4.3 Values and beliefs in the context of teamwork

It is widely accepted that the idea of ‘a common goal’ is core to understanding the notion of a team. But what is a ‘common goal’ and what does it look like? Rodd suggests that a team can be generally defined as:

A group of people cooperating with each other to work towards achieving an agreed set of aims, objectives or goals while simultaneously considering the personal needs and interests of individuals.

(Rodd, 2006, p. 149)

Rodd goes on to suggest that the following concepts are associated with teams:

  • the pursuit of a common philosophy, ideals and values
  • commitment to working through issues
  • shared responsibility
  • open and honest communication
  • access to a support system.

It is commonly understood that teamwork involves individual interests being subordinated in favour of the group interests. This means that in order to create team spirit, the needs of the team take priority over the needs of individuals in the team. Teamwork is underpinned by a number of core values.

Respect for persons Recognising the dignity and uniqueness of every human being, and behaving in ways that convey that respect.
The promotion of wellbeing Working for the welfare of all and seeking to further human flourishing.
Truth Having a commitment to teach and embrace truthfulness; being open in dialogue, to what others have to say; and confronting falsehood wherever it is found.
Democracy Believing that all human beings should enjoy the chance of self-government, or autonomy; and seeking within practice to offer opportunities for people to enjoy and exercise democratic rights.
Fairness and equality

Working towards relationships that are characterised by:

  • fairness
  • confronting discrimination in the pursuit of promoting equality
  • evaluating actions with regard to the way people are treated, the opportunities that are open to them and the rewards they receive.

Having core values and beliefs and translating them into practice is not always as straightforward as it sounds. Working as a successful team can be difficult to achieve. The variable nature of settings and the range of individuals involved means there is no single route to successful teamwork. Certain constraints may prevent the practice reflecting the values and views of team members.

Developing a team culture with a comfortable climate of asking questions, checking understandings, reflection and evaluation is of paramount importance in improving educational experiences, and governing bodies have a key role to play in this.

If a core team is working effectively towards shared goals, the team will more readily relate and interact with others in the wider or external team. The drive towards partnership working has gradually been replaced by the more flexible notion of ‘integrated’ working and services encompassed in the term ‘multi-agency working’.

4.2 The importance of teams

4.4 Putting this into practice