4 Strategies for Effective Co-Teaching in Class

by Ella Wilson
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In higher education such as in universities and colleges, it is common for teachers to collaborate on research papers and projects to achieve the best results. However, when it comes to teaching, the practice of co-teaching is still a rather new concept in higher education. In K-12 educational settings, however, it is common for teachers to pair up in order to reduce workload and increase class performance. A detailed review of literature proves that Co-Teaching can be highly effective in universities and colleges, as well.

It is due to its benefits that more educational institutes are adopting co-teaching. However, there are many teachers who still believe that co-teaching may not be as effective as they say. Experts believe that is critical to plan an efficient co-teaching approach, but when it is done correctly, it can significantly improve the quality of education in an institute. There are a few things that teachers may want to keep in mind while preparing a co-teaching plan that would help them make this approach work, successfully.

1- Communicate and Form of a Bond.

It is extremely crucial for both the teachers to know each other before initiating this method. Cooperation is a huge part of co-teaching and if the two teachers don’t have a good rapport, this method can never be successful. Most of the teachers who opposed co-teaching had issues with mutual coordination, research shows. This also proves that communication before starting a course is of utmost importance.    

The teachers are advised to know each other on a professional as well as personal level. It only makes sense, as they are going to be spending the majority of the time together. Knowing each other’s weaknesses, strengths, and hobbies will fortify the rapport between the teachers and will prevent the problems from arising and escalating. When there is no bitter wall and tension between the two, students will feel comfortable and at ease. This healthy bond will also have a pleasant impact on the overall class environment and students will learn coordination and teamwork, as well. 

2- Splitting Up Responsibility

As mentioned earlier, the reason this approach would work better in universities is due to the size of classroom population. With a growing responsibility of teachers where educational systems expect them to be a teacher not only within the classroom but outside as well. The teachers are no longer an academic figure, but they are playing a key role in student lifestyle as well. Considering that, in a large setting, one teacher may find it hard to manage all the aspects of a class and may need some assistance from a professional. Co-teaching can help a teacher not only reduce the stress but carry out the tasks effectively. As mentioned earlier, it is important to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, teachers can split up responsibilities based on their area of expertise. One of the educators can manage academics within class, while the one who is more tech-savvy can take care of sending out materials to students and assisting them through mail. Taking care of student feedback, creating new course material, and grading, all can be split up between the two, so both the parties are equally accountable.

3- Establish Parity

Equality is a crucial part of co-teaching. If one teacher has a greater hand over another, it’s not really co-teaching, it’s one teacher assisting the other. Therefore, to make co-teaching work, it is essential to maintain parity between two teachers. No matter how good your solo performance is, if there is no parity, co-teaching can never succeed to have its impact.

A lack of parity can confuse students and in turn, can have a negative impact on their performance. They would mostly be confused as to who contact regarding an issue. Therefore, showing that both the teachers and equally responsible for their assigned task is extremely important to make co-teaching work. Small details such as sitting area, work distribution, lecture time should also be taken into consideration to ensure equality between the two educators.

4- Take risks and grow.

The best part about teaching is having someone to rely on when it comes to learning and academics, teachers believe. It has happened many times to teachers that no matter how hard they try; their lectures fall apart. Sometimes, they don’t have enough information about the subject, other times they fail to find out the source of problem despite doing everything correctly. A wonderful aspect of co-teaching is that your partner may be able to point out your mistake and may help you fix it. In co-teaching, it’s easier to analyse your weak areas and switch duties. Giving your long-practiced role to someone else may seem like a risk, but there are high chances that they can do it better than you. Moreover, trying out new things will help the teacher explore own skills.

Two heads are better than one, and co-teaching method provides students with just that. Students have two responsible resources to learn from. Research has also proven that students performed better in a healthy co-teaching environment as they got more time from their teachers. This method has proven its worth over a small period of time as more universities are adopting it. A lot of universities are adopting this method by splitting the class population between two teachers so that every student gets the complete attention of the teacher. There are various ways to carry out this method efficiently, but co-ordination between the two teachers is a must for this method to succeed.

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