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Winning Recipe for a Successful Team
Published : 06.04.2017

Team teaching brings many questions to the surface. How do we form teaching teams, are they fixed or porous? How large is the optimal teaching team? What is the decision-making process in a teaching team? What is the model of a teaching team: a horizontal network or vertical hierarchy? What are the optimal communication tools or assessment tools for a teaching team?

Such questions show that team teaching is an emerging phenomenon with many opportunities to set best practices. And in Haaga-Helia we are truly empowered to find the right answers.

Looking for insights into team teaching, I asked my senior colleagues to share their thoughts on team-teaching, on what it is and what they consider when implementing it.

“Team teaching is about being brave. It requires courage to join a group of perhaps previously unknown colleagues, even randomly. Team teaching enables us to share the expertise we have with a larger professional community and accept the fact that we are all learners. Team teaching is also there for you, when you realise that you cannot do everything alone. In teams, teachers cross frontiers and bring exciting changes. Team teaching also keeps you in good professional shape and eager to experiment. And finally, with team-teaching, we all become transparent and exposed to an open and honest environment.”Reija Anckar, Head of Porvoo Campus, Degree Programme Director (Aviation Business, Visual Marketing).

“Team teaching is about sharing, about learning and developing together. Implementing team teaching is crucial as it helps colleagues to empower themselves and find the right direction together. Teaching teams make decisions, and are less dependent on management. The students also demand team teaching as they find that team teaching is more consistent and has fewer mixed messages and overlaps. Setting the team teaching culture requires time, it is not something that gets easily imposed and requires processing, the right structures, and the right evaluation tools.” – Kaija Lindroth, Porvoo Campus, Degree Programme Director (Tourism, International Sales and Marketing)

Based on team teaching experience on Haaga-Helia Porvoo Campus, I can also say that team teaching is a great self-development tool and an essential component in building a resilient and agile organisation of educational experts. To answer some of the questions above, I find strong evidence for open teams and a free-lance approach towards team membership. I also believe that all teachers who in this or that way become engaged with a certain group of students during the semester must work as an actively collaborative and efficiently communicating team, via Yammer or elsewise. As for the decision-making, we are here for the students – all decision-making starts with them – so remember to have no hidden teaching agendas and no territorial ownership! Team teaching is best when co-creation allows everyone to be an equal contributor.

Coming together is the beginning

Looking further, I can proudly say that in Haaga-Helia we already have contributed to the best practices of team research and team learning, and we are finally revving up for successful team teaching. What will we aim to team next? What will be the next future-proof, winning recipe of team work to open new doors to work life for the aspiring talent?

One great opportunity is to pursue teamwork between educational institutions, both on the same level and across levels. And to tell the truth, Haaga-Helia is remarkably well positioned to lead such grand team initiatives. One recent example is cooperation between Porvoo Business College and Haaga-Helia’s Porvoo Campus with its integrated study path. Another example is the planning of Bachelor degree programme in Aviation Business in coordination with the Master degree programme in Aviation and Tourism. One more fantastic example is a strategic alliance between Haaga-Helia, Laurea, and Metropolia Uniersities of Applied Sciences.

There is no doubt that the entire Haaga-Helia’s management unanimously supports team-teaching. In a similar way, more and more colleagues have also become ardent proponents of team teaching. With such trend, team teaching is here to stay for sure.

None of the above would be possible without team teaching, and being able to join such ambitious and incredibly important teamwork is a great honour. Thus, the profession of teaching is finally coming of age to take its place in the modern business world. We, teachers, are ready. Let us team!

By Ivan Berazhny (Senior Lecturer, Degree Programmes in Aviation Business, Tourism, International Sales and Marketing, Porvoo Campus, Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences)