Collaborative Teaching Methods

Learning Team A

What is the purpose of this workshop?

The Purpose of this workshop is to create a understanding and knowledge base of collaborative teaching methods by focusing on the following:

  • Increase knowledge of collaborative teaching models
  • How the models are beneficial to both students and teachers
  • You will be able to recognize teaching methods and the benefits of each.

The Seven Co-Teaching Models

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Method 1: Cooperative teaching

1. The provision of specially designed instruction and academic instruction provided to a group of students with disabilities and nondisabled students (District Developed Service Delivery Plan, 2012).

2. The teachers partner up to meet the content and skills of the students in the general education classroom (District Developed Service Delivery Plan, 2012).

3. There are many forms of co-teaching and the specific strategy used depends on specific circumstances.

Method 2: One Teach, One Observe

1. Definition: One teacher presents instruction while the other collects data on target behaviors or a specific student (Gargiulo, 2012). This method of co-teaching is useful when in a new co-teaching situation, when questions arise about students, and when there is a need to measure student progress (Cook, 2004).

2. A kindergarten class, one teacher is at the front of the class giving instruction during morning calendar time, interacting with and engaging the young students, while the other teacher is observing and collecting data that will track progress of specific goals of an exceptional learner in the class or otherwise tracking target behaviors of the class.

3. Students benefit in that complete and thorough data is collected that monitors their progress on specific goals. Observations could lead to improvements in implementing interventions.

4. Minimal collaboration is required for teachers planning instruction compared to, for example, station teaching, where timing is very important (Zelkowitz, 2008).

When both teachers are comfortable in their co-teaching positions, the observation can also serve as a form of coaching for one another (Cook, 2004).

Method 3: Teach, One Support…

1. In this method, one teacher provides instruction and the other supports and assists students (Gargiulo, 2012).

2. In a high school English classroom, one teacher is at the front of the class giving instruction to the large group as a whole, while the other teacher walks around the classroom providing support in the form of answering questions, guiding responses, and possibly managing behavior.

3. Students benefit from this model by receiving individual attention from the support teacher.

4. The teachers benefit again from low level of planning (Cook, 2004). There is less interruption during instruction as the support teacher offers low-key individual support to students (Cook, 2004).

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Method 4: Station Teaching

1. A lesson is divided into segments and presented in designated areas of the classroom with either the students switching stations and the teachers staying in their location, or the teachers switching stations and the students staying in their location (Gargiulo, 2012). This approach should be used when content is complex but not hierarchical, when several topics make up the instruction for the lesson, or when reviewing material (Cook, 2004).

2. In an elementary classroom, the class is divided into two stations for the reading curriculum. At one station, the group works on identifying vocabulary led by the teacher designated to that area. At the second station, the other teacher engages the students in an interactive activity that focuses on understanding the content of the story. The students switch stations, and the teachers repeat the information they just taught with the other half of the class. If desired, a third station could be added in which students complete work independently (Cook, 2004).

3. Station teaching decreases the student-teacher ratio, creating smaller groups and increasing the response rate of students that receive closer attention (Gargiulo, 2012).

4. Each educator can plan for their individual area of strength if they choose this method (Zelkowitz, 2008).

Method 5: Parallel Teaching

1. Dividing the class into two heterogeneous groups that receive the same instruction from two separate teachers (Gargiulo, 2012).

2. An example would be to use this method as a springboard for a class debate, if each group were taught the same lesson using the parallel method and took a different stance on the topic (Cook, 2004).

3. Student learning is facilitated in parallel teaching by a lower teacher-student ratio, providing more supervision to students and more opportunities to respond (SERC, 2007; Cook, 2004).

4. This approach gives both teachers an active and separate role in instruction (Cook, 2004). Educators using this approach provide an environment where behavior issues are more easily controlled (Zelkowitz, 2008).

Method 6: Alternative Teaching

1. One teacher interacts with a few students while the other provides instruction to the larger group (Gargiulo, 2012).

2. An example of using alternative teaching is a large group practicing exercises related to the concept just taught while a smaller group receives further direct instruction in the concept (Cook, 2004).

3. This method provides opportunities for in-depth study for all students. It also meets the needs of students who excel in small groups and is advantageous to students who now have time to develop absent skills (Gargiulo, 2012).

4. If the teachers switch roles frequently, alternative teaching is beneficial to educators by adequately using each instructor to their full potential.

Method 7:Team Teaching

1. Both teachers have equal roles and share instructional activities (Gargiulo, 2012). Instruction becomes a conversation rather than turn taking in this interactive method of co-teaching (Cook, 2004).

2. There are many ways teachers can team teach. In language arts or English, the teachers could act out a scene from a piece of literature. For science, one teacher could explain while the other demonstrates an experiment (Cook, 2004).

3. In this method of co-teaching, students have an appropriate model for academic, social and help-seeking behaviors (Gargiulo, 2012). Students also receive clarification on concepts due to having two perspectives simultaneously (Gargiulo, 2012).

4. Educators benefit from team teaching because they share equal responsibility in planning and gain mutual respect from students (Zelkowitz, 2008). It is the most complex and interactive style of co-teaching and requires the most planning and highest level of comfort and compatibility.


Cook, L. (2004). Co-Teaching: Principals, Practices, and Pragmatics. Retrieved from

District Developed Service Delivery Plan. (2012). Retrieved from y%20Plans.pdf

Gargiulo, R. (2012). Special education in contemporary society (4th ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE (2007). Teaching & Learning Initiative: Six Approaches to Co- Teaching

Zelkowitz, A. (2008) Six Models for Collaborative Team Teaching. Retrieved from for.html