Teachers: Working together as a team or franchise? | Steve Barkley

Teaming or Franchising

In my experiences I have found that many of the groups of teachers who are called a team at school are actual functioning more as franchise owners attending a franchise meeting. (Here’s a business definition for franchise.)

“Arrangement where one party (the franchiser) grants another party (the franchisee) the right to use its trademark or trade-name as well as certain business systems and processes, to produce and market a good or service according to certain specifications.”

So, the teacher holds a franchise on second grade, freshman English, Biology, or music. They attend meetings at times with folks holding a similar franchise: same grade level or content/subject department. Sometimes they meet with competing franchise holders: music, art, and technology electives. Certain rights and responsibilities are given to each teacher (franchise holder). (Here is the business definition for a team.)

“A group of people with a full set of complementary skills required to complete a task, job, or project. Team members (1) operate with a high degree of interdependence, (2) share authority and responsibility for self-management, (3) are accountable for the collective performance, and (4) work toward a common goal and shared reward(s)”.

True teaming in schools emerges as teachers accept shared responsibility for all student learning outcomes.

I have produced a ten-minute video that describes moving teachers across a continuum from working as individuals to franchise partners to team members. Hope you find it helpful for your own insights and perhaps as a tool for engaging staff in a self- assessment of the current culture. I’d he happy to respond to questions that arise.


Here are some reference points that might be useful if you wish to return to access specific elements:
1:52 Defining individual
3:11 Defining franchise
4:59 Defining team
6:40 The role of common goals, trust, vulnerability, and action
9:30 Students best served by teams

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