Effective Co-Teaching Models

Clearly defined roles and responsibilities will prevent one teacher from feeling that the other has overstepped their boundaries or shirked responsibilities. Co teachers should also plan ahead and agree on what to do during instruction.

Be cautious with this model as students can develop an opinion that the teacher who is instructing has more authority than the assisting teacher.

1. One Teaching – One Support

One teaching – one supporting is a co-teaching model that can be effective when teachers have a clear plan for swapping roles during instruction. In this model, the lead teacher provides a full group lesson while the second teacher roams to support individual students with learning or behavior needs.

Oftentimes, this support comes in the form of checking for understanding, answering student questions or providing academic support for a struggling learner. The teachers can also pair up to work with students in small groups or individually. This can be a great way for the teachers to get to know their students and build strong relationships.

The benefits of this approach include fewer interruptions during instruction and more eyes on students to help identify and address any issues that may arise. It can also be a good choice for a co-teacher to observe their partner teach so they can learn from the other’s teaching styles.

Teachers in this model tend to spend equal amounts of time in the spotlight in front of the students, which can help to level the playing field in the classroom and foster a more positive perception of co-teachers. However, it can be difficult for this model to be effective when there are a lot of behavioral or academic concerns that require immediate attention from either teacher.

As with any other co-teaching model, it’s important for teachers to plan ahead and carefully decide who will be doing what during each class period. This will help ensure that each member of the team is able to participate in and benefit from each day’s lesson plans.

When it’s not well-planned, this model can leave one teacher feeling like an assistant rather than a co-teacher. For this reason, it’s important that the two teachers build a strong working relationship to discuss when it would be best for them to swap roles. This can be especially helpful during lessons when there are likely to be many students who need special attention and support. It’s also essential that each teacher is comfortable working with the same students on a regular basis so that they can develop meaningful relationships.

2. Station Teaching

Station teaching is a powerful model for classrooms that utilize both teacher-led stations and student-led, independent work. It works well when a smaller group of students is needed to focus the attention of a teacher and is a great way for teachers to differentiate instruction. It also allows the co-teachers to give feedback and support to individual students while reducing the need for the co-teachers to wrangle the whole class, verbally over-prompt students to pay attention, ask students to raise their hands or look at them, etc.

While this is a solid instructional strategy, it’s important for the co-teachers to plan together and have similar content knowledge when moving into this type of instruction. It also requires more planning time than some of the other models as there is a need to pre-teach, re-teach or supplement instruction in some way to make sure all students are ready for each station.

Another benefit of this model is that it provides a way for students to interact with each other in a meaningful way while providing opportunities to practice academic vocabulary and standards. In addition, the teachers can structure the activities so that only select fragments of bigger standards are being addressed at each station. This helps increase student engagement and decrease the need for teacher direction, especially with students who process at a slower rate or have difficulty with organization.

In addition, the teachers can use the rotation and visuals to teach into how to transition, find where they are going next and what materials they need at each station. This will help with self-regulation, decreases the need for verbal directions and is an excellent way to address the needs of students who may struggle with processing or learning language. Teachers can also pair students at each station, which increases peer-to-peer interaction and supports self-regulated learning. Students can even provide instructions for each other at some of the stations, which again, reduces the need for verbal direction.

3. One Teaching – Two Assisting

A co-teacher will lead a whole-group lesson while the other teacher assists students. Sometimes, this is referred to as “tag team teaching,” although it may be done by both teachers or just one. This model allows both teachers to engage with students and gives the assisting teacher a chance to see students’ responses and to provide feedback to the other teacher. This approach can work well in a general education classroom and should be considered for ELLs or struggling learners, too.

This type of model works best when there is ample space for the assisting teacher to pull a small group of students for pre-teaching, re-teaching, enrichment or another purpose. It also requires extensive planning time for the teachers to ensure that the lessons are consistent across groups. It can be difficult for this type of co-teaching to work at the secondary level and in larger schools where teachers have different levels of content knowledge.

As a result, it’s important that the co-teachers develop a trusting relationship and respect each other. They’ll be collaborating on a lot of front-facing activities and will need to share their ideas openly, even if they don’t always agree. As co-teacher and ELL specialist Melissa Eddington suggests, “it’s fine to disagree—but don’t make it personal.”

This type of co-teaching is often used in professional development for teachers and is a great way to help new teachers feel comfortable and confident when teaching. It has been shown to improve student achievement, especially in math and reading, when compared with traditional classroom instruction.

It also allows teachers to explore different instructional strategies that can support diverse learners. For example, if an ELL needs more practice with a new concept, the other co-teacher can assist them while they work on a writing activity or use a graphic organizer to show them how to structure their ideas. This is an excellent way to build student independence by giving them tools to help them navigate a new topic. For a more hands-on learning experience, teachers can use Prodigy’s co-teaching feature to create assignments that allow both teachers to teach and support students at the same time!

4. One Teaching – Three Assisting

One teacher takes the lead and delivers instruction to students while the other moves around the room and assists struggling learners. This strategy is sometimes called “one teach, one support” and can be very effective when teachers have worked together to build classroom routines that maximize learning. It can be challenging to implement effectively because it can leave one teacher feeling like an assistant, but when teachers work with each other regularly and build strong relationships, this can be avoided.

Typically, the teaching roles of both co-teachers are clear and well defined in this model. For example, if the lesson involves a lesson on factoring quadratic equations, the lead teacher will deliver the content to the entire class while the other teacher focuses on helping individual students with questions or behavior issues. The assisting teacher is also able to observe students and collect data as needed to determine new strategies for addressing under-performing learners.

This model is ideal for teachers who have limited time or experience with a subject area but have a colleague in the same department that can help them develop their skills. For example, a general education classroom teacher might team up with an ELL teacher to learn how to provide additional language and cultural supports for their students.

When this model is implemented, both teachers are present and active in the classroom during the same lessons. This can be useful when there are many special needs in the class and the ability to meet all the unique requirements is challenging. For example, a general education teacher might work with a special education teacher to introduce the topic of alliteration in poetry while simultaneously implementing a writing workshop.

As with all models of cooperative teaching, there are pros and cons to this approach. When one teacher presents the full class curriculum while the other observes and assists, it can be difficult to ensure that students are getting the most appropriate and highest quality of instruction. Moreover, the model can lead to students developing an opinion that one teacher is more competent or important than the other. In addition, the model can create classroom noise and distractions that can be difficult for students to focus on in a busy environment.

Mr. Greg

An English teacher from Scotland who made a website to share resources for free with the whole world! Currently based in Hong Kong, teaching in an International Kindergarten and tutoring Primary students.

Recent Posts