Co-Teaching? What’s That?
Co-teaching? Are you crazy? I have no idea what that is!!!
Co-teaching is…. Co-teaching isn’t… When 2 or more trained educators in one educational setting sharing responsibility of teaching a group of students. When trained educators share space, resources, lessons, and create a mutual planning time with one another. A unique blend of services where both teachers jointly delivery instruction to a diverse or blended group of students in a single physical space (one classroom). Teaching together, not taking turns. Where the general educator teaches as if he/she was alone. When the D/HH teacher acts as an instructional assistant for their students. When one of the teachers is teaching a lesson while the others are standing/sitting and watching. When one teacher decides on what is to be taught/how it will be taught. When one teacher teaches while the other is grading papers or making copies.
Some Co-teach Approaches
Alternative: Where classroom teacher may break students up in groups based on mastery level. D/HH teacher will work with their students and possibly other students (ex. ELL, regular students, etc.) who may need more background knowledge or practice to “catch up” with where they need Parallel: Where classroom teacher and D/HH teacher group students and teach the same content using the same or adapted materials for the lesson. Supplemental teaching: Where classroom teacher and D/HH teacher present the lesson in standard form for all students and D/HH teacher modifies assignments/work for their students based on their needs and abilities.
More Approaches You Could Use…
One teach/ One Drift: The classroom teacher or D/HH teacher provide direct instruction while the other assists students, looks over their assignments, and answers questions. (Make sure you rotate this approach so both teachers have equal time with teaching content.) Station Teaching: Where classroom teacher and D/HH teacher divide instructional content into 2 or more parts. Groups of students are rotated so that all students receive instruction from both teachers. Team Teaching: When both the classroom and D/HH teacher present the lesson to all students. They share lecturing, use dialogue teaching, pass out materials, and assist all students. One teach/One Observe: Either
What are the Stages of Co-teaching Relationship?
Co-teaching doesn’t happen over night. Three different stages have been identified and are important to know Beginning Stage: Teachers are guarded/careful in their communication with each other. Often times it appears as if there’s an invisible wall in the classroom. Materials and space are NOT shared. Compromising Stage: Teachers have a more “give & take” attitude. A more active role is taken in the classroom by all teachers. Some materials and space are shared between them. Collaborative Stage: Teachers are smoothly communicating with each other. Lessons have dialogue between the teachers. All materials and space is shared between them.
How Can I Move Through the Co-teaching Relationship Stages?
Situations Administration Many teachers find that co-teaching relationships vary from pair to pair. Some teachers “click” naturally and begin to reach the last stage in a few weeks’ time frame. Other teachers may not reach the last stage for 2 years . Lack of administrative support especially at the beginning stages can slow the co-teaching relationship stages. Typically when teachers have a limited professional relationship with one another the co-teaching relationship is slow to develop. Suggest to administrators the need for designing training sessions for all educators in the building on what co-teaching is and how to implement it in the classroom. Time for interacting and meeting with other teachers in the building who co-teach can be beneficial. Ask administrators to help/support the process of finding time for feedback/evaluations and deliberative discussions with administrators during the school year regarding co-teaching
Other Suggestions for Co-Teaching
Co-teaching works best when the educators are comfortable with each other and work together voluntarily rather than mandated by an administrator (however some support from administration is needed). Encouragement should be given to general educators to learn some basic signs by providing a sign language class at the school or resources to learn basic signs. Knowing some signs helps the general educator improve their relationship with their D/HH students and provide more instructional support. Ongoing staff development to help meet the needs of the co- teaching teams is critical. Teachers need time to interact with other teachers who also co-teach in other classrooms.
What are some differentiated instructional strategies I can use while I co-teach?
Tiered Lessons: Tiered lessons are lessons designed based on students’ needs/abilities, interests level, and learning styles. For students with hearing loss, lessons can be based on the level of language skills. Orbital Lessons: Orbital lessons are lessons that allow the student to choose their own topic, plan their own work, help the teacher create a rubric for assessing, and end with the students presenting the project to the class. Jigsaw: The teachers design 3-4 related assignments for each team of students. Each team prepares one of the assignments. Later on, one team member switches to another team and teaches that team the assigned tasks. Towards the end, the teams put all the assignments together to answer the main concept of the assignments.
Thinking Questions Activity
How is this possible if I’m not in the same building all day? Why could co-teaching be “a negative” for D/HH? What should I do if I can’t get support from administrators? How could co-teaching be positive for D/HH?
Tips for Designing a Co-teaching Lesson
Each week set up a day and time span to plan with the teacher(s). Challenges: 2-3 day weeks, state testing, and being an itinerant teacher. Always have an agenda when meeting with your co-teacher Create/borrow a lesson plan template for co-teaching. 80% of the time should be spent discussing what to teach, differentiating the instruction, and a back up plan for kids who are struggling. 20% of the time should be spent: discussing discipline issues, IEP goals, ARCs, and who is responsible for grading certain assignments.
Co-teaching Lesson Planning Time? Really? What do I do?
The “Fabulous” Co-teaching Planning Time The “not so good” Co-teaching Planning Time Have a timed agenda Begin and end on time Responsibilities and roles are clear Process is assessed periodically (ex. once every 2-3 months) Teachers sit around and gossip (no agenda). Plannings either are cancelled, don’t begin or end at the time scheduled. No one has a clue as to what they’re suppose to do during the meeting time. No creating feedback or analyzing the meetings are done during the year.
Things to Expect from Your Co-Teacher
WARNING: Expectations may vary from school to school. These are “biggies” that most schools expect from teachers who are co-teaching. Modifications Tests, quizzes, homework, and assignments Must be aligned with child’s IEP & agreed upon Grading A shared responsibility All information regarding progress should be shared between the teachers Parent Contact & Co-plan time Both teachers should be involved in contacting parents Weekly co-plan time should be set up and followed
Lesson Plan Activity Group in pairs of 2 or 3.
Come up with a short mini-lesson using some of the ideas presented today. Follow the template given to you. We will share a few at the end of the session.
And lastly, a quote to remember about co-teaching!
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