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Making the move from single cell teaching

Started by Kathy Lumley 06 May 2015 9:18pm () Replies (13)

Would really value advice and support from those who have made the move from single cell teaching to co teaching (with a hole in the wall between our rooms). Two experienced teachers with sound pedagogy making the changes, starting this week. We are starting slowly with establishing and cocreating ours' and the students' shared values. Starting the morning together with waiata, karakia and shared chat and day by day merging aspects of our programmes. Looking forward to shared wisdom.


  • Tanya (View all users posts) 06 May 2015 9:55pm ()

    We started the exact same situation at the beginning of the year.  We are in the process of a complete rebuild (end date projected for 2017)  This year, our Int team are trialling the changes before it flows to the rest of the school.  It has been a HUGE learning curve!  

    When you say "sound pedagogy" do you mean in general or for MLP?  I ask this as my biggest learning is that MLP pedagogy has to be in place if you are going to make an effective change.  I work with 2 other teachers (they share 1 position, both part time) with 70 children.  One of the things I would highly recommend is that you make sure you get enough time together (as teachers) to talk about how the kids are doing, next steps etc.... and to plan together.  I consider us very lucky to be given a 2.5 hour session per week to get together and just talk!  We use it to plan, assess, report and also vent on the difficulties and frustrations on trying to teach in a MLP way without the environment to support it!  

    We are also very lucky to be supported, in our learning journey, by our SMT.  They have provided opportunities to see MLP schools in action in NZ and Australia to help us see what others are doing.  I would highly recommend you ask for this!  We got to see schools who were doing it well and others not quite so well... a learning experience in itself that made me realise, you don't know what you don't know, until you don't know it!


  • Kathy Lumley (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 8:38pm ()

    Thanks Tanya for your advice. We too are in "the process" of a new school being rebuilt and the merge of 3 schools currently on 2 other sites. We were lucky enough to have visited schools last year to give us a taste of MLE. I take note of your advice to take the time and talk, that is exactly what we have been doing.  Thanks heaps.            






  • Emily Armstrong (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 7:50am ()

    We began the journey into collaborative teaching at the start of the year, after much research and visiting other schools and teachers. Our area of interest is NE- Yr 1s and, whilst we did not see any evidence of collaborative teaching in this area, it was good to see different models of collaborative teaching in action. We realised early on that everyone has a different idea of what collaborative teaching is, and teams have to choose a model that works best for them.

    We currently have 30 NE-Yr 1 children with 2 teachers, and are semi-open plan with our environment. Like you, we talked about having a hole in the wall made, but have now decided against it. We have a mat/play room and a learning room, which the children move between.

    Whilst we had reservations at the start of the year about how NE children would settle, and how we each wouldn't have total autonamy over planning etc, we quickly realised that the benefits for both us and the children were so great that we never want to go back to single cell teaching.

    We are huge promoters of true collaborative teaching, and urge you to go for it!

    We would love to share more with you (planning, assessment, layout etc)- feel free to contact us at any time.



  • Kathy Lumley (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 8:40pm ()

    Thanks Emily. Really appreciate your comments and certainly will be in touch. Kathy

  • Stuart Priddy (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 8:11am ()

    Is it possible for teachers to put their school name in their replies?  There are some great comments and it would be great to be able to make contact. Our school, Loburn School, has gone for 4 teams of 2 of parallel classes this year, all bar one team are operating in single cell rooms.  It has been great for the students.  Some took a bit of time to come to terms with routines etc, but many are flourishing in the enrvn.  We have a teacher only day tomorrow with a facilitator which is basically a stock take of where we are, whats working, not working and where to from here.  All teachers have a day visiting schools this term looking at collaborative teaching etc.

    In the process of having goal setting interviews with the 4 senior classes and each pair of teachers are attending all interviews, so 50 for one pair and 42 for the other.  We have given them extra release during the day to do this.  I am sure this will be area for conversation at our day tomorrow.

  • Kathy Lumley (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 8:47pm ()

     Hi Stuart I'm at Rawhiti School - a merge of 3 schools, currently operating temporarily on 2 sites while our new school is built on the other site.  Thanks for joining and contributing to this discussion- we are all learners. 




  • Emily Armstrong (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 8:39am ()

    Hi Stuart,

    We are envious of your day visiting other schools, and your teacher only day to see where you are at.

    When you click on people's names you can find more contact details in their profile...but as some profiles are a bit blank (mine included!) maybe we should be including school names. I am from Anderson's Bay school in Dunedin.

  • Neill O'Reilly (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 8:55am ()

    Kia ora Kathy,

    We are a school making the move to collaborative teaching. I am also completing my thesis on this topic and have been awarded the CPPA Fellowship to research key components to an effective co-teaching environment. There is some sage advice in the replies you are receiving so far. My emerging findings are:

    • Pedagogy, educative purpose and your schools vision for teaching and learning must come first. You as a school (and teachers) need to understand what quality teaching and learning looks like. Having shared understandings and aspirations about "Quality teaching and learning at _______school" is required so that you can then collaborate with your colleagues to achieve improved outcomes, hauora and self regulation for your tamariki
    • Direction, support and leadership from you Senior Leadership team is 100% essential (I cannot understate this) You are about to move into a paradigm and way of teaching that most teachers and parents do not fully understand the potential, benefits and risks of. So when you do get going you need the backing of your principal and SLT as you make the transition
    • Systems are the really important and need some pre planning (you will find lots of great ideas on this VLN site)
    • Communication with families about the vision your school has for learners and how the collaborative environment you are planning will enhance this will ease concerns
    • Communication with families.... (Yep repeated- engage your stake holders)
    • Your SLT should keep your colleagues in the loop (especially if they are not making the shift) as unprofessional off the record comments from non participating colleagues can undermine a lot of great work and shows a lake of collective purpose and belief

    My recommendation is be clear about what you are doing, why you are doing it, how it will happen and when it will happen and have this well recorded

    Hope this helps, I and some of my co-teaching leaders are happy to chat if it will help further!

    All the best



  • Kathy Lumley (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 8:50pm ()

    Thanks Neill. Really value your sound advice and appreciate your offer of further help.

  • Stuart Priddy (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 4:22pm ()

    Couldn't agree more Neil. We spent a tod last year looking at our beliefs about teaching and learning, our vision, and what constituted good practise.  We talked about what we were currently doing that fitted this and what we were doing that did not, hence some changes to be made. There were also things that needed to be added.  Looked closely at the barriers to good practise. 

    I won't say we have solved it all, remember it is a journey, but we are clear that we are all in this together and this is huge.

  • Jane Macdonald (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 8:23pm ()

    In 2013 we started a NE collaborative teaching space. We had 2 rooms that were joined by a bi-folding door and we worked our class together. The key factor was that we were 2 teachers who worked very well together and shared very similar beliefs about children and their learning.The biggest bonus was the opportunity for both of us to hear the other teaching on a daily basis. We talked lots about our shared children and were able to be far more flexible with the learning...the children worked with both teachers. We met each week and did a plan together which covered the organisational aspects. This was an ongoing learning experience. We constantly reflected and changed and tried things. It was a great learning year. In 2014, we extended what we had been doing to include 4 teachers...so we kept Yr 1s and worked with the incoming NE. At the end of 2014 , we had 100 5 /6 yr olds in or space. Our school is action learning modern learning practice. We have created a shared vision for what teaching and learning will look like for us in  a modern learning environment. Our staff are doing a LwDT professional learning and our leaders team are doing a CORE Ed Modern learning practice professional learning programme. This year there are 4 of us again in our NE/YR 1 mix. We work to build independence in our students. We use self managed timetables with our students from day 1. It is ever changing,challenging and exciting. It provides flexibility for our learners and our teachers. It is  ongoing learning and there is never a dull moment. Would working in a single cell classroom be easier...too right...as a teacher of 30 plus years experience I continue to look for what I think makes a difference for children and their learning. The opportunity to work alongside others and to share students is demanding and crazy. We continue to learn each and every day. Our school is Douglas Park in Masterton.




  • Kathy Lumley (View all users posts) 07 May 2015 8:56pm ()

    Thanks Jane. It is great to read of others' journeys and how exciting it is to face new challenges, knowing that it will make a difference. Growing that agency in our kids- self management is certainly one of our key goals.

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