Collaborative Expertise Teams–CETeams™

CETeams-focused Four Step Protocol:

  1. Chart and Examine Student Learning Evidence
  2. Formulate Quality Inferences Into Student Learning and Understanding
  3. Determine Specific Adult Actions and Strategies
  4. Establish Success Indicators

Bring this two day interactive and empowering professional learning seminar to your school or district to empower both teacher and school leadership teams in determining actions to best impact learning through focused and disciplined collaboration.

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 WHY Collaborative Expertise Teams?

When schools have effective and impactful professional learning communities systemically in place, they have the capacity to promote and sustain the learning of all professionals in the school community, and thus dramatically impact student learning. When teachers collaboratively make specific and decisive adjustments in their practice, focused solely on best impacting student learning, tremendous gains in achievement can be accomplished. It is however critical that the collective purpose of ‘enhancing pupil learning’ is the foremost concern of any PLC to be effective. (Bolam et al., 2005, p. 145).

Beliefs: Professor John Hattie notes in Visible Learning, ‘…powerful impacts in our schools relates to how we think…and underpin our every action and decision’ (2012, p. 159). When teams of teachers (PLCs), by their actions, efforts, adjustments in teaching approaches, exemplify the critical mind frames of Visible Learning, they will increase their opportunity to best impact student learning. Hattie goes on to mention that teachers have ‘theories of practice,’ for how to accomplish all they have to within an established set of resources such as the available time they have. Also that, over time, as experience in teaching increases, these ‘theories of practice’ become more persuasive to teachers personally as being the best and right way to do things in schools.

Efficacy: This critical point that John Hattie addresses must be strongly considered when teachers or school leaders come together as a team (PLC). Efficacy is the true belief that our through effort, diligence, and monitoring of effective practice, our actions, approaches, and strategies as educators will have the greatest possible impact on student achievement. His recent research suggests that collective teacher efficacy has shown to have a greater impact on student learning that almost all other influences. Teams must create collective ownership of student learning, through collaborative processes that help them determine the best teaching approaches to be carried out to impact student learning.

Collaborative Impact Through Expertise:

We must ensure teachers develop collaborative expertise in Diagnosis, Interventions and Evaluation


Hattie notes in his extensive Visible Learning research that the average effect size of a year’s progress is d= .40.

The following high yield influences are some of Hattie’s Visible Learningresearch that are most significant when looking at the potential impact a collective team of teachers can have on student learning and achievement:

  • Working together to evaluate their impact (d=.93)
  • Moving from what students know now towards explicit success criteria (d=.77)
  • Building trust and welcoming errors as opportunities to learn (d=.72)
  • Getting maximum feedback from others about their effect (d=.72)
  • Getting the proportions of surface to deep learning correct (d=.71)
  • Using the Goldilocks principles of challenge (the challenges must be not too big, 
not too small but just right)
 (d = .74)
  • Using deliberate practice to attain these challenges (d=.60)

To get these effects requires listening to the learning happening in the classroom. It requires less talk by teachers and more listening to student dialogue; it requires more evaluation of surface and deep understanding and knowing when to move from one to the other; and it requires teaching that builds on a deep understanding of what students already know. 
The underlying philosophy for such teachers can be summed up by the phrase ‘Teachers are to DIE for!’ that is, teachers need to be expert at ‘Diagnosis’, ‘Interventions’ and ‘Evaluation’.

To be expert at diagnosisrequires understanding what each student brings to the lesson, their motivations and their willingness to engage.

To be expert at interventionsrequires having multiple interventions so that if one does not work with the student, the teacher changes to another. It also involves knowing the interventions that have a high probability of success, knowing when to switch from one to another and not using ‘blame’ language to explain why a student is not learning.

To be expert at evaluationrequires knowing the skills of evaluating, having multiple methods and working collaboratively and debating with colleagues to agree on the magnitude of the effect needed for an intervention to be successful. 
If students are not learning, then it is because we are not using the right teaching strategies; and we have to make the changes to these strategies.

Such a philosophy places a number of demands on our teachers, namely that they have a high level of cognitive decision-making skills; that they are able and willing to say ‘I was wrong in my choice of method of intervention and need to change what I do or to say’ or ‘I was right in my choice of interventions as they led to me successfully teaching these students’; and that they engage with others in collaborative inquiry about their diagnoses, interventions and evaluations – based on the evidence of their impact.

Adapted from: What Works Best in Education: The Politics of Collaborative Expertise. John Hattie, June 2015, Pearson, London 


Five Core Attributes of Collaborative Expertise Teams?CETeams™

The following are attributes and consistent practices that take place in collaborative (PLC) settings that are having the greatest impact on student learning and thus become Collaborative Expertise Team?

  1. They Create Common Challenges CETeams™
    that create common challenges increase their potential impact by establishing a clear focus for their collective efforts. Commonalities alone, such as shared teaching objectives / curriculum can lead often lead collaborative teams to become autonomous where status reporting can become the norm. Common challenges lead to more true instructional dialogue for which approaches are best. Shared challenges produce passion and innovation where teams have a greater focus on learning; of their students as well as themselves.
  2. They have high Levels of Relational Trust: Building and cultivating positive relationships is essential to successful growth and development of CETeams. Relational trust directly influences any learning team’s ability to significantly impact student learning. Relational trust is built through four core elements: integrity, respect, competence, and personal regard for others. These all must be developed over time.
  3. They develop efficacy through empowerment: The most effective CETeams have true ownership of the learning of all of the students their team shares. They then engage in diligent and effective collaborative actions focused on the growth of each student. CETeams efficacy is greatly increased when teachers are allowed an appropriate degree of structured freedom to innovate and search for the best approaches to meet student-learning needs. When CETeams are overly concerned with rigid processes and protocols, they tend to focus less on the substance of their collaborative discussions and become too wrapped up in completing PLC tasks. This significantly diminishes their ability to search for the best possible solutions, promotes more autonomy, and leads to less innovation. Team accountability is derived from positive interdependence and never allows CETeam members to be autonomous from each other.
  4. They use authentic instructional protocols for dialogue: One of the most important CETeam actions that will lead to greater impact on student achievement is consistently following effective collaborative structures and protocols. Teams that utilize focused routines for reflective dialogue discover and implement strategies and ideas gained from each other. This leads to more deprivatization of practice. Far too often in collaborative settings, the opposite of talking is not listening…it is simply waiting to talk. Authentic protocols for structuring dialogue help teachers become better listeners. Thus, they become more effective and efficient at questioning each other regarding inferences made from evidence related to student learning. A protocol such as: We will consistently ask for clarification regarding evidence of student learning, trumps by a country mile the norm we will respect the speaker. Authentic collaboration through dialogue specific to instructional issues is a true form of job embedded professional development.
  5. They focus on everyone’s learning (especially theirs): The L in PLC  which is the underlying concept of a CETeam  stands for learning; specifically, the knowledge gained and applied by teachers to improve their skills and crafts. Far too often, this has been misunderstood as PLC became a catch-all term for whenever teachers sat together during a planning period. Rick DuFour (2004) cautioned a decade ago that, “the term has been used so ubiquitously that it is in danger of losing all meaning.” When teachers in IPLT settings focus their actions and dialogue around being true evaluators of how their actions are impacting student learning, they in turn make critical learning connections themselves.

Collective Teacher Efficacy and CETeams

John Hattie has noted that the number one influence on student achievement and learning is collective teacher efficacy (d=1.57). This translates to approximately four-years growth in one year’s time. It is critical to note that collective teacher efficacy doesn’t just happen because we say the words, place our teachers in collaborative teams, provide them common planning time, and a room to meet in. Collective Teacher Efficacy is developed first through teachers having a strong sense of their own individual efficacy: Belief of one’s own ability to promote positive change for students. Collective teacher efficacy is defined as: The beliefs of teacher group about their collective ability to promote successful student outcomes within their school.

Developing Collective Teacher Efficacy in Your School / District through Collaborative Expertise Teams:

There are three critical actions / conditions that promote collective teacher efficacy:

  1. Teachers applying New Knowledge through Mastery Learning Experiences:Through the CETeam process, teachers engage in specific actions to practice and develop mastery around specific strategies and practices they will implement in their classrooms. It is critical for teachers to have the ability, opportunity, but also the expectation that they learn new strategies at a deep level. This is essential for them to make honest assumptions about their level of expertise and when necessary seek guidance and support from peers as well as school level leaders. At the same time it is essential for teachers to develop mastery skill sets around instructional practices so that they are able to make appropriate adaptations of instructional actions into their classroom practice.
  2. A Culture of Positive Interdependence and Relational Trust:Teacher-teams as well as school-level leadership teams must develop a sense of ownership and accountability that is safe but yet businesslike. Collective ownership and responsibility is developed through the CETeam process by supporting teams in their development of agreed upon norms and protocols that go way past posted mantras such as ‘everyone being on time, prepared, and respectful at team meetings.’ The CETeam process structure helps teams develop authentic instructional protocols to promote a culture built upon a foundation of relational trust through engaging the critical work of promoting student and adult learning at the highest levels.
  3. Teachers Engaging in Fine-Grained Discourse Around Student Learning:Finally, it is essential that collaborative teams look deeply at student products and performance levels that focus on critical learning elements. Examining student work samples as well as assessments and tasks prior to their use and administration with students for alignment is critical to ensure that the inferences made that will drive instructional actions are solid and empowering. When teams engage in step 4 of the CETeam protocol (establishing success indicators), they develop specific look for’s into student performance and behavior should the strategies be effective. This drives the teams into discussions around how they will know if the strategies will be effective and thus ensure alignment to their desired outcome — before they administer them to students.

Finally, ensuring teams have a common focus / challenge unites their efforts and passions and is essential to promoting discourse focused on actions that will best promote student learning. Teams are guided and taught to align their collaborative efforts to school improvement areas and foci to promote CTE through positive interdependence.

CETeam(TM) Internal Certification: Building Internal Capacity and Sustainability

Schools and districts hoping to build internal capacity and ensure deep implementation of CETeams can invest in having teachers and school level leaders become certified as Impact Professional Learning Teams facilitators. CETeam certification focuses on deep experiential learning aimed specifically at supporting clients in deep implementation on the structure and concepts of the CETeam process to build capacity and sustainability with partner clients while supporting their ability to make necessary adaptations specific to their school or district needs. This two + one day professional learning experience permits participants to deepen their understanding of the content and develop mastery, therefore building deeper levels of collective teacher efficacy experienced Collaborative Expertise Team facilitators.

Any teacher or school leader that has successful attended the prerequisite two-day Collaborative Expertise Teams–CETeams™ seminar they are eligible for certification.

Resources Provided Include

  • Professional learning guides and handouts
  • Electronic versions of all presentation materials and supporting documents
  • Continued monthly support via conf. calls or webinars for 6 months
  • Optional follow-up on-site coaching sessions (after 30-60-90 days after certification-additional fee required)

All CETeams seminars and certifications sessions are lead by internationally recognized professional developer Dave Nagel, (Author/Consultant-Corwin Professional Learning, founder of NZJ Learning). Participants will be engaged in authentic, performance based learning experiences designed to to deepen their understanding and ability to master the CETeams content and hone their facilitation skills. Participants receive consistent feedback on their content delivery as well as multitude of implementation strategies designed to be adaptable for all grade levels and subject matter disciplines.