May 7th, 2009

Team Teaching and Dialogic Pedagogy


The past couple of days I’ve been wading through a fairly dense article on “dialogic pedagogy” as applied to team teaching. The authors, who have been collaborators since the early 1990s, team teach a 400-student introductory sociology course. They don’t team teach like most faculty do—they do what they describe as “joint” rather than “sequential” lectures. I’ll probably end up writing about their approach in the newsletter.

Besides offering an innovative approach to team teaching the article is one of those really thoughtful pieces that ties the approach to an interesting, albeit somewhat obscure, educational theory. Along the way, though, are a number of just pithy observations. Here are a couple that gave me reason to pause and contemplate.

“No matter how determined or knowledgeable they are, teachers can, as independent agents, teach students little or nothing. The role of teachers is only carried to fruition when students act, grow and learn. Rather than an action that one person performs for or on another, teaching is what teacher and student do together.” (p. 45)

“As teachers, we can never finally master the responsibilities of the good teacher. The good teacher knows that they are forever learning how to teach and that they need continuous support from others if they are to meet the world as it really is.” (p. 49)

Reference: Game, A., and Metcalfe, A. (2009). Dialogue and team teaching. Higher Education Research and Development, 28 (1), 45-57.