What is Team Teaching in the Co-Teaching Model?
Team teaching is an advanced method of co-teaching that requires both teachers to have compatible personality and teaching styles. It is also important that both teachers feel competent in the subject area.
There are many ways to use team teaching in the classroom. Co-teachers can equally present the content being taught, ask critical thinking questions, play ‘devil’s advocate’ in order to make a point, debate with each other and the students, and take advantage of both teachers’ knowledge of the subject.
It is important, however, that students clearly see no difference in hierarchy between the co-teachers using this approach. Normally, team teaching does not occur unless both teachers are comfortable with each other. Usually they have been together for a while and know the topic equally well.
When Co-Teachers Click
There are exceptions, such as when there are two people that click. This can happen in English or social studies. They’re comfortable with each other. They both read the story, banter off each other, talk about each other, talk about different points, and they share the classroom equally. Sometimes they don’t even have time to plan together, but they can still pull it off. It just depends on the personalities, but usually this situation occurs when teachers are very comfortable with each other and both know the content equally well.
It can be fun when you have reached the level where you can truly team teach. You play off one another, team with one another, and support each other. It can be amazing to watch an expert team managing the behavior and the instruction and the activities all at once. When the two teachers really gel, and they both know the subject well, team teaching is something to behold.
Benefits of Team Teaching
- Creates effective, fun learning
- Teachers can use their knowledge effectively together
- Keeps co-teacher involved in class
- Allows for shared ideas including enrichment and differentiation
- Breaks up the monotony of one person doing all instruction
- Creates many spontaneous teachable moments
Challenges of Team Teaching
- Co-teachers must click, not conflict
- Requires supporting and carrying 100 percent of the load by both teachers
- Both teachers may have to be equally involved in the planning, grading, correcting, and supporting in the classroom
- Unless they are at the stage where they are finishing each other’s sentences, planning may take a long time
For more information on co-teaching and co-teaching models, see Susan Fitzell’s book, Co-teaching and Collaboration in the Classroom. Available in both print and electronic versions!
We also offer a Professional Development Kit for Co-teachers, with a Graduate Credit Option!
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