teachers make higher demands on themselves in terms of what they should be able to manage in every day work situations.
In addition we have applied theories of conflict resolution to illustrate and explain the start, escalation and resolution of conflicts.
The conclusion we have reached is that if you want to work with conflicts in a constructive manner it is important to be aware:
• That procedures and principles for formation of teams must be experienced as fair
• That distribution of tasks and responsibility in the team should be visible and that the distribution of power should be accepted
• That there should be a cooperative culture at the school
• That the roles in the team both the formal and the informal roles should function or that they can be changed
|Status||Udgivet - 2009|