What is co-teaching?

Co-teaching is defined as two teachers working together with groups of students and sharing the planning, organization, delivery and assessment of instruction as well as the physical space. Co-teaching is an attitude of collaboration and communication aimed at enhancing student learning. The key to co-teaching is that both teachers are actively involved and engaged in all aspects of instruction.

Co-Teaching is different.

It is not :

·       Simply dividing tasks and responsibilities among two people

·       One person teaching one subject/topic and followed by another teaching the next subject/topic

·       One person teaching while the other prepares materials or grades

It is:

·       Collaboration on planning and instruction

·       Using a range of strategies to capitalize on two teachers in the classroom

·       Developing and modeling highly effective collaboration and communication skills

·      An attitude of sharing the classroom and students

Co-Teachers must always be thinking

We're Both Teaching!

What are the co-teaching strategies?

A variety of strategies can be used when Co-Teaching.  There is no order for implementing these strategies – pairs are asked to determine where, within the curriculum or daily schedule, strategies would best fit.  Strategies can be used individually or in combination.

Once both the cooperating teacher and teacher candidate have an understanding of the benefits of each strategy we encourage them to combine them as they see fit.

Eight Co-Teaching Strategies

One Teach, One Observe – one teacher has primary instructional responsibility while the other gathers specific observational information on students or the (instructing) teacher.  The key to this strategy is to focus on the observation – where and how the teacher is doing the instruction and observing specific behaviors.  It is important to remember that either the teacher candidate or the cooperating teacher could take on both roles (Bacharach & Heck, 2009).

One Teach, One Assist is an extension of one teach, one observe. One teacher has primary instructional responsibility while the other assists students with their work, monitors behaviors, or corrects assignments, often lending a voice to students or groups who would hesitate to participate or add comments.

Station Teaching occurs when the Co-Teaching pair divides  the instructional content into parts –Each teacher instructs one of the groups, groups then rotate or spend a designated amount of time at each station – often independent stations will be used along with the teacher led stations.

In the Parallel Teaching approach, each teacher instructs half the students.  The two teachers are addressing the same instructional material and presenting the material using the same teaching strategies.  The greatest benefit to this method is the reduction of the student to teacher ratio.

The Supplemental Teaching strategy allows one teacher to work with students at their expected grade level, while the other teacher works with those students who need the information and/or materials re-taught, extended, or remediated.

Alternative or Differentiated Teaching strategies provide two different approaches to teaching the same information.  The learning outcome is the same for all students however the avenue for getting there is different.

Team Teaching incorporates well planned, team taught lessons, exhibiting an invisible flow of instruction with no prescribed division of authority. Using a team teaching strategy, both teachers are actively involved in the lesson. From a students’ perspective, there is no clearly defined leader – as both teachers share the instruction, are free to interject information, and available to assist students and answer questions.

Solo Teaching is when the teacher candidate is the lead planner and teacher for the lesson. The lesson is specifically designed for only one teacher.

Co-Teaching strategies have been used successfully at all grade levels and in every content area, from pre-school to high school, teacher candidates and their cooperating teachers have effectively incorporated co-teaching into the classroom.

A project created with a grant from the Professional Educator Standards Board of Washington