Co-Teaching: Educators Collaborating for Learners … Two Brains Are Better Than One

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Once in a while, spending some quality time alone is just plain good for the soul.  Going solo provides an opportunity to be calm and reflect.  It can provide an opportunity to gather one’s wits and plan for what’s next.  During this reflection time, some of us like to make a list.  Some of us like to listen to music.  Some of us like to take a nap and recharge.

While spending time on our own is important, part of our human nature is to be social creatures and be together.  Just as we can alone, we can brainstorm and reflect and prepare for tomorrow together.  As the proverb expresses, “Two heads are better than one” – or something along those lines.  It can be amazing what we can accomplish together with effective collaboration.

With a single head, teaching can be an overwhelming and lonely world if we let it be.  When we join forces with our colleagues, we can move mountains to change the world one mind at a time.  Considering this specifically, co-teaching is a framework that does just that – puts minds together to help other minds.

There are a variety of ways to effectively collaborate with colleagues in co-teaching.  Some of the most identified models of co-teaching include:

  • One Teach, One Assist
  • One Teach, One Observe
  • Station Teaching
  • Parallel Teaching
  • Alternate Teaching
  • Team Teaching
  • Peer Teaching

It is important for co-teachers to find out what works best for their students and their colleague.  Co-teaching is definitely not a one-size-fits-all model, and the models can change to meet the students’ and teachers’ needs.  Check out these videos for more information on co-teaching models:

Martina Wagner with Wagner Educational Consulting points out some benefits and challenges to co-teaching:

Benefits:
-Opportunity to problem solve and collaborate
-Enhanced personal support
-Increased confidence and professional development – two brains are better than one
-Extra support for students
-Absence of stigmatization
-Increased participation rate with lower teacher : student ratio
-Improved classroom management
-More on-task time… for the students and the teachers J
-Additional positive connections with adults

Challenges: Questions to consider…
-Whose students are these?
-Who gives grades? How do we grade?
-Whose classroom management rules do we use?
-What space do I get?
-What do we tell the students? the parents?
-How can we get time to co-plan?

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Although there is tranquility in solitude, consider giving co-teaching a try in efforts to increase interaction and student achievement.  After all – two brains are better than one…  just ask my co-blogger. 😉

Stay Calm & Co-Teach ~
Profs Dr. C. & Dr. V.

2 thoughts on “Co-Teaching: Educators Collaborating for Learners … Two Brains Are Better Than One

  1. When I was part of a Global Cluster team that took students to England and France, I enjoyed team-teaching with some excellent colleagues, Professor Diane Leslie and Dr. Chris French. The first thing I realized as they taught and I observed is how fortunate SMSU was to have such excellent profs. From my experience, I gather that there are many more benefits to be gained by team-teaching or co-teaching. Thanks for the reminder.

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