Curriculum development is one of the main educational processes that have to be taken into consideration by everyone, who is involved in teaching and learning (Wolven 2013). In this activity, it is not enough to choose the resources or to evaluate personal skills and knowledge. It is necessary to create a team and make everyone cooperate and promote innovation. Nowadays, it is not easy for teachers to develop new lesson plans and curriculums and inspire students. Such concepts as teaching, innovation, technology, and motivation have to be interrelated to create a perfect learning environment (Mota & Scott 2014).
The goal of this paper is not only to develop a new model and discuss the problems of curriculum development and innovation but to investigate the existing variety of educational strategies and approaches in terms of one simple activity known as team teaching. Many teachers from different parts of the world have already used this instructional approach and introduced different outcomes. Team teaching has its advantages and disadvantages, perspectives and challenges, opportunities, and threats (Killingsworth & Xue 2015). In this paper, the article by Killingsworth and Xue will be used as the basis of the analysis. Besides, the theoretical concepts will be considered to prove or disprove the worth of the chosen approach to educating students. The following plan will be used for the development of the scholarly article:
- The explanation of the importance of curriculum development and innovation in education;
- The identification of the main factors in curriculum development;
- The descriptive analysis of research developed by Killingsworth and Xue on team teaching;
- The clarification of aim and learning outcomes in a curriculum based on team teaching;
- The evaluation of team teaching and other important learning concepts in terms of teaching language to the 5th-grade students in a Dubai school.
It is expected to engage in an informed analysis of the chosen method to understand the extent to which team teaching can improve students’ learning that is termed as one of the latest instructive approaches that help to combine teachers’ abilities, guide students, and create interesting lessons for both, students and teachers.
This paper is the attempt to combine the theoretical knowledge of curriculum development and evaluation and the importance of innovation with practice and the development of the skills that can contribute the improvement of teaching practices in Dubai schools.
Importance of Curriculum Development and Innovation
Curriculum development is a crucial process of teaching and learning because it helps to define a purpose and possible progress of teachers and their students. The educational systems, people from different parts of the world, have to work in is not perfect. Therefore, it is necessary to promote the development of new positive improvements and changes that could not only inspire teachers but also motivate students and open new prospects of education.
A curriculum is a set of all possible learning experiences and subjects that could be offered to students by teachers. Curriculum development is a good portion of preparations which should be made to introduce a plan for an upcoming school year (Wolven 2013). However, it is wrong to believe that curriculum development is a simple process where teachers have to introduce what they can do in classrooms to help students learn new material and develop their skills to a certain extent. According to Wolven (2013), curriculum development is a complicated, seven-stage process that includes the diagnosis of students’ and teachers’ needs, an exact formulation of goals, the selection and organisation of a working content, the identification of learning experiences, and the importance to determine what has to be evaluated.
In education, curriculum development includes the usage of different resources and opinions with the help of which teachers may learn how to improve other subject areas, and students could rely on various ideas. In such kind of work, teachers, as well as students, have to learn how to develop appropriate relations with librarians, the people, who have direct access to numerous sources, offer help and suggest the directions in teaching and learning. Librarians should assist students and teachers in choosing the resources for curriculum development that meets such criteria as authority, accuracy, scope, and appropriateness (Wolven 2013). Besides, it is necessary to provide them with the required information about how to develop a curriculum and what kind of work has to be done by teachers and students. The development of curriculums cannot be ignored or misunderstood because this process helps to coordinate people and make them confident in what they offer and what they can get from those who offer something. In other words, curriculum development is necessary because of the order it promotes in the field of education.
However, development is not enough to succeed in teaching and learning. People have to comprehend that they need to work, consider the recent changes, and make the improvements in regards to their own, as well as others’, expectations. It means that curriculum development depends on innovations and teachers’ ability to identify and use all innovations in education. There are several conditions that have to be identified before innovations are used. First, knowledge should be successfully introduced to students and teachers (Mota & Scott, 2014). Second, knowledge should be properly managed and implemented in practices. Then, students should learn why they need to consider their knowledge and how to use it properly. Finally, knowledge has to be developed regarding the current political, economic, cultural, and even religious changes. It is useless to offer students something new in case they cannot come to a consensus with their backgrounds.
Nowadays, innovation is defined as a broad concept when not technological innovations have to be considered (Mota & Scott 2014). Besides, innovation should promote sustainability when all people, who are involved in a process, are satisfied with the results obtained and aware of the outcomes that could be observed. Innovation in education is a real challenge for many teachers because several factors could be embedded in a teaching process (Mata 2012; Maritz et al. 2014). As a rule, teachers try to rely on the experience of each other. Still, they are also challenged by the necessity to consider the cultural, economic, and political barriers to choose the most significant innovation for a particular organisation. Therefore, it is necessary to identify the main factors in curriculum development and learn what approach is appropriate for a specific school.
Main Factors in Curriculum Development
Any language curriculum is a plan that is used to develop interrelations between subjects, concerns, and educational value systems that help to understand the different influences on learners. Therefore, the development of a curriculum could depend on several factors, such as a teaching-learning process, a school and classroom environment, societal needs, and students’ (or their parents’) expectations.
Each factor helps to define the goals and philosophies of a curriculum and clarify what kind of beliefs and principles should be taken into consideration to create a solid basis for a learning process, stay realistic, and identify the resources that could be used by teachers to educate students and by students to complete the tasks offered by teachers. A teaching-learning process is a connection that has to be developed between students and teachers in the classroom. Students cannot develop their own rules, but follow the requirements established by their teachers, and teachers have to investigate different aspects of a learning process to provide their students with the best learning conditions.
The environment is also crucial for education. Students should feel comfortable in their work, and teachers have to be confident in everything they offer to their students. The consideration of the environment could be influenced by the curriculum design that ensures the survival of students and teachers. The environment could be intercultural and multicultural (Mata 2012), technological and linguistic, economic and political (Mota & Scott 2014). Teachers should take responsibilities for what they offer to their students and what outcomes they may expect in return.
Finally, in curriculum development, societal needs should be considered. All these needs include what people may want and expect from the classes they take. For example, language teaching contains the necessary to combine communicative courses with the interests of students, which may differ from other academic disciplines (Albilehi, Han & Desmidt 2013). However, students’ needs are not the only needs that have to be taken into consideration while a curriculum is developed. There are also the needs of teachers and students’ parents that have to be investigated. Though students are the direct recipients of knowledge, their teachers, as well as their parents, are the direct participants of an educative process. Teachers could influence and promote students’ development in the classroom. Parents are responsible for personal motivation and support at home. The needs of such stakeholders are crucial. They cannot be neglected. At the same time, the attention to parental needs and roles in students’ education is important because it helps to avoid evident mistakes in a learning-teaching process. There is no need for students to develop parent-like relations with their teachers. In their turn, teachers should not try to perform the role of parents in their students’ life.
In curriculum innovation, several factors may affect curriculum implementation, including temporal (e.g. duration or frequency of a lesson), organisational (e.g. several students in a class or the policies that have to be considered), or personal (e.g. backgrounds, individual abilities, or relations with parents) (Mata 2012). Besides, there are many cultural and physical factors teachers have to pay attention to before they implement a new curriculum. Cultural diversity is one of the most important factors that may teachers focus on in their classroom activities because they do not want to respect their cultural differences only, but also to teach their students how to respect and recognise their needs in regards to their cultural differences. Such differences, as well as other personal peculiarities and skills, could be used to develop team teaching as one of the most frequently used methods of teaching nowadays. This method is properly discussed by Killingsworth and Xue in their article written for the International Journal of Cognitive Research in Science, Engineering and Education.
Descriptive Analysis of Killingsworth and Xue’s Article
Team teaching is an instructional approach that is frequently used by many teachers in different schools and colleges around the whole world. Killingsworth and Xue (2015) introduce this method as the process when two or more teachers are involved in the same activity that promotes planning, teaching, and evaluating students and their abilities. Though this technique was introduced several years ago, not much attention is paid to its advantages and disadvantages in an educational process. However, certain attention was paid the importance of teamwork in education. For example, according to Hutton, Davis, and Will (2012), team-based learning has its advantages due to the possibility to demonstrate a high level of cohesiveness within student learning. Students can communicate, discuss their attitudes to an educational process, and clarify their needs and expectations in the most appropriate for them ways. Students get access to an easy form of education in case they work in teams and cope with the tasks accordingly.
Teachers, in their turn, have to focus on their own duties and responsibilities. Killingsworth and Xue (2015) explain that team teaching promotes the development of a climate when teachers’ needs are considered and used to develop effective lessons and classroom activities. Team teaching has its advantages, such as the possibility to clarify learning missions and promote fairness on students’ perception of their tasks and satisfaction (Killingsworth & Xue 2015). If teachers start working in groups a certain group of students, they can observe their weakness and strengths faster in comparison to the situations when they have to work alone.
Finally, team teaching remains to be a good example of innovativeness that is crucial for curriculum development. Students enjoy the dynamics and variety of teachers’ approaches in their education. Teachers may not be afraid of demonstrating their weaknesses or knowledge gaps to be supported and improved by another member of a team. Team teaching may be characterised by the lack of continuity and poor communication between teachers (Killingsworth & Xue 2015). Besides, the lack of commitment could be observed. However, the improvement of students’ motivation and the attention to parents and their possible impact on students’ comprehension of the social environment could change the course of a teaching-learning process considerably.
The authors believe that the improvement of the team teaching climate in the classroom is what modern teachers have to strive to promote their and students’ competency and satisfaction (Killingsworth & Xue 2015). However, they do not introduce enough guides and rules with the help of which teachers could understand how to work with students when they have to work in groups with other teachers. In addition to their improved experience and knowledge that could be used in teaching, this approach should cover the needs of students and their abilities. Though it is not always easy to take all these factors into consideration, teachers have to be ready to deliver the importance of cooperation when they develop a curriculum and search for inspiration and motivation.
Peculiarities of Team Teaching in Curriculum Development
In this paper, the goal is not only to analyse the achievements demonstrated by other researchers, teachers, and writers. It is necessary to investigate team teaching and explain how to use it under certain circumstances which include the work with 5th-grade students in a school in Dubai.
5th-grade students are children between 10 and 12 years. On the one hand, it is interesting and easy to work with such students because they know how to formulate their thoughts and explain what they know or expect from classes. On the other hand, it is not always possible to motivate them properly and make them work in groups following the guidelines given by a teacher. Therefore, it is necessary to promote teamwork and help students choose easy and educative for them ways (Hutton, Davis, & Will 2012). In curriculum delivery, team teaching will be an approach that aims at using different methods of work with the same students and enjoying the possibility to change students and teachers regularly. At the same time, team teaching helps to develop communication and cooperation between students and teachers. In such a curriculum, the attention is paid to students and the growth of a faculty. Besides, it is expected that teachers try to balance their initiatives and share their responsibilities and specialisations in regards to the needs of their students but not in regards to the standards and requirements set by a school.
In general, the curriculum based on team teaching aims at developing the practices which help students develop their skills and cooperate with students in a clear and comprehensive way. Teachers should develop plans with the help of which the respect for differences is supported, academic independence is promoted, and conflict-resolution skills are developed. Team teaching is the possibility to work with all students in one classroom at the same time, regardless of the actual number of students because it is easy to divide them into groups and create appropriate learning conditions.
The success of team teaching in curriculum delivery depends on the methods and strategies chosen by teachers in their work. For example, not all teachers are able to demonstrate their true skills and attitudes to their profession when they have to work in teams. Some teachers are shy, and some teachers are too confident in their knowledge so that they cannot accept the fact that another person, who gains the same position, could influence their work. Therefore, personal judgements and concerns have to be left behind to create a true team of professional experts, who are ready to share their teaching styles and approaches and be grouped.
In addition, teachers should not be afraid to ask for help. As an example, teachers may cooperate with librarians to choose the best resources and textbooks for the students of a certain group (Wolven 2013). Librarians may also assist in the development of the relations between teachers. On the one hand, librarians are not directly involved in the teaching process and are not usually interested in the results of teaching. On the other hand, the work of librarians depends on the quality of the work of teachers. They could offer appropriate material for students in a short period of time and suggest credible sources.
Then, team teaching means work in groups. Teachers have to clarify if there are no leading positions in their groups, or if it is necessary to choose a person, who is able to coordinate the work of other participants. As a rule, teachers use a free voting system to come to the same conclusion and continue developing their curriculums.
Finally, team teaching is based on flexible communication and discussions. Teachers have to discuss all aspects of their work and support the same level of communication and trust among their students.
In case the goals and methods of team teaching are taken into consideration in the right way, it is possible to achieve a number of positive outcomes and observe improvements in students’ work. In the curriculum based on team teaching, it is expected that 5th-grade students in a Dubai school are able to:
- Work in small groups and develop trustful relations in these groups;
- Learn the material and use different ways to express their thoughts;
- Compare and contrast different teaching styles and clarify what kind of work is more interesting to them;
- Make decisions on what they want to do and what they can do with different teachers on the same topic;
- Investigate and analyse their work from different perspectives.
At the same time, teachers are those who may enjoy the outcomes of a teaching-learning process based on the idea of team teaching. There are several outcomes all teachers may expect from team teaching regardless of their level of knowledge and attitudes to the requirement of the curriculum
The possible outcomes:
- Additional motivation to work hard and demonstrate the best skills in their work with students;
- Competitiveness and the intentions to amaze students and even teachers, who are in the same classroom.
- The necessity to investigate different aspects of teaching and choose the options that are interesting to students;
- Friendship with teachers and students could be developed.
In fact, team teaching may have a number of positive and negative impacts on students and teachers at the same time. On the one hand, creativity and the creation of communities are encouraged, active class participation is possible, and the attention to each student during classwork is paid. On the other hand, it is hard to be sure that teachers choose the same methods of work and the same directions in communication. Some teachers may not like teamwork because of the risk of humiliation and frustration. Therefore, the supporters of team teaching have to be careful with personal factors and the establishment of the rules for all participants in a working process.
Evaluation of Team Teaching in the Work with 5th Grade Students in a Dubai School
Considering the goals, advantages, and disadvantages of team teaching as the main innovating method in curriculum delivery for the 5th-grade students in a Dubai school, it is possible to say that many teachers are ready to try this approach and change the style of work they prefer in their classrooms. 5th-grade students may have their own demands and expectations from their learning. Besides, the role of students’ parents cannot be ignored. Finally, it is necessary to remember that not all teachers are ready to work in teams because of personal ambitions and habits. The evaluation of team teaching in terms of teaching language to the students in the 5th grade should demonstrate what alternatives and methods are available to the teachers of Dubai schools.
Importance of Teachers’ Abilities
In the creation and development of a curriculum, teachers’ abilities play an important role because of several reasons. First, teachers have to be ready for any kind of innovation to be implemented in their curriculums (Maritz et al. 2014). In this case, team teaching is the innovation that has to be used by language teachers regardless of their personal interests and concerns. Teachers should comprehend that team teaching is a method that helps to complete a task. They have to learn how to use the already gained skills and knowledge and, at the same time, develop new opportunities and skills to correspond with new requirements and obligations.
Another crucial factor in the evaluation of the team teaching curriculum is the necessity of teachers to cooperate with other teachers and develop mutual approaches for teaching-learning processes. Cooperation among teachers is a complicated process because adult people are not always ready to neglect their needs to meet the standards given. Besides, they have to work with the same students and may develop a feeling that they are under control and constant evaluation and comparison of children. In case team teaching is used for the development of curriculums, teachers have to be ready for unpredictable and unplanned changes with the help of which it is possible to motivate and involve students in a working process and choose different methods to stay interesting and educative for students.
Identification of Students’ Skills
Another important aspect of the evaluation of team teaching in curriculum delivery is the identification of students’ skills and the necessity to know how to use them properly. Curriculum development is the clarification of the tasks that teachers have to offer to their students. Still, to create a good and effective plan of work, teachers have to learn their students’ skills and knowledge. Therefore, it is possible to begin a course with a brief but informative assessment of students and their preferences in the work of teachers.
It happens that students of the same class have different levels of knowledge and readiness to work in classes. A teacher may divide a class into several groups and try to control the work of each student. However, such kind of work is complicated. Team teaching is a good solution for teachers because it is possible to involve several teachers to work in one class at the same time. Students are able to develop their skills, and teachers should not be distracted from work with several groups. Teams of teachers are created with a particular goal and intention to focus on the student’s skills and knowledge and use the best methods to promote development and improvement.
Guides and Creative Lessons
Finally, there is no need to neglect the fact that even the most proficient teachers and learners may be in need of a clear and informative guide for a lesson. Sometimes, teachers lack enthusiasm. Sometimes, teachers may want to try something new but remain to be unconfident in their readiness to work in a new way. Finally, teachers have to be ready to use innovations and progress to improve their classroom work. Curriculum development is the required portion of support and guarantees that teachers provide their students with all necessary knowledge and practice. The curriculum based on team teaching is an appropriate, innovative method with the help of which teachers get their working guides, and students get their guarantees that lessons are interesting and diverse.
Relying on personal observations and experiences, it is possible to say that when teachers work in teams, they may discuss their problem areas in work with students, share their approaches and ideas, and improve each other’s work in regards to a chosen class and its students. Even the best teachers may suffer from professional blocks, personal challenges, and depression. Team teaching is the method that helps students almost the same way; it helps teachers because motivation, inspiration, and satisfaction are crucial for education and integral in team teaching.
In general, the evaluation of curriculum development, innovation, and implementation of learning and teaching ideas help to understand that teachers are open for different working approaches and methods. Sometimes, it is not easy to cooperate with students and make them listen to their teachers. However, when students observe that there is more than one teacher, and substitution is possible; anyway, students do not hurry up to make their decisions and refuse the work of their teachers. They are eager to compare and become some kind of estimators for their teachers.
At the same time, team teaching helps students to be involved in different activities with different teachers. Students do not have much time to get bored. They are always in some kind of action. Teachers introduce new activities and improve the outcomes by means of constant communication, attention to the details, and recognition of students’ needs in a short period of time. 5th-grade students, as well as their teachers, benefit a lot with team teaching as one of the available approaches to curriculum development in Dubai schools because of the possibility to focus on personal and professional needs of students and teachers at the same time.
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