Didactical Positions and Teacher Collaboration: Teamwork between Possibilities and Frustrations

Authors

  • Lars Frode Frederiksen Department for the Study of Culture University of Southern Denmark
  • Steen Beck Department for the Study of Culture University of Southern Denmark

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.11575/ajer.v59i3.55749

Keywords:

teamwork, organisational culture, secondary school, reform-implementation, didactics

Abstract

The context of this study is the Danish upper secondary school, which has undergone remarkable changes during the past ten years. Cross-disciplinary activities have been introduced as a teaching principle in order to create new skills for future generations in the knowledge society, while team organization among teachers has become obligatory in order to ensure collaboration regarding a new era of student learning. The reform has been widely discussed among teachers and in the public media as well. Our research shows that the majority of teachers support the idea of teamwork, but also that there are differences in teachers’ attitudes due to the diversity of interpretations of what constitutes good teaching and learning or what we call didactical values. We consider this an important discovery because it reveals that there is much resistance towards teamwork in the heterogeneous ways teachers understand their role as teacher. In this paper, we use data from a longitudinal study carried out in 2006-2009 to show that, in times of radical reforms such as the present, conflicts may be intensified exactly because of different didactical positions among teachers and between teachers and leaders in terms of how to create a viable connection between new structures and new teacher culture with the didactical values and practices that go along with them.

Cette étude porte sur l’éducation secondaire au Danemark, qui a connu des changements remarquables dans les dix dernières années. On a intégré au système éducatif des activités interdisciplinaires comme principe d’enseignement afin de développer de nouvelles habiletés chez les générations de l’avenir de la société de la connaissance. De plus, l’organisation par équipes est devenue obligatoire pour les enseignants de sorte à assurer la collaboration face à la nouvelle ère d’apprentissage par les élèves. Cette réforme a été largement discutée par les enseignants et les médias. Notre recherche indique que la majorité des enseignants appuient l’idée du travail en équipe, mais qu’il existe des différences dans leurs attitudes en raison de la diversité d’interprétations de ce qui constitue l’enseignement et l’apprentissage de qualité (ce qu’on nomme les valeurs didactiques). Nous estimons que ces conclusions sont importantes car elles révèlent beaucoup de résistance face au travail en équipe compte tenu des interprétations hétérogènes selon lesquelles les enseignants conçoivent leur rôle en salle de classe. Cet article présente des données d’une étude longitudinale réalisée en 2006-2009 pour démontrer que pendant des périodes marquées par des réformes radicales telles que celle au Danemark, il se peut que les conflits soient intensifiés en raison des positions didactiques différentes d’un enseignant à l’autre et entre les enseignants et les chefs relativement à la création d’un lien viable entre les nouvelles structures d’une part, et la nouvelle culture des enseignants et les valeurs et pratiques didactiques afférentes d’autre part.

 

Author Biographies

Lars Frode Frederiksen, Department for the Study of Culture University of Southern Denmark

Lars Frode Frederiksen, PhD, is Associate Professor at the Department for the Study of Culture, University of Southern Denmark. He received his PhD in Management of Industrial Research from Copenhagen Business School in 2004. His current research interests are mainly focused on school development and leadership in Danish upper secondary schools in an era of major ongoing reforms. His approach to leadership studies is that leadership goes beyond the actions of leaders, and covers various aspects of formal and informal organizational interaction, including expressed and actual teacher autonomy.

 

Among recent publications

 

Uljens, M., Ärlestig, H., Møller, J., Frederiksen, L.F. (2013) The Professionalization of Nordic School Leadership, in: Moos, L. (ed.) Transnational Influences on Values and Practices in Nordic Educational Leadership: Is there a Nordic model? Springer, p. 133-157

Frederiksen, L. F. & Beck, S. (2010) Caught in a crossfire: Educational research in context

I : Journal of Educational Research. 33, 2, p. 135-49.

 

Steen Beck, Department for the Study of Culture University of Southern Denmark

Steen Beck, PhD, is Associate Professor at the Department for the Study of Culture, University of Southern Denmark. He received his PhD in Youth Culture and Organizational Learning from the University of Southern Denmark in 2006. His current research interests are mainly focused on teaching and learning in the reformed secondary school. He is especially focusing on theoretical and empirical dimensions in relation to the connection between learning methods and the development of student competences and cognitive abilities. Also, he is focusing on school development and teacher collaboration.

 

Among recent publications

 

Hansen, D. R., Bøje, J. D. & Beck, S. (2014) What are they talking about? The construction of good teaching among students, teachers, and management in the reformed Danish Upper-Secondary School Education Inquiry (in press).

Frederiksen, L. F. & Beck, S. (2010) Caught in a crossfire: Educational research in context, Journal of Educational Research. 33, 2, p. 135-49.

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Published

2014-06-30

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