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Implementation of Team Teaching in Medical Colleges: Pros, Cons, and Strategies to Make it Work


1 Medical Education Unit Coordinator and Member of the Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission21-Mar-2021
Date of Decision17-Aug-2021
Date of Acceptance24-Aug-2021
Date of Web Publication13-Nov-2021

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava,
FAIMER, PGDHHM, DHRM, FCS, ACME, Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mamcjms.mamcjms_31_21

  Abstract 


Acknowledging the complexity of medicine and the pressure on medical students in the current era, it is the need of the hour to ensure that they are taught using effective teaching-learning strategies. Team teaching refers to the approach wherein two or more qualified teachers join their hands together with an aim to provide knowledge to the students. The adoption of team teaching offers enormous benefits to the medical students, in terms of a broader range of experience, different teaching styles, views, and better problem-solving via the development of critical thinking skills. To conclude, the adoption of team teaching can prove to be an effective learning experience for the teachers and the students. However, to maximize the outcome, a significant amount of planning and coordination is required among the team members and thus all the medical colleges should aim to implement within their settings for the benefit of the medical students.

Keywords: critical thinking, medical education, team teaching



How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Implementation of Team Teaching in Medical Colleges: Pros, Cons, and Strategies to Make it Work. MAMC J Med Sci [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2021 Dec 3]. Available from: https://www.mamcjms.in/preprintarticle.asp?id=330442




  Introduction Top


Acknowledging the complexity of medicine and the pressure on medical students in the current era, it is the need of the hour to ensure that they are taught using effective teaching-learning strategies. Considering the priority for minimizing the knowledge overload on the medical students, rather that we should aim to encourage students to enhance their learning skills, the adoption of integrated curriculum and team teaching has been advocated.[1]


  Team Teaching Top


Team teaching, a teacher-centered pedagogical approach, came into existence in the 1960s, nevertheless their use in the field of delivery of medical education has not been effectively explored.[1],[2] Team teaching refers to the approach wherein two or more qualified teachers join their hands together with an aim to provide knowledge to the students. This approach is not adopted to minimize the workload on teachers or to equally divide the amount of time that will be spent by the teacher in a teaching-learning session.[2],[3]


  Merits of Team Teaching for Students Top


The adoption of team teaching offers enormous benefits to the medical students, in terms of a broader range of experience, different teaching styles, views, and better problem-solving via the development of critical thinking skills.[3] The incorporation of views from different teachers makes the entire process of learning effective. In fact, once one of the participating students tries to sort out their queries, all the members learn together (mutually beneficial). Further, the student’s experience viewpoints of different students and teachers and understands the significance of developing their opinion based on the available evidence and critical thinking. Moreover, as the learning environment is enabling, it motivates them to be more proactive in the learning process.[3],[4]

At the same time, it plays a significant role in improving the skills and competence level of students, enabling them to become an active member of interprofessional practice, which is a necessity.[4],[5] It has been recognized as one of the crucial aspects in accomplishing curriculum relevance and also impacts the learning outcomes. In addition, team teaching can be looked upon as an approach to learn better by receiving more feedback and due to the fact that they belong to a group and are not learning in isolation.[3],[4],[5]


  Merits of Team Teaching for Teachers Top


In general, the adoption of team teaching makes the entire experience of teaching as satisfying for them, as they not only can see students being benefitted, but also learn from their colleagues in the process (viz. classroom management skills, practices for active engagement of students, etc.).[1],[2],[3] The teachers learn a lot from their other team members by getting exposed to newer insights and through reflections. In this process, it enhances communication, develops trust, and ensures that everyone grows professionally, intellectually, and eventually accomplishes scholarship.[2],[3],[4]

Further, the presence of another colleague before and during the session makes the entire process of planning, delivery of learning content, classroom management, and assessment through constructive feedback and discussion. As more than one teacher is present during the session, better observation of small group activities can be accomplished.[3] Team teaching can also be helpful for those teachers who are scheduled to take a new topic, as the presession discussion, enhances the level of understanding about the topic, promotes creativity, and makes the teacher confident and relaxed during the session. Finally, the presence of more than one teacher ensures the maintenance of continuity in the class.[3],[4]


  Challenges Involved in Implementing Team Teaching Top


The approach of team teaching essentially requires systematic planning and investment of time in comparison with the sessions that require single faculty teaching.[4],[5] The success of the sessions depends on the extent of involvement of the participating team members with regard to course planning, development, assessment of the students, and even evaluation of the overall initiative.[1],[3] As it requires time investment and manpower, it becomes quite obvious that the outcome would not be encouraging in circumstances of faculty shortage. From the students’ perspective, even though team teaching offers multiple benefits, not every student readily accepts the same, especially learners with different learning style or someone with learning disorders. In addition, it might be difficult for some group of students to adapt to the different teaching styles of teachers in the same session, and thus it is quite essential to orient the students about the same and the responsibilities of the students to maximize benefit.[3],[4],[5]

We must accept that team teaching is not feasible under all settings and with all teachers, as not every teacher will be happy with the lack of autonomy and authority, which is very much present in solo-teaching.[3] At the same time, there can be a significant amount of reluctance if the teachers are either partnered with senior teachers or if they lack in-depth knowledge about the topic. Further, the faculty members should be explained about the scope and significance of team teaching in improving the learning outcomes among students to ensure their motivation and better participation.[3],[4] Finally, we will essentially require support from the administration so that the scheduling of classes, arrangement of logistics, training of faculty members, etc., can be streamlined.


  Strategies to Ensure Effective Implementation Top


Team teaching comprises of elements such as presence of two or more teachers, joining their hands to deliver meaningful information to a diversified group of students in a common setting.[1],[2] All the decisions taken at such sessions should be taken with concurrence from all team members, but then their roles have to be specified based on the abilities. A good team tends to be interdependent, demonstrates mutual respect toward each other, and tends to trust and extend support to each other.[3] The team members can be either from the same specialty or different ones, including clinicians and other experts, as it adds more dimension and worth of experience.[2]

Both teachers and students have to be sensitized about the merits of team teaching and how it can aid in developing critical thinking skills, which will have a significant benefit on the professional career of students.[5] Further, it is always good to encourage reflective behavior among the team members to understand what all went well and how it could have been further ameliorated. In addition, the program needs to be periodically evaluated to make it more effective and beneficial to all the involved stakeholders.[1],[2],[3],[4]


  Conclusion Top


To conclude, the adoption of team teaching can prove to be an effective learning experience for the teachers and the students. However, to maximize the outcome, a significant amount of planning and coordination is required among the team members and thus all the medical colleges should aim to implement within their settings for the benefit of the medical students.

Authors’ contributions

SRS contributed in the conception or design of the work, drafting of the work, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

PSS contributed in the literature review, revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content, approval of the final version of the manuscript, and agreed for all aspects of the work.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Yoon SP, Cho SS. Outcome-based self-assessment on a team-teaching subject in the medical school. Anat Cell Biol 2014;47:259-66.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Sethuraman KR. Teaching-learning methods. In Ananthakrishnan N, Sethuraman KR, Kumar S, eds. Medical Education − Principles and Practice. 2nd ed. Pondicherry: JIPMER Press. 2000. p. 51-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Hellier S, Davidson L. Team teaching in nursing education. J Contin Educ Nurs 2018;49:186-92.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Brookfield SD. The Skillful Teacher. 3rd ed. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass; 2015.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Chandra A, Sottile JM Jr. A critical examination of team-teaching of health care administration courses: student, faculty, and administration perspective. J Hosp Mark Public Relations 2005;15:55-68.  Back to cited text no. 5
    




 

 
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  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
Team Teaching
Merits of Team T...
Merits of Team T...
Challenges Invol...
Strategies to En...
Conclusion
References

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