To some, pairing two teachers up in the same classroom to share responsibilities and lesson plans may sound complicated and confusing for students, but in some schools around the world, this co-teaching model is embraced with open arms.
Creating more opportunities for one-to-one interaction between students and teachers, this type of teaching model may lead to stronger relationships in the classroom and an equal platform for academic attention.
What are the different styles of the co-teaching model?
According to Sean Cassel, Assistant Principal of Special Education, Business and Technology, there are six different models of co-teaching, and six pros and cons for each.
From Team Teaching to Alternative Teaching; Parallel teaching to Station Teaching; and finally One Teaching (One Observing and One Teaching (One Assisting), the style can be split in a range of different formats.
For example, Alternative Teaching involves one teacher leading the majority of students, and the other teacher teaching a small group based on need, this style can be useful as it involves less interruption and requires less collaboration time.
However, Cassel believes that a huge drawback of this style is the loss of one instructor as the larger group of students may distract the smaller group with the main lesson task.
And by integrating Team Teaching, both teachers are directly instructing students at the same time, which is sometimes called ‘tag-team teaching’.
Yet for Cassel, the shared spotlight often requires a healthy professional partnership and immense planning in order to work.
Morning Meeting in 4th-grade math. Great strategies were used to integrate SEL in math. Me. Lopez and Ms. Oscar did a great job co-teaching morning meeting today! pic.twitter.com/OOxaT5MAmC
— Crosspointe Counseling/ Mental Health (@CrosspointeCou1) October 29, 2019
What are the overall advantages of the co-teaching model?
For some schools, the co-teaching model has a stronger effect on students’ motivation to learn.
Infusing the talents and strengths of two different teachers, school students are supplied with ample opportunities to refine their talents in a wide array of subjects.
Where one teacher’s subject knowledge lacks, another teacher’s subject knowledge may shine.
Two teachers in the classroom also equal two sets of eyes.
By having dual responsibility over the classroom, two educators have the chance to identify those in need or those that need extra attention during class.
For the school, a co-teaching model can help to save costs in the long run. While it may be pricey to keep two teachers on board throughout the academic year, the school may save money from substitute teaching services and teaching assistant salaries.
A co-teaching style also enables constructive feedback during parents’ evenings. By having two different perspectives on one student’s progression, parents get to view their child’s development with open minds.
Thank Dr. Fields for training us on great co-teaching models. We were glad you were here! 📚 pic.twitter.com/hZdCZHZ1kz
— James P. Butler Elementary (@jpb_coyotes_BES) November 5, 2019
Overall, co-teaching might not be everyone’s go-to method, and it also faces its fair share of difficulties.
For instance, disagreements and clashes in the classroom between teachers when they try to adapt to opposing teaching styles and lesson plans, or the time it would take for two teachers to sit down and schedule certain subjects and activities in the school week, compared to one teacher’s solo-planning.
With mixed feedback and opinions, co-teaching may not be a method for everyone, but for some schools, two teachers are better than one.