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Co-teaching challenges and fears: How can we create a support program for teachers who are using the co-teaching model?

How can you take advantage of each instructor's strengths and weaknesses?
What are some limitations to supporting these teachers and how can you overcome them? How can different teaching styles be used in a cohesive way? How can you overcome management issues concerning the development and implementation of lesson plans? What are the consequences if this problem is not addressed?

  • May 13 2014: I'm not an educator and never had experience with any co-teaching while I was in school, but for what its worth I would have to say that a forum for communication with other co-teachers would be the easiest support system to create and would likely be as effective as any other kind of support system.

    Besides communication with other co-teachers I would have to assume that a bigger participation by parents has the biggest potential for helping. I am not a parent and I don't have a facespace account, so as always take what I say with a grain of salt, but I see the potential of social media(that is already such a big part of so many peoples lives) connecting parents to educators and the educational lives of their kids. I'm not terribly aware of our current culture (willfully ignorant), I don't keep up with current events or trends, but I have to assume from what I do see is that being completely involved in your childs school life isn't a current trend. It seems to me that whatever teaching model is used in our schools, at the end of the day it is the parents responsibility that their child learns what they need to survive and thrive.
  • May 9 2014: I think any teacher who likes to try co-teaching idea should be prepare lesson to guide students' learning in groups.That's the point.
    • May 10 2014: Thank you for responding. I agree that station teaching is very effective. However, what if the other teacher in the partnership is not willing to try that arrangement. There are a total of 6 possible situations that teachers may try: one teach, one observe; one teach, one assist; parallel teaching; team teaching; and alternative teaching ( one teacher takes a small group out of the larger group for specialized attention). I have observed teachers with dominant personalities who take control of the arrangement and have a disregard for collaboration and communication with the other teacher. How can teachers be supported in a situation in which they do not agree on the best way to approach co-teaching?
      • May 11 2014: Um...If you just an ordinary teacher,just try to do what you can do,more or less ,it is better than no any teacher like to have a try and keeps doing?

        But I am sure ,more and more teachers being aware of co-teaching value,just never give up to keep the consciousness of co-teaching.
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    May 8 2014: I don't know, Annie. Are you saying there's a problem now? I can only remember being team taught once, and I didn't like it, I didn't feel like we got as dense a delivery of information. But unfortunately I don't remember why. Could it be that when two teachers lecture that they ask the class fewer questions because they each have to take time to say what they want to say? So the class is less engaged?
    • May 8 2014: Thank you for responding, I appreciate it. Yes, I am referring to co-teaching that seems to be more prevalent now and I agree that the delivery of information isn't as effective. What are some of the ways teachers can approach co-teaching to give their students a sufficient education? I have observed teachers who switched midway and taught half of one lesson each daily, some who had one teach while the other was more of an observer, and some where both teachers were talking and teaching continuously throughout the lesson. I have rarely observed the students benefitting from such arrangements. I think it takes time to establish the co-teaching environment in which both teachers and the students will become comfortable with each other; however, if two teachers with different teaching styles and approaches to education need to co-teach, can successful collaboration be achieved? For example, discussing strengths and weaknesses may help foster a healthy teaching relationship.
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        May 9 2014: Is it a case where you want to promote team teaching? Why exactly?
        • May 10 2014: Yes, this is a case in which I want to figure out a plan on how to prepare and support teachers for co-teaching. Some teachers struggle with creating a partnership that complements one another. I am trying to develop some type of program, training, or system to help these teachers be successful in such an arrangement.
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        May 11 2014: may I ask why, Annie, are you some kind of school administrator?
        • May 11 2014: I am a secondary education teacher creating a professional development workshop on co-teaching.
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        May 11 2014: so is it just for people in your school district? I asked my mom, who was a primary school teacher for years. She thought that both teachers would have to agree on the rules for the class, and also, they couldn't have concerns about who got the credit for whatever the kids accomplished. But it's kind of funny, I recall being team taught by two guys who would have seemed to fulfill those two conditions, and yet I didn't like it. It just never seemed like we got a solid lecture, maybe one of them would talk for five minutes here and there but never a nice long dense lecture with lots of information. Although I don't know what the team teaching aspect of it would have had to do with that? But I don't remember it that well, Annie.

        A few days ago I went to a talk at my local junior college led by two instructors and I didn't terribly enjoy the two aspect of it either. Because having two of them meant they spent more time talking and the audience didn't get to talk as much although it was a discussion format where they wanted input from the audience.

        Then again I bought a ticket and went to a live conversation between Chelsea Handler and Gwyneth Paltrow, two famous women. They just sat on stage in two armchairs and talked, and that was quite interesting and enjoyable. I don't know why. Part of it might be that I didn't know much about Chelsea, that in fact was why I bought the ticket, to learn more. But if I had to listen to Chelsea every night it might get old.
        • May 12 2014: You make a valuable and significant point that the two-person model in and of itself has drawbacks no matter how well the teachers work together. I think another insightful point, if I may draw this conclusion, is that if teachers were more entertaining, the two-person classroom could be an enjoyable period that is sustained by interesting conversations representing multiple viewpoints. I appreciate that you took the time to share your personal experiences and seek other inquiry concerning co-teaching. Yes, this is a workshop for teachers in my district only, for now.
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        May 12 2014: I do wonder if the two-teacher model could ever work so well, Annie, because by the time one teacher "got into their groove" of delivering information, they might have to surrender the floor to the other teacher. This could be jarring for the students listening to the presentation, it's like your brain accustoms itself to one teacher's delivery and then suddenly has to switch to another teacher's way. But maybe that's just my brain, maybe other people's brains would enjoy switching back and forth. I wonder if anyone has ever surveyed students exposed to team teaching and asked what they thought of it, in my case it was so long ago that I can't remember it that well.

        One thing that made the Chelsea Handler-Gwyneth Paltrow presentation enjoyable was them sharing some personal stories about themselves. I know my mother said when she was teaching the things that interested the kids the most was when she started talking about her personal life, sharing about her husband and children. Also sometimes the question-answer format is enjoyable. If you had two teachers teaching, it would be interesting if what Teacher A was saying prompted genuine questions in Teacher B, and Teacher B actually asked them. But the teachers would have to be humble enough and clever enough to ask questions of each other.