Student Publications

Author: Janet Carey
Title: Theories of Learning

Country: United States
Avialable for Download: Yes

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My management activity is the management of team development. I am section leader  of the Caring Section within the college where I am employed, and this is my first year in post. The college is situated in a small town in the midlands of the Republic of Ireland. I was given the brief to consolidate and develop the section.

Within the section I am coordinator of a BTEC Social Care course, and this lastacademic year we have also offered a Childcare course.

My management activity aimed to develop the team through course management, and I  identified five objectives that I hoped we would achieve.At the end of term I presented a report to the manager , and over the summer break there were further developments.

Objective 1.

Team development day, in-service for all the school and college staff.

The Principal agreed that this was a good idea for the entire staff, and teams, which are not in all cases clearcut, should be identified. So far plans have not progressed

Objective 2.

In-service courses for specified team members in specified areas.

The Principal agreed to fund reasonable courses. Staff were asked to identify courses, and although initial enthusiasm was shown, only one member of staff attended a course.

Objective 3

Run a new course - D.C.E.- (The diploma in childcare and education) formerly

known as the N.N.E.B.

 The submission has been accepted. Students have responded to marketing of the course, and all applicants were interviewed. Necessary preparations were made, and the course started on Monday 11 September 2000. To date students seem happy, and staff are “stretched”.

Objective 4

Delegate overall responsibility for two courses, one to Ann and one to Mary.

Both Ann and Mary agreed to the delegation. Ann is now cooordinator of the BTEC course which has recruited for year 1 and retained students for year 2. Mary is no longer on the staff, she  had a temporary contract whilst a permanent member of staff was on a  career break. This member of staff, somewhat unexpectedly, has returned, and the hours  are not available for Mary, who requires full-time work.

 The returning member of staff does not wish to coordinate the childcare course, which  would have been Mary’s. She prefers to spend all her time at the school where the bulk of her work has always  been.Administratively, her request accords well with school plans for the new academic  year.

The childcare course is not being offered as an independent course. This decision was made by the Manager and Principal, who informed me during the summer break.

Objective 5.

Ann to investigate day release course.

Ann met with the coordinator of a Training organisation , who wish to offer their students the opportunity to undertake a course which results in certification from an official awarding body.Ann had some discussion with the coordinator, and they agreed some important points. So far there has been no further progress.

The overall planning was strategic, and predictably we did not achieve overall success  and adjustments have been necessary.

The D.C.E. and B.T.E.C. courses are running, the former coordinated by me and the l atter

The in-service day, I think, will come to fruition. There will be an external facilitator

which staff would undoubtedly prefer. The organisation operates as a school and  affiliated Post Leaving College (Sixth Form College) and an internal facilitator would be unlikely to meet with universal enthusiasm.

Staff attendance at courses has been disappointing. On reflection, a more proactive approach would seem better than leaving the onus on staff to identify courses, which has been the custom.

The loss of Mary has been a blow.The adjustment made is radical.Since the returning member of staff will not be working at the college there are further implications for subject allocation within the section.

These hours are all being covered by new part-time staff. One has childcare qualifications as specified by CACHE, the other is “flexible”.I was also told they would need support, as the environment would be unfamiliar.This is a challenge for them, and for the team

Section 2.

Evaluation of the Outcomes of the Activity

The aims of my management activity were to expand the Caring Section of the college by facilitating a performing team, the performance being concerned with course delivery and to enhance the reputation of the college.The five identified objectives ,I hope, have facilitated team development and helped us achieve our aims.

It is evident there has been some success, but by no means complete success. The aim to expand the Caring Section has been achieved in that course provision has expanded in terms of student numbers and the childcare course is being offered as an “add on” extra to the existing courses.The reputation of the college is enhanced as our  new course is a prestigious one, and we are the only providers locally.

The team has been moved forward in that some goals have been achieved, we have a  vision of the future and plans to get there. Staff have been empowered. The central problem to be resolved was low group morale, or more precisely, apathy.

The resolution was to be through team development linked to course provision.

Examination and assessment of success criteria.

Success criteria relate to the achievement or otherwise of the individual tasks, and will be examined in detail. It is comparitively easy to examine, assess and draw conclusions relating to quantitative tasks - qualitative evaluation is more difficult. Within my aim of team development the five objectives identified relate very much to the management of people. There are also significant implications for teaching and learning, and since the aims include expansion of the section, there are implications for increased finance and resources.

Objective 1 was to get permission for a school/college in-service day related to

team development.

Success criteria.                          

Principal agrees                                     

Date set.                                            

Training occurs.                                    

Report back that day was worthwhile.      

Evaluation so far, is that matters need to be progressed.The proposal is agreed, and since the initial request came from me, I feel it is now incumbant on me to speak again to the manager and offer, if it seems appropriate, to explore options for implementing the day.

I  am still learning some of the nuances of the culture, and this is a situation that has not arisen before.Culture may be defined as “a system of shared values and beliefs that interact with an organisation’s people, organisation structure and control ystems to produce behavioural norms.” Dr Nicholas Geordiadis (1987) The conclusion I draw is that if I wish the in-service day to proceed in the near future, I must offer to progress it myself, as it is obviously a higher priority for me than for the Manager or Principal, for whom it is a small part of a large jigsaw.

Objective 2 was staff attendance at designated in-service courses

Success criteria.      

  • Principal agrees      
  • Staff attend courses            
  • Staff find content worthwhile.     
  • Staff incorporate new ideas into practice      


  • New learning experiences for students.  
  • Report back from staff       
  • Improved motivation for staff. 

My evaluation of this task is that it has been partly successful. Only one member of staff attended a course, but found it a worthwhile experience. Conclusions drawn are that in future I  will be more proactive. Local custom has been to alert staff to the fact that the Principal will sanction relevant courses that staff identify. I  think the uptake will be greater if I bring such courses to their attention. This exercise not only develops professional expertise but benefits students. The necessary finance is not a problem.

Objective 3 was to offer a new course.The Diploma in Childcare and Education.


  • Submission accepted  
  • Students recruited.   
  • All necessary preparation completed  
  • Course starts.  


Initial satisfaction (verbally expressed) Motivation and job satisfaction for staff. Conclusions drawn are that setting up the course, which has been time consuming and not always easy, has been worthwhile for us all. As a team we feel we have achieved. All the team teach on the course, and I feel it will further develop us all. New teaching and learning are occurring. The students are drawn from all over the Republic of Ireland, and we are getting enquiries from Northern Ireland, which is good news. The local community benefit in the provision of services, and as significant stakeholders see our expansion favourably.

Objective 4 was the delegation of overall responsibility for courses to Ann and Mary

Success criteria                       

  • Ann and Mary agree.                          
  • Set up administration                             

Success criteria                                     

  • Students return/recruit                        

Evidence is that only one course is running. The delegation experience I feel has been of benefit to both Ann and myself, and Ann feels empowered. Interdependence has increased. Mary, however, for administrative reasons, is no longer with us see section1) Obviously adjustment had to be made, and the Principal decided to close the course Mary would have coordinated as an independent course, and we are incorporating it as an “add on”. My conclusion is that the result of this task illustrates yet again that linear progression in terms of strategic management cannot be expected. Management of people was required to resolve the issue, and from my perspective listening skills...listening to the Principal, the manager and later to team members. Change management is required.

Objective 5 was for Ann to investigate the setting up of a day release course.

Success criteria                                          

Ann liaises with coordinator                   

  • Structure agreed                                         
  • Structure set up                                            
  • Professional development for Ann                 
  • Further delegation experience for me              


  • Course starts                                                 
  • Interdependence of team                               
  • Increased expertise for Ann                           

Conclusions drawn are that as Ann has achieved partial success, she needs to go back to the coordinator to progress matters. I have encouraged her to do this.The potential students are adults, returning to a learning situation, which will benefit them longterm in employment prospects. A constraint. I feel, is that finance may be a problem for the group.I think the course will probably run, and Ann must receive support. I will liaise with her, and listen to her, be careful not to encroach, and allow her space to do things her way By the achievement, or otherwise of our tasks it is very important that the team has not just been moved forward by means of concrete achievements. although those are important, but also that team members have grown within the team and feel further empowered It is harder to tie down qualitative progress but from feedback and discussion with the team, I do feel we have progressed. An effective leader self actualises and enables staff to do the same through satisfying needs. I hope we are on this route.



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