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United we stand: An exploration of team re-culturing in early childhood settings.

Early childhood has a professional standing in education circles, however the team teaching that is necessary in this field, often doesn’t reflect the professionalism required. This research project was motivated by the researcher’s growing awareness and concern of disharmony within early childhood teams. Disharmony frequently dominates the researcher’s professional time in the bid to unravel the sources and work with teams to resolve issues and dilemmas. This research project investigates leader’s and teacher’s perceptions about the underlying sources of team disharmony in early childhood, drawing on their lived experience, and strategies implemented to re-culture the team, restore harmony, collegiality and collaboration. Qualitative methods of an online survey and face to face semi structured interviews were used to gather data on both leaders’ and teachers’ perceptions of the underlying sources of disharmony. The research found that poor communication, personality, leadership and a lack of clear values that underpinned relationships and practice were participants’ perceptions of contributing factors to team disharmony. In addition, structural issues and pressures of time for meaningful dialogue also contributed. A darker side of leadership was revealed where power and control tactics were used to bully teachers; leaving them disempowered and fearful of reprisal should they disagree or push for change. Team harmony, founded on clear values, is critical in an ECE environment where teachers’ team teach in the one open plan environment. Collaboration and collegiality are necessary dispositions for the team to hold, to enable them to collectively plan, reflect and inquire into their every day practice. Quality outcomes for children’s learning can only be met when teams are clear on their goals and they are working synergetically.  
Type of thesis
Sheehy, A. M. (2015). United we stand: An exploration of team re-culturing in early childhood settings. (Thesis, Master of Educational Leadership (MEdLeadership)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/9823
University of Waikato
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