Communication includes the team-oriented competencies related to behavior aimed at mutual interaction and communication, personal action, and social skills.
Definition of team-oriented
Contributing to the harmony, team-oriented collaborative process, and the results of a team. There is a relationship between sensitivity and listening. Someone who is a good listener will find it easier to work with others. A low score on cooperation sometimes has more to do with a certain willingness and attitude than with a lack of cooperative behavior.
Norm indication: Behaviour
Positive: Is committed to and involved in the group goal (even when the person has no direct interest in the topic). Others like to work with a team-oriented person involved and vice versa. Actively contributes to good relationships. Gives and receives good feedback.
Negative: Shows no interest in group goal or opposes the group goal or disrupts good relationships. Has a lack of involvement in the work of others. Others prefer not to work with the person concerned and vice versa.
Norm indication: Personality
Positive: Is strongly focused on the interests of others and gladly supports them in this in conversations.
Negative: Mainly guards own interests and does not easily discuss them.
Team learning and team-oriented HRM
Good cooperation within team-oriented teaching teams is crucial for the quality of education. But it also strongly determines the success of educational improvements and innovation. How do teachers, sometimes with very different backgrounds, get on the same page? How do they develop a ‘shared understanding’ of the educational concept within which they work? About team learning and the stimulating role that HRM can play.
The team as a ‘basic organizational unit’
In the current MBO, team-oriented individual teachers are no longer responsible for the educational process, but for teams of teachers. These form the ‘basic organizational units’ within the educational organization (Professional Charter MBO, 2009).
Collaboration within these teams is essential, but it is not always automatic. After all, teachers often have diverse backgrounds and expertise, and speak different languages, as it were. And as a result, they view educational improvements and innovations in different ways.
Freedom, happiness. But if improvements and innovations want to get off the ground quickly, then unity is required. More precisely formulated: ‘shared understanding’ about the educational concept within which work is carried out, the underlying objectives, and the actions required to achieve these objectives. This is an important challenge that every team will have to work on. And ‘team learning’ plays a crucial role in this.
Team learning: unplanned ‘by-catch’
Team learning is a form of informal learning team-oriented, of learning in the workplace. In principle, it goes unplanned, is a continuous process, and is in no way tied to special occasions such as professionalization days. On the contrary: team learning can best get off the ground when teachers work together intensively on a joint task (see also Tynjälä, 2008). You could see it as a kind of by-catch of that collaboration.
An extremely valuable by-catch, indeed. Because it is only through team learning that the already mentioned, important ‘shared concept’ about an educational improvement or innovation develops (see, for example, Van den Bossche ea, 2006; Vangrieken ea, 2016).
And not only that: (continued) team learning leads to a strengthening of that understanding, such that teachers fully accept educational improvements and make their content their own. And ultimately act accordingly (Van den Bossche et al., 2006).
Different processes of team learning
Team learning takes place in different ways. In their review study, Decuyper, Dochy, and Van den Bossche (2010) distinguish three of these team learning processes, all aimed at developing and maintaining shared understanding:
Sharing information: Teachers share information, such as ideas and knowledge gained, with team members who are not yet aware of it. It does not necessarily have to be new or recently collected information. For example, subject teachers may have specific knowledge from the professional field from which they come, which they can share while working on educational improvement.
Co-construction: Teachers develop a shared understanding based on available and shared information. They do this by asking each other critical questions about ideas, recognizing new insights and adding other information, and by making information concrete.
For example, team-oriented by asking critical questions about the specific subject knowledge that a subject teacher has shared, this knowledge can become meaningful for other teachers and they can supplement it with their own ideas or knowledge.
Constructive Conflict: Teachers discuss different or conflicting perspectives with each other in an open and constructive way. Teachers are open to each other’s perspectives and are willing to adjust their own perspectives in order to reach an agreement.
Theoretically, these three team learning processes are easy to distinguish. But in practice,team-oriented they often overlap. In other words, they form a dynamic whole. Without a clear start or end. After all, team learning takes place continuously, whenever team members work together (Decuyper et al., 2010).
Investing in team learning through team-oriented HRM
Is team learning a matter of course? A ‘by-catch’ that is always there? Not by definition. Because teacher teams are not always real teams. That is, team-oriented consisting of individuals who are task-dependent, have a common responsibility for team presentations, and who see themselves as a social unit in an organization (after Cohen & Bailey, 2007).
In other words, team-oriented individual teachers may be assigned to a formal team, but they do not always feel dependent on their colleagues to carry out their tasks. As a result, they experience only limited involvement with the team.
That feeling may be based on reality. This is the case if the task dependency is not or insufficiently anchored in the task structure. For example, when team members don’t need each other to do their job, they don’t see the need to work together.
Time pressure can also play a role; teachers live with the issues of the day, which means that they feel that they have little time available to work and learn together (Oude Groote Beverborg, Sleegers, & Van Veen, 2015).