One of the key elements of my new book, “Best Practices for Co-Teaching & Collaboration” is a huge range of co-teaching models that can be applied to a number of classroom situations.
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.