Collaborative Teaching

Methods and Benefits

Collaborative teaching, also known as co-teaching, is a specific service delivery option available to our special education students. Co-teaching generally occurs between a general educator and a special educator who deliver instruction to a diverse group of students. This delivery method is used to meet the educational needs of all students with diverse learning styles. Cooperative teaching can be implemented in various ways; the method chosen depends on the needs and characteristics of both the teachers and the students.
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One Teach, One Observe

Class is taught as a whole by one teacher, while the other teacher observes. Observer collects data related to academic, behavioral and social aspects of a select group of students, or entire class. Professionals must be sure to rotate roles, so one is not perceived as the “assistant.”

Benefits to students:

  • One teacher can observe to see which students need educational support later
  • No interruption during class time
  • Only one teacher to focus on

Benefits to educators:

  • Almost no collaboration is required when planning
  • Allows the stronger teacher to deliver quality instruction in strong subject area without interruption

One Teach, One Assist

Class is taught by one teacher, while other supports students. Support given may include keeping students focused, pointing things out as the teacher lectures, answering questions, assuring that homework was properly written down, or providing visuals for what is being taught. Again, care must be taken to rotate roles so one is not perceived as an “assistant."

Benefits to students:

  • Students receive individual help during a lesson as needed
  • No interruption during class time
  • Easier to keep students on task

Benefits to educators:

  • Allows teacher who is strong in a subject to deliver instruction without interruption
  • Supporting educator can address behavior not seen by the teacher directing the lesson
  • Saves time when distributing materials
  • Supporting teacher can observe the other teacher model good teaching practices

Team Teaching

Both teachers plan and deliver the same instruction at the same time, each with equal responsibility for the material in the lesson. This method is also called tag team teaching. This method that is most dependent on teaching styles, mutual respect, flexibility, creativity, administrative support, and adequate planning time. It is considered the most complex, but satisfying way to co-teach.

Benefits to students:

  • Students view both teachers as equals

  • Models an excellent working relationship between adults

  • Promotes respect for both teachers

  • Students receive perspectives of both teachers on a topic

Benefits to educators:

  • Allows both teachers to provide perspective on a topic and allows teaching of two strategies or ideas simultaneously
  • Each teacher has an active role
  • Both teachers are actively involved in classroom organization and management
  • Teachers may try things in pairs that they would not try alone

The Benefits of Collaborative Teaching

Benefits for Students

  • Students with disabilities still receive specialized instruction, but in the general education setting
  • Students have the opportunity to be taught in an intense, individualized manner, lower teacher-student ratios
  • Greater instructional intensity/differentiated instruction through small groups
  • Two teachers with different tones, teaching styles, experience, and expertise
  • Reduced stigma associated with pull-out programs
  • Students may feel more connected with their peer group

Benefits for Teachers

  • "Inclusive, community feel" to classroom
  • Student improvement fosters higher levels of professional satisfaction
  • More opportunities for professional growth/sharing unique knowledge bases and professional skills
  • More personal conversation and moral support from colleagues in the classroom
  • Increased opportunities for collaboration
  • Colleagues more interested in teamwork