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Title: Patterns of verbal interaction in an interdisciplinary team in a special education school in Israel : an ethnographic case study
Author: Binyamini, Iris Manor.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3464 5876
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2001
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This study deals with the description and analysis of patterns of verbal interaction in an interdisciplinary team in a special school, the aim being to discover the ongoing processes that occur in the work of the team. The research examines the team members' perceptions of their role and of the pupils and explores key concepts that are specific to the various experts in relating to the pupils and to the roles in an interdisciplinary team. Characteristic patterns of communication in meetings of the Individual Education Plan team and the administrative team are investigated. This research is the first of its kind in investigating interactions in an interdisciplinary team in the Israeli educational system. The research was conducted as a case study in a special school during the years 1997-1998. The research population comprised 65 members of the interdisciplinary team, consisting of educators, doctors and para-medical professionals. The research tools employed Included observations, Interviews and collection of documents. Using the interpretive method, meaningful processes in the everyday life of the team and its functioning vis-a-vis the pupils are revealed and analysed. The work of an interdisciplinary team in the school requires considerable attention in terms of organisation, since the mere fact of bringing diverse professionals to work together does not guarantee effective collaboration, and the question arises as to how the joint work of the experts is performed in practice, and what are its results and meanings for the participants. The aims of the research are to reveal knowledge and arrive at a thorough description of the organisational culture of an interdisciplinary team. The knowledge revealed can serve as the basis for construction of a cognitive framework for the development of an explanatory theory, the construction of practical tools for the work of an interdisciplinary team in the field and the formulation of questions for future research. The main findings are that the members of the interdisciplinary team working from various areas of specialisation, such as education, therapy and medicine, differ in their role perceptions, definitions of situation and perceptions of the pupils. Moreover, the concepts used by the team members indicate the existence in the interdisciplinary team of three worlds of semantic content, between which there is transferability. Collaboration and communication in the interdisciplinary team is complex and takes place on several levels, reflecting the professional knowledge basis of the team members. The collaboration revolves around the special knowledge of the different experts. The research identified various categories of knowledge that serve in the interdisciplinary discourse; for instance, knowledge from personal experience and knowledge based on professional experience. In the interaction verbal two levels operate concurrently: the overt organisational level, and the hidden social level. Work in a special school is rife with potential crisis situations which may lead to feelings of discontent that are liable to overshadow the work of the professionals in the school. The findings in this work demonstrate the complexity of the working relations among various professionals working together as a team. The main conclusions of the research are that work in an interdisciplinary team demands a wide range of skills, broad knowledge and extensive resources. Therefore it is important that the team members receive training for interdisciplinary team work, as well as ongoing in-service training of professionals in the skills of professional teamwork.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Sociology Sociology Human services Management Education