Inclusion Corner: The art of co-teaching
Monday, December 01, 2014
Co-taught lessons should look substantively different and richer for students than what one teacher would do alone. In order for co-teaching to be successful, two things must occur:
- Educators should capitalize on their specific roles
- Teachers must utilize various co-teaching models
Meaningful collaboration depends on a partnership in which each teacher brings his/her focus of expertise and utilizes his/her specialty to enhance instruction. By focusing on role specialty, the co-teaching partnership is enhanced and all students are supported and challenged.
Teachers should explore, plan and utilize a variety of co-teaching models to differentiate instruction and increase student achievement. There are five nationally recognized models of co-teaching.
Two of my favorite co-teaching models are station teaching and alternative teaching. Both models increase student engagement and response rate, individualize instruction and maximize both educators in a classroom.
Teachers may differentiate station work by:
- Designating some stations as reteach/reinforce and others as extensions or enrichment, based on assessment data
- Designing tasks of different levels of challenge or complexity
- Utilizing different instructional resources related to readiness needs or prior knowledge (C-R-A; multimedia, kinesthetic, etc.)
Teachers may differentiate by:
- Having one teacher work with a small group of students while the other works with the larger group.
- Tier instruction based on data. The small group is used for preteaching, reteaching, review, extension or enrichment activities.
Lasting words for an effective co-teaching experience
The following tips are the top 10 non-negotiables in establishing an effective co-taught classroom community:
- Use words like "our students" and "we would like." Avoid the mindset of "I" or "my students."
- Vary roles and determine which co-teaching model could best facilitate differentiation of the lesson or task.
- Post objectives to help both you and the students stay on course.
- Establish consistent and shared student routines to aid in transitions or gain students' attention.
- Create unobtrusive signals to communicate when it is time to move on, more time is needed, etc.
- Clipboards are our friends. They help us collect formative data and adjust instruction.
- Use sidebar conversations to discuss data and plan for adjusting instruction. The goal is 3-5 sidebars in a 60-minute block.
- Parity is important. Be sure both teachers' names are on the door, report cards, graded papers, furniture, space, etc.
- Group and regroup students for different purposes, in different manners and with different teachers within the co-teaching partnership (to avoid stigmatization).
- Apply the 10:2 rule. After 10 minutes of direct instruction, provide students with a two-minute processing or cooperative learning activity.
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