Teacher-based Teams (TBTs): What Districts Need to Know - Preview

Teacher-based Teams (TBTs): What Districts Need to Know

* Recently Updated *

This module provides support for the development of teacher-based teams (TBTs) as part of an aligned leadership team structure used by districts and their schools to continually improve instructional practice and student learning. This module has recently been updated to include the latest research linking the work of TBTs to improved outcomes for students and staff, and new resources and videos that have been reformatted for time and content. Hear from State Support Team directors as they share their insights regarding successful practices they are seeing in their regions. Foundational elements for the Ohio Improvement Process, the 5 Step Process, and Inclusive School and District Cultures are also embedded in the module.

This module aligns with:

  • Ohio's Leadership Framework: All Areas
  • Ohio Improvement Process: All Stages

Receiving Credit for this Module

The Ohio Leadership Advisory Council offers educators credit and contact hours for OLAC work. Teachers, principals, and superintendents who are working toward license renewal can receive university credit for completing OLAC modules from a number of Ohio universities. Pre-approval is required. For estimated contact hours for credit or to learn more about receiving credit for OLAC work, visit the Credit Corner.

Video Transcript

Hello, I'm Brian McNulty, from the Leadership and Learning Center. I've had the unique opportunity to work with both districts and buildings, as well as the state department of education, across the state of Ohio in the development of teacher-based teams. This module that you're about to view is all about the development, implementation, and evaluation of teacher-based teams. Let me start first though with just a very brief overview of the research.

It was not that long ago that we didn't really have great research on teacher-based teams, but at this point in time we have a lot of very, very reliable research. As a matter of fact, one of the studies has been a five-year study that was in over nine states and worked with hundreds of schools across those states with a very large-scale study. It didn't look just at teacher-based teams, but it looked at leadership, and one of the things that they found was that distributed leadership, or shared leadership was more powerful than any form of individual leadership. Second big finding that they made was that schools that made significant progress attributed their progress to their teacher-based teams. It was the teacher-based teams that allowed them to make significant progress.

In another large-scale study of over 1500 schools, Linda Darling Hammond found that effective teacher-based teams resulted in student gains across all academic subject areas. But maybe even more interestingly, she also found that it reduced absenteeism and reduced referrals for discipline. Now one has to interpret those findings, but its not too big a stretch to assume that when students do better and are more actively engaged that they stay in school and cause less discipline problems; so that there are additional benefits to the teacher-based teams also.

The third study I just want to touch on, was a study by Galimore and Saunders, and the reason this study was important was because of the fact that they looked at matched pairs of schools. They went into school districts and randomly assigned, sort of, teacher-based teams to certain schools, and not to other schools, so they had nice control and experimental groups for their teacher-based teams. Now one of the findings initially was that the schools didn't make any progress and what they found was that in the schools that had the teacher-based teams if they were not following through on the full process, following their protocol, which in Ohio includes the five step protocol, if they were not following through on all five steps, that they didn't make progress. Once the schools started really following through on the full five step protocol, the lowest performing schools in the district became the highest performing schools in the district. So we have really, really good research, at this period of time around why teacher-based teams work, and how they work best.

So let me touch on one other subject then, not all teacher-based teams are effective. Matter of fact, collaboration by itself doesn't get you any better outcomes for students. It's only when collaboration, informed by data, that teachers really can examine their own practices and look at what is working and what's not working in terms of student learning. Now, again, the teacher-based team process in Ohio focuses on five steps. It looks at data, it looks at what's the outcomes that we want for students, and it also then looks at what do we think might be the most powerful way to teach it. Then we go teach it, we assess students, we come back and look at how well did all students do. Which students are proficient, close to proficient and far from proficient, and then, what are the right next steps. So you're going to hear about all of that in the following module.

The last thing that I want to touch on really is that there are some caveats around teacher-based teams. And those are, number one, there need to be regularly scheduled times. Now we get the question often about how much time do we need for teacher-based teams, and the guidance that I give to people is 45 minutes to an hour at least every other week, preferably every week. It takes about 45 minutes to an hour to go through the full five-step process. So, we really want people to think about making sure that you look at your schedule and schedule the amount of time that people need to do this work thoughtfully and effectively. The second thing that has to be in place is active facilitation. Teams aren't really able to follow through with this work without active facilitation. That can be done by a team member or it can be done by a coach; it can be done by a principal, someone from the building leadership team, but teams that are struggling need to get active facilitation to follow through on the process. The last caveat is that there must leadership, and the leadership comes from the building leadership team, the principal, and the district leadership team in the central office. They all have to be focused on making teacher-based teams the top priority for the district, for the school, and for every classroom. So if we pay attention to these caveats, we find that teams are uniformly successful and that students make more progress.

In the module you're going to see, there are a number of different components. One is, that there is going to be a review of the literature that talks about teacher-based teams, and a review of the research about what we know about effective teacher-based teams. The second thing that you are going to see, is that there are video clips of both teams doing their work and of individual team members talking about the process, both of which I think you'll find very, very helpful. The third thing that you're going to find is resources and tools and that includes things like protocols, and rubrics, to help us look at assessing our work and how much progress we're making or need to make. I think you're going to find this particular module very timely and very helpful to your work as teachers and administrators, in classrooms, and schools across the district. I hope you enjoy the module. Thank you very much.

Video Player Help

Brightcove Video Hosting: This website uses Brightcove, a video hosting company, to serve video content. If you are having difficulty viewing videos on this site, it may mean that your location (e.g. school district, organization) is blocking or filtering the Brightcove website. Please contact your IT personell to resolve this issue.

Flash Issues: Depending on your browser version, a Flash video player may be displayed. If you are having trouble viewing videos on one of our sites, you can try installing the latest version of Flash.

Accessibility: We strive to make this website accessible for all users, including people with disabilities. We test and modify this website for optimal usability. If you have any accessibility questions or find any pages on our website that pose accessibility barriers, please contact Hal Hixson at hal_hixson@ocali.org.

This module features videos, pre- and post-assesments, and questions for discussion.

Number of content pages: 9

Enter Module