In any general class, there are students of different ability levels and, correspondingly, grade levels. Direct teaching the entire class together can sometimes leave higher-grade, higher-ability students bored and perhaps acting out, while lower-ability students may struggle to understand the lesson. We need teaching strategies that reach all the learners in the classroom.
Where can the co-teaching model “teach half then switch” really help co-teachers shine? In helping teachers with additional skills and knowledge use those skills to enhance the lesson and reach students who may be struggling with the material.
A ratio of 30:2 is a better scenario than a ratio of 30:1, with co-teachers working together. Indeed, the study noted that “Most partner classes used tag-team teaching, with one teacher leading and the other doing clerical work.” That type of co-teaching, of course, falls under the “One teach, one observe” co-teaching model that co-teachers often rely upon.
I walked into an eighth-grade language arts classroom to find two co-teachers and 28 students absolutely focused on the lesson. The desks and chairs had been arranged into two sections, creating a makeshift conference table. On the other side of the room, the same arrangement was repeated, implementing a dynamic and effective co-teaching model.
Giving students a choice of whether to take a written test or have it read out to them may improve their performance, make them feel more included in the class, and even empower them. This teaching strategy is especially effective with students on an IEP, who can sometimes feel they’re not fully part of an integrated classroom.