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Working together in your setting

As schools move towards inclusive practice, it is important that staff support one another to work together. This means moving away from processes that leave people isolated, confused, or overwhelmed by the task of teaching all students. The following table summarises some of the shifts in practice that working together effectively requires.

Moving from...


Teachers feeling unsupported Teachers feeling supported by senior leadership and working together with others
Hierarchical teams

Effective teams and communities of practice that value the knowledge of all members

Collaborative problem solving over time with the student as the central focus

Teachers considering they need specialist skills to teach some students Teachers’ skills being valued and supported by others who know the student well and/or have the additional knowledge needed
Students being seen as the responsibility of someone else, such as a specialist teacher or teacher’s aide The role of the classroom teacher being central, within a supportive team
Struggling to find time to get together as a team

Teachers using time in ways that work for them and others

Planning ahead and making time to meet and to stay in touch day to day

Role confusion Negotiation of roles so team members know what they are doing and what is expected of them
Thinking “It’s not my job.” Agreeing “It is everyone’s job”, with accountability for high standards across roles
Issues with communication between team members Agreed communication processes that work for those involved
Whānau feeling unsupported Whānau being actively involved and respected

In Example 4, a Learning Support Coordinator and year-13 English teacher work together to include a student who is learning at a very different level to the rest of the class; the teacher and the students in the class all benefit from taking an inclusive and supportive approach.


As a group, review the key messages from this section in the table below. Choose several statements that are pertinent to inclusive practice in your school and, for each statement, think about:

  • what we should keep doing
  • we should start doing
  • what we should do differently.

When we work together …

  • Teachers know who can support them.
  • Teachers are supported by, and learn in, effective teams and learning communities.
  • We listen to and make changes to respond to student views.
  • We know "how" we treat one another matters. We take personal responsibility to treat one other well.
  • All students belong in class, in the school, and in their local communities.
  • Time is used effectively, and we discuss how we will make time to come together when we need to.
  • People plan together for the future.
  • People are accountable. We do what we say we will do.
  • School systems support our collaboration.
  • Whānau are involved, listened to, respected, and understood.
  • We negotiate roles and responsibilities.
  • We agree on effective ways to communicate.
  • We focus on the positive and celebrate success.
  • We problem solve effectively.

Published on: 19 May 2015