Last week, I started sharing about my experience as an ICT teacher. Missy, my co-teacher, and I worked really well together and developed a partnership that benefited both of us, but that didn’t happen overnight. Once Missy and I set up our classroom and planned for the beginning of the year, we had to figure out exactly what co-teaching meant and how to do it. We did our homework and found that there are several models of co-teaching that we could use, and over our four years of teaching together we used all of them at one point or another. Here I’ll outline three of six models for co-teaching and some suggestions on how and when to use them.
What is it?: Teachers divide content and students. Each teacher teaches a set content (Teacher A: equivalent fractions; Teacher B: Adding fractions). Teachers teach the content to one group and subsequently repeat the instruction for the other group. If appropriate, a third “station” could give students an opportunity to work independently.
When to use:
- When content is complex but not hierarchical
- In lessons in which part of planned instruction is REVIEW (*This is when Missy and I used this the most)
- When several topics comprise instruction- Ex. A math lesson is addressing adding fractions with properties of addition. One station can teach adding fractions in relation to the associative property and the other station can relate adding fractions to the commutative property.
- When a smaller teacher-student ratio is needed
Things to remember:
- When determining the stations, keep in mind that the time required for each station should be equal.
- Station content should not be sequential; meaning, it shouldn’t matter if students start at station A or station B as long as they have an opportunity to work at each station for an equal amount of time.
- Students do not have to do the same activity as the previous group when they arrive at a station. Think about the level of student learning when grouping students for stations. If one group works on identifying equivalent fractions, the following might work on generating equivalent fractions.
What is it?: In team teaching, both teachers are delivering the same instruction at the same time. This implies that each speaks freely during large-group instruction and moves among all the students in the class. Instruction becomes a conversation, not turn-taking.
When to use:
- When two heads are better then one or experience is comparable or complementary
- During a lesson in which instructional conversation is appropriate.
- When a goal of instruction is to demonstrate some type of interaction to students (modeling team talk, or partnership work)
One Teach, One Observe
What is it?: This model is pretty self explanatory. In this model, one teacher leads whole class instruction while the other teacher observes and collects data.
When to use:
- Sparingly and specifically. When this model is used, be clear as to what data needs to be collected like:
- Monitoring targeted behavior for a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP)
- Monitoring student participation
- Observing how students are approaching and/or solving a task
Things to Remember:
- This model is for the purpose of collecting data which means that after this model is used co-teachers should set aside time soon after (that day or the next day) to review and discuss the data collected and its implications. Without this step, the data, and therefore the model, loses value.
- Teachers should alternate roles. The same teacher should not observe every time this model is used.
Next time, I’ll continue summarizing the remaining ICT models. If you haven’t tried some of the models I wrote about today, the end of the school year is a great time to try one or two out. Have you used any of the above models? Share your insights into how they work in your classroom in the comments!