team teaching

Kelly McConnaughay kdm at BRADLEY.BRADLEY.EDU
Tue Jul 13 16:13:22 EST 1999

Hi all-

At Bradley we have developed a truly integrated approach to teaching
orgranismal biology.  We have two profs (one plant physiological ecologist
and one environmental animal physiologist) responsible for the entire
course.  The course is investigative, uncovering content through inquiry,
with profs quiding discussions of content (with supplemental lecture as
needed) and scientific process.  The course content is explored through
various problems that all organisms must solve, and we direct
compare/contrast solutions across various organismal groups, with primary
emphais on animal vs. plant constraints.  The profs are in the
classroom/lab TOGETHER, for the entire semester, regardless of what topic
comes up.  This facilitates direct comparison of how plants vs. animals
deal with, say, water movement, and  becomes especially enlightening when
we discuss topics that people associate with only one group or another (eg,
sensory systems--plants have very specific sensory adaptations!)

We think that this approach is very rich, and the students (and profs)
leave the course with a much broader understanding of how organisms "work".
  We work HARD (lots more time commitment in class, lots of time spent
working on how to integrate material, etc.). We have common goals and
similar teaching styles, and a huge amount of respect for each other.
Otherwise it couldn't work.

We have more information available about this course, how it is structured,
what is involved in keeping it going day-to-day, and what the students get
out of it.  If anyone wants more info, drop me an email or note,

Kelly McConnaughay
Bradley University
Department of Biology
Peoria, IL  61625

kdm at

>Thanks for your comments a few weeks back regarding team teaching.
>Kathleen Archer noted:
>>Team teaching does
>>present the problem of different teaching styles, and to a certain extent,
>>different expectations, but if you can give each person a group of lectures
>>together students have a chance to get used to them.
>and Bernadette Roche mentioned:
>>As much as I enjoy team teaching, I think setting up a dichotomy for
>>the students (here is how plants work, and then here is how animals
>>work) prevents them from getting a good understanding of process;
>>it doesn't encourage them to compare and contrast the solutions that
>>plants, animals, fungi, bacteria, etc. use to combat the problems
>>associated with living in a heterogenous world.
>It seems to me that both of these problems might be solved, in part,
>by "co-teaching" (as opposed to "'tag' team teaching") in which the
>teachers are in front of the class together at least some of the
>time.  If the two faculty really wanted to do this, wrote and graded
>exams together, and could be compensated appropriately with respect
>to contact hours, I think the benefits to the students could be
>Has anyone been able to pull this off?
>What are the cons I'm not thinking of?
>  Jonathan D. Monroe           Associate Professor
>  Department of Biology       office: 540-568-6649
>  MSC 7801                       lab: 540-568-6045
>  James Madison University       fax: 540-568-3333
>  Harrisonburg, VA 22807   email: monroejd at

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