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Making Schools Safe for Uncertainty: Teams, Teaching, and School Reform


by Victor J. Friedman — 1997

In recent years, “teams have been increasingly advocated as a means of empowering teachers, improving instruction, and introducing educational change—particularly within the context of the current school reform movement. Nevertheless, few advocates have inquired seriously into the team concept and exactly how it fits with school practice. This lack of conceptualization is particularly serious in light of the failure of the initial team-teaching movement of the 1960s, which has been attributed to a lack of fit between the team concept and the role of the teacher, the organizational structure, and the cultural norms of contemporary schooling. This article examines the relationship between the team concept and school practice on the basis of a case study of a team that designed, developed, and implemented an innovative vocational education program within a secondary school. It argues that the team approach makes sense only if it is accompanied by a shift in thinking about teaching and school practice. This shift involves regarding teams as the primary unit of teaching practice and as a means of linking instructional and structural change within schools. Ultimately a team approach introduces greater uncertainty into teaching and school practice while at the same time providing a means for engaging uncertainty and generating learning.


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 99 Number 2, 1997, p. 335-370
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10257, Date Accessed: 10/22/2017 1:35:34 PM

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