Co-teaching can be either a good experience or bad. It depends upon the individuals and if they can collaborate and work well together. During co-teaching two or more teachers are present in the classroom during instructional time and they work together to design the best possible educational program for all of their students including those with special needs. (Below are some notes from a class I took at Notre Dame that I thought I would share.)
There are several different ways co-teaching can be carried out. In interactive teaching (or team teaching), teachers take turns presenting and leading classroom activities and share responsibilities equally. In other cases, one teacher assumes more responsibility for delivering instruction and the other teacher assists individual students (one teach, one drift), or observes individual students to improve instructional decision making (one teacher, one observe). In station teaching, smaller groups of students move through several independent workstations for new information, review, or practice, while the teachers monitor different stations. In parallel teaching, the class is divided into skill or ability groups, and each teacher leads one group. In alternative teaching, one teacher leads the larger group, while the other teacher provides additional practice or strategies to students who may require additional support. Also the roles of the two teachers can deviate from the above, whichever works best between the teachers that allows all students to learn to their fullest potential.
It is very important to have sufficient planning time for the teachers to work cooperatively to develop lessons to co-teach. Consider using the following guidelines when establishing co-teaching:
• Decide goals and objects for co-teaching. • Determine teacher attitudes toward co-teaching. • Determine how instructional responsibilities will be shared during co-teaching, what teaching models will be implemented, how the equality of co-teaching roles will be established, what instructional adaptations will be made for students with special needs, and how the effectiveness of co-teaching arrangements will be evaluated.
Co-Teaching Teachers Should:
• Capitalize on each other’s strengths. • Complement each other’s teaching styles. • Negotiate all practice. • Respect what each “brings to the table”. • Exhibit comfort and trust with each other’s teaching style. • Make their personalities and teaching styles complement one another and work to establish good rapport. • Co-plan all aspects of the classroom which includes responsibilities, instruction, class rules, expectations of students, etc.
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