Co-Teaching Instructional Methods
MUE 555: Collaborating with Families and Schools
Instructional methods are defined as how instruction occurs. Instruction can occur through “lecture, class discussion, small group discussion, simulation, experiences, or individual projects” (CSN, n.d.). Different instructional methods may be used throughout one lesson. Determining instructional methods for lessons depends on many things including
“the age and developmental level of the students, what the students already know, and what they need to know to succeed with the lesson, the subject-matter content, the objective of the lesson, the available people, time, space and material resources, and the physical setting” (Appalachian State University, n.d.).
For example, in one lesson, there could be a short teacher led lecture, a simulation, and small group discussions that break down what students learned from that stimulation. Including multiple instructional methods into one lesson help create engaging lessons.
Lessons that are co-taught include multiple instructional methods. Co-taught lessons may include an overarching lesson taught by one or both of the teachers, small group activities, jigsaws, and many more instructional methods. Almost any instructional method we have learned about can be implemented into a co-taught classroom!
Instructional methods can be categorized into two major categories. Teacher-led instructional methods and student-centered instructional methods.
What is the difference between co-teaching models and instructional strategies/methods for co-teaching?
What are the best co-teaching instructional methods for different models of co-teaching?
What are the advantages and disadvantages to different instructional methods/teaching strategies within a variety of co-teaching models?
How can you evaluate the impact of instructional methods on co-teaching and inclusive education?
How are co-teaching instructional methods different from team teaching instructional methods?
Co-Teaching Models vs. Co-Teaching Instructional Strategies
Co-teaching models include:
One teach, one observe
- One teach, one assist model
Co-teaching Methods do not differ from other education methods we have learned about in our coursework. Co-teachers can use a variety of educational methods in the various models of co-teaching.
Please Note: The terms methods, strategies, and models are used interchangeably in literature and online. For our purpose models are how the classroom would look and strategies or methods are how the content is being delivered.
Co-Teaching Instructional Methods vs. Team Teaching Instructional Methods
It is unlikely there would be a difference in instructional methods between co-teaching and team teaching (Dr. Julie Steuber, personal communication, November 16, 2015). The main difference between co-teaching and team teaching is that co-teaching includes a general education teacher and a special education teacher while team teaching involves two general education teachers (Dr. Julie Steuber, personal communication, November 16, 2015). Both take place in one classroom. In both cases, all students in the classroom are both teachers’ responsibilities.
Teacher-led Methods vs. Student-centered Methods
Educational methods fall under two categories: teacher led and student centered. In other co-teaching settings teacher led methods may be better and in other co-teaching settings student centered methods would be better.
Teacher-led Method Examples:
Gradual release of responsibility
Student-led Method Examples:
- Peer tutoring
Advantages and Disadvantages to Different Instructional Methods
Small groups: Co-teaching allows for smaller instructional groups. Students benefit from more one-to-one learning (Kaplan, 2012).
Modeling: Due to the small groups that are able to form during co-teaching, there are more opportunities for modeling. As a part of co-teaching, there is “stronger modeling during lessons” (Kaplan, 2012).
Graphic Organizers: Using graphic organizers during co-teaching can “provide an outline for note taking or to emphasize relationships” (Conderman and Heiden, 2013, p.158).
Test taking Skills: Co-teaching involves both a special education teacher and a general education teacher in one classroom. One advantage to having both teachers in the classroom is that each teacher can share their expertise. Special educators may be able to share some test taking skills with all students. “Special educators can also offer test-taking skills, study skills, and content area reading strategies to some or all students in the co-taught classroom” (Conderman and Heiden, 2013, p.159).
Peer-tutoring: Although peer tutoring is a valuable instructional method, there is no benefit to co-teaching and using peer tutoring. Studies by Mcduffie, Mastropieri, and Scruggs show that, “ There [is] no interaction between co-teaching and peer tutoring, suggesting that there [is] no value added when peer tutoring was implemented in co-taught settings” (Mcduffie, Mastropieri, and Scruggs, 2009, p. 506).
There are also disadvantages to small groups, mini workshop model and learning centers as instructional methods. It may get too loud for students that have sensory needs. Students may become overwhelmed by the amount of noise in the room if there are many lessons going on at the same time. Students may also have problems focusing.
Teacher led lecture: A co-teaching model that has one teacher lecturing and then the next teacher lecturing back to back. According to an interview with a veteran team teacher, Julie Steuber, each teacher lecturing back to back as a method of team teaching is unsuccessful (Dr. Julie Steuber, personal communication, November 16, 2015).
Evaluating the Impact of Instructional Methods on Co-Teaching and Inclusive Education
In an interview with Dr. Julie Steuber, a veteran team teacher, she mentioned that she uses mid-term and end-of-course formative assessments as a check in (personal communication, November 16, 2015). She also uses instructor evaluations (personal communication, November 16, 2015). These can be online or in person, and the person can be anonymous or put their name down (Dr. Julie Steuber, personal communication, November 16, 2015). Dr. Steuber mentions that she likes to ask students to evaluate her teaching methods and recommends asking the students the following questions:
- Ask about attitudes of the class
- Ask if there are any questions
- Ask how I (as the teacher) can better support you (the student)
- Ask the student how you are doing as a teacher
- Ask the student what they would like to talk about when you meet
(personal communication, November 16, 2015).
Another way to evaluate the impact of instruction is through assessment. Dr. Patricia Becker used pre-, mid-, and post- assessments as an informal students understood the material and if the instructional strategies needed to be adjusted (personal communication, November 19, 2015). These were not criterion referenced. When Dr. Becker co-taught for Early Childhood, she used anecdotal logs, and carried a clip board around at all times (personal communication, November, 19, 2015). After both her and her co-teacher would meet to discuss what they had written down (personal communication, November 19, 2015). This was one way to evaluate instructional methods. Another way that Dr. Becker evaluated her instructional methods at the Middle school level was to use self-assessment, similar to Dr. Steuber (Dr. Patricia Becker, personal communication, November 19, 2015). For the self-assessment, she would use 'least to most' prompt (personal communication, November 19, 2015). She would also use observations for behavior problems (personal communication, November 19, 2015). These gave her information on not only how students were improving but if the instructional methods used were effective. She would use class assessments, tests, homework, and final grades as well to evaluate her instructional methods (Dr. Patricia Becker, personal communication, November 19, 2015). Lastly she would use the feedback from the co-teacher to evaluate her instructional methods (personal communication, November 19, 2015).
Co-Teaching Models and their Corresponding Instructional Stratagies
Parallel Teaching Model
Alternative Teaching Model
Some instructional methods that work well in the alternative teaching model are: conferencing, small groups, and peer tutoring. For these instructional methods, students may benefit from working in a small group with a teacher. Modeling and graphic organizers are also successful in this co-teaching model. Students are able to receive some instruction that is geared more towards their needs if they are in the small group. Graphic organizers may also be filled out in the big group. Peer tutoring may be used in the small group with supervision from the teacher. Lastly, gradual release of responsibility may also be used as a part of the large group or the small group.
One Teach, One Observe Model
Station Teaching Model
One Teach, One Assist Model
The link provided has multiple lesson examples for co-taught classrooms. This example will provide you with different strategies each teacher is implementing for the example lesson with the corresponding co-teaching model.
2 Teach LLC. (2007). Co-teaching lessons database. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www.2teachllc.com/e_language.html
Appalachian State University. (n.d.). Instructional methods. Retrieved November 17, 2015, from http://www1.appstate.edu/~wertsmg/teachmeth.htm
Brown University. (n.d.). Student-centered instruction. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://www.brown.edu/academics/education-alliance/teaching-diverse-learners/student-centered-instruction
Conderman, G., & Hedin, L. (2013). Co-Teaching With Strategy Instruction. Intervention in School and Clinic, 49(3), 156-163.
CSN (Ed.). (n.d.). Different instructional methods. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from https://www.csn.edu/pages/2359.asp
Friend, M. P., & Cook, L. (2013). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals (7th ed.). Boston: Pearson.
Kaplan, M. (2012, May 10). Collaborative Team Teaching: Challenges and Rewards. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/collaborative-team-teaching-challenges-rewards-marisa-kaplan
Mcduffie, K., Mastropieri, M., & Scruggs, T. (2009). Differential Effects of Peer Tutoring in Co-Taught and Non-Co-Taught Classes: Results for Content Learning and Student-Teacher Interactions. Exceptional Children, 75(4), 493-510.
MERLOT PEDAGOGY. (n.d.). Teaching strategies. Retrieved November 16, 2015, from http://pedagogy.merlot.org/TeachingStrategies.html