Development of Professional capital in elementary schools through team collaboration

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For many sound reasons, collaboration in teams in primary schools has gained increasing attention among researchers and practioners. Teams bear potential to strengthen and develop the quality of work, in terms of both social meaningfulness and a task-oriented perspective. The quality of teamwork depends on – among others – the teams’ competences to prioritize, to bring professional knowledge into play and to make common decisions. Teamwork gains a better quality if a team facilitator and team members pay attention to principles of teamwork and hold competences to collaborate within the team. The contribution following from this paper is 1) a theoretical foundation of teamwork based on organizational-sociological theories and specific theories of professional capital as well as at theory of facilitation and 2) an example of a learning program enabling teams to qualify their teamwork continuously by using specific methods. 1) We apply and further develop the concept of professional capital in relation to the field of teamwork in primary schools. The concept of professional capital relies on the assumption that proper collaboration builds on, and at the same time develops social-, human-, and decision capital. Furthermore, professional capital is seen as a precondition for competent teamwork among professionals dealing with complex challenges and problems. As such the concept of professional capital suggests a working environment that enables participants to contribute with professional skills, experiences and personality (human capital) in a trusting and fair social environment (social capital) and furthermore, an environment with competence and responsibilities to take proper decisions (decision capital) and act according to these decisions (competence to act). 2) We unfold important aspects of teamwork aligned with this principles:

• Building up a structure for team meetings. Focus on agenda setting, sensemaking and involvement of team members. Focus on the teams’ core function in agenda setting. • Methods to discuss important tasks from a multi perspective view and to make deliberate decisions. Focus on complex tasks and exploring the pros and cons of several possible solutions. Focus on bringing human capital into play in terms of using skills, experiences and judgement. • Using the team members’ experiences and divergent points of view as a resource rather than a problem. Focus on productive use of diversity as a way to manage conflicts. Focus on social capital in terms of underpinning feelings of justice and mutual trust. • Using action plans to make sure that decisions are followed up by action. Focus on methods to ensure changemaking in order to follow agreements and decisions in daily practice.

Finally, the paper discusses empirical findings of pros and cons associated to the above described foci for teamwork in terms of effects on collaboration.
Translated title of the contributionUdvikling af professionel kapital i folkeskolen gennem teamsamarbejdet
Original languageEnglish
Publication date20 Aug 2020
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 20 Aug 2020
EventNordic Working Life Conference: The changing nature of
Nordic working life. 2020
- Online
Duration: 28 Sep 202029 Sep 2020
Conference number: 10


ConferenceNordic Working Life Conference: The changing nature of
Nordic working life. 2020
OtherConference postponed from spring 2020 to September 2020. Held online.
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