What Is Co-Teaching

  • Co-teaching is when two or more people share the responsibilities of teaching a class. The teachers involved plan together, instruct together and evaluate student growth together. Typically, there is a general education teacher and a special education teacher that work together to meet the needs of all of the students in the class. Communication is key. The teachers should discuss responsibilities, teaching styles, classroom management and goals and expectations. When appropriate, either teacher can pre-teach or re-teach topics  to students who would benefit from extra instruction. The dynamics of each teacher is said to benefit the student population. According to Howard Gardner, students have different intelligences. Some children may learn better when the content is presented musically as opposed to linguistically (spoken and written language).  Teachers also have different teaching styles and preferences. When there are two teachers working together, it is likely that a greater amount of students will be reached because of the different ways the content was presented.

    There are different types of co-teaching:    

    1) One Teach, One Observes - one teacher teaches the whole group while the other teacher makes observations that will later guide future instruction.

    2) One Teach, One Drift - one teacher teaches the whole group while the other teacher quietly drifts around the classroom to work with students that need assistance.

    3) Station Teaching - The students are split up into heterogeneous groups and are directed to work at different stations around the room. One teacher teaches one group a lesson while the other teacher teaches a different group a different lesson. The groups then switch and the teachers repeat their lesson. This is what Mrs. Fazio, Ms. Wittliff, Mrs. Panek and I do during Math and Reading.

    4) Parallel Teaching - teachers work with half the class or small groups at the same time. Teachers need to plan together to make sure the students are learning the same content.

    5) Alternative Teaching - one teacher teaches the content to a large group of students while the other teacher works one-on-one or with a small group of students to pre-teach, re-teach, enrich or assess student learning.

    6) Team Teaching - Both teachers plan and instruct together. Practice of this type of co-teaching generally takes place after 2-3 years of working together. Both teachers need to have a strong knowledge of all curriculum and they must have similar beliefs and ideas about co-teaching and education in general.


    References:  Some information is  taken from the teachings of Sonya Kunkel                                                                                                                                             http://www.specialconnections.ku.edu/cgi-bin/cgiwrap/specconn/main.php?cat=collaboration§ion=main&subsection=coteaching/types