For many years, teaching has been seen as a passive profession. The teacher stands in front of the class and delivers information to students who are expected to regurgitate it back on exams. However, times are changing. Teaching is now being seen as an active profession where collaboration and intentional forward planning around a data informed evidence base places the student at the centre of the teaching and learning process. As schools create optimal learning spaces to engage students, co-teaching is one way that this shift can take place.
Co-teaching is an instructional strategy in which two or more teachers work together to deliver content to a group of students. This can be done in a variety of ways, but the most common model is infusing co-teaching via David Thornburg’s three archetypal learning spaces. There are many benefits to this approach, including increased student engagement and improved achievement.
Benefits of Co-Teaching
One of the key benefits of co-teaching is that it allows for different students to be reached. In a traditional classroom, the teacher is responsible for delivering content to all students. This can be a challenge, especially if there are students with different learning styles or abilities. With co-teaching, each teacher can focus on a different group of students, which can help to meet the needs of all learners.
Another benefit of co-teaching is that it provides an opportunity for teachers to collaborate. This can be a valuable professional development experience, as it allows teachers to share their expertise and learn from each other. Collaboration also helps to build relationships between teachers, which can make it easier to work together on future projects.
One of the challenges of co-teaching is that it can be difficult to find the right balance between the two teachers. It is important to ensure that both teachers are contributing equally and that each teacher has an opportunity to share their expertise. Another challenge is finding time to plan and prepare for co-teaching sessions. This can be a challenge, especially if teachers are already working with a full class load.
Despite the challenges, there are many benefits to co-teaching. When done well, it can help to improve student achievement and engagement. It also provides an opportunity for teachers to collaborate and learn from each other. If you are interested in exploring co-teaching, there are a few resources that can help you get started.
The first step is to find a partner. This can be another teacher at your school or someone you know who is also interested in co-teaching. Once you have found a partner, the next step is to decide what content you will teach together. It is important to choose a topic that you are both comfortable with and that will benefit from the co-teaching approach. Once you have chosen a topic, you will need to plan and prepare for your sessions. This includes creating materials, developing activities, and choosing assessment strategies.
Once you have planned and prepared for your co-teaching sessions, it is time to implement them. This can be done in a variety of ways, but the most important thing is to ensure that both teachers are involved and that each student has an opportunity to learn. After each session, it is important to reflect on what went well and what could be improved. This will help you to improve your co-teaching approach and make the most of this instructional strategy.
Co-Teaching Skill Set
Co-teaching is a valuable instructional strategy that can help to improve student achievement however it needs a specific skill set. The skills needed for co-teaching vary depending on the type of co-teaching arrangement you choose to use. However, there are a few skills that are essential for all types of co-teaching. These include the ability to collaborate, communicate effectively, and plan collaboratively.
Collaboration is essential for co-teaching. This includes the ability to work together to develop plans, create materials, and choose activities. It is also important to be able to communicate effectively with each other. This includes being able to share ideas, give feedback, and resolve conflicts.
Planning is another essential skill for co-teaching. This includes the ability to develop a plan that meets the needs of all learners. It is also important to be able to adapt the plan as needed. This may include making changes to activities, materials, or assessment strategies.
There are a variety of co-teaching arrangements that you can use. The most important thing is to choose an arrangement that will meet the needs of your students. Some common arrangements include:
Station Teaching: In this arrangement, each teacher is responsible for a specific content area or skill. Students rotate through stations, with each station being led by a different teacher.
Parallel Teaching: In this arrangement, both teachers teach the same content to different groups of students. This allows for small group instruction and differentiation.
Team Teaching: In this arrangement, both teachers teach the entire lesson together. This allows for more collaboration between the teachers and allows for more student interaction.
Peer Tutoring: In this arrangement, students work in pairs to help each other learn. This can be done with a specific assignment or task.
There are many benefits to using co-teaching to improve student achievement. However, it is important to keep in mind that this instructional strategy requires specific use of learning spaces.
Futurist, David Thornburg offers three archetypal learning spaces to support co-teaching practices. They are the campfire, the watering hole and the cave. Each of these spaces has its own unique benefits and can be used in different ways to meet the needs of students.
The campfire is a space where students can come together to learn. This space is often used for whole group instruction. The benefit of this space is that it allows for student interaction and collaboration.
The watering hole is a space where students can go to receive individualized instruction. This space is often used for small group instruction or one-on-one instruction. The benefit of this space is that it allows for students to receive the attention they need in order to learn.
The cave is a space where students can go to work independently. This space is often used for independent work or for working on assignments. The benefit of this space is that it allows for students to work at their own pace and to complete work on their own time.
Each of these spaces has its own benefits. It is important to choose the right space for the needs of your students. When you are using co-teaching to improve student achievement, it is important to use all three spaces in order to meet the needs of all learners.
As we move into the future of education, it is important to explore different instructional strategies that can help to improve student learning. Co-teaching is one such strategy that can offer many benefits. If you are a teacher, how have you used co-teaching in your classroom? What tips would you offer to others who are interested in using this instructional strategy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.