Response Paper #1: Six Approaches to Co-teaching
Carolina Noguera
SPED 70600
Hunter College
In the field of education, co-teaching can be considered a very broad term as there are six different ways to approach and define this style of teaching: One Teach & One Support, Parallel Teaching, Alternative Teaching, Station Teaching, and Team Teaching. Each approach is unique and has its own advantages and disadvantages. As educators, it’s important we know about the different approaches that way we can learn what style suits our teaching best, and most importantly will be most beneficial in creating a learning environment in our own classroom.

One of the six approaches is the, “One Teach & One Observe” approach, one teacher is primarily doing all the teaching and is responsible for the planning. While the other teacher is observing particular behavior and roaming the room during instruction as well as taking notes about student’s engagement in the lessons. To help the observations be useful, teachers should communicate and plan together what specific activities or behaviors should be observed for different students. By establishing what should be observed, teachers can analyze the information together and make accommodations to the planning. I think this co-style teaching approach should be used the least in the classroom because having two teachers should be more taken advantage of for instruction, rather than have one observe and the other do the entire planning and teaching.
The “Parallel Teaching” approach is when two teachers plan together but they split the classroom and are simultaneously teaching the same material to two small groups. This approach can help facilitate learning for those students who benefit from smaller groups. It is also easier to control behavioral problems as you can separate children that might not do well together. However, space plays a very important role, as you must be able to accommodate two different learning groups with minimal distraction and noise control. Teachers must also make sure that their lessons are following the same pace. This is not a method I would like to use in my classroom as I think that getting the appropriate space for this style to be beneficial would be difficult and limited.
“Alternative Teaching” has a similar approach to “push-in or push-out”. As one teacher is teaching the majority of the class, while the other teacher is working with either an individual or a small group inside or outside the classroom. The teacher working with the smaller group does not necessarily have to be working on the same instruction as the other teacher. This approach is used to help students catch up or work on certain skills that might need more individualized instruction. If implementing this approach in my own classroom, I would make sure to plan specific times for small groups or individuals to be pulled aside that way they do not miss or fall behind on any important lesson.
Another co-style teaching approach is “Station Teaching.” For this style of teaching, the class is set up in centers with different activity at each center. Each teacher leads one center and takes full responsibility of the preparation of their own lesson separately. The teachers are at different centers teaching small groups, and will repeat the same lesson once the centers rotate. There can also be student-lead centers to give them time to work independently. There is a lot of preparation and planning involved to make this style successful. Teachers must take into account many factors when planning such as gaps, behavior, groups, noise level, and independent activities. If properly planned this approach can be very valuable as small group learning helps individualize instruction and many children benefit from this.
“Team Teaching” is a very powerful co-style teaching approach. In this style both teachers prepare and deliver the instruction together. Meaning, there are two teachers to tackle the different learning needs and styles in the classroom. Essentially, it is “one brain, two bodies” (2009 Marilyn Friend, Inc), both with the same goal of meeting the students needs. The key factor in this style is on-going communication, teachers must continuously work as a team and determine how they will share the responsibilities. When using this approach, teachers should really take advantage of the two brains in the classroom to create the best learning environment for the children. This is a style of teaching that I would implement in my own classroom and think it should be most used in schools.
The last approach to co-teaching, “One Teach, One Assist” is the style that I have most commonly seen and experienced in the classroom. In this style, there is one primary teacher, whom prepares and delivers all the instruction. While the other teacher assists by walking around the classroom and providing unobtrusive support to individuals. An advantage of this style is that it is easier to have control over behavior, as one teacher is constantly circulating the room and is able to monitor students more closely. The assistant is there to support the teacher and students, but I think it would be more valuable to have both teachers actively engaged in the instruction.
Every student has different ways of learning, just as teacher has different ways of teaching. The six approaches to co-teaching are different styles that can be utilized in the classroom to deliver instruction. After learning about the various co-teaching styles, I think “Team Teaching” should be used the most as it is taking full advantage of the two teachers in the classrooms. Most of the other styles divide and conquer the classroom between the two teachers instead of working together. The style I think is least beneficial is “One Teach, One Observe” as this only has one teacher primarily doing all the planning and instruction while the other one observes. As teachers we are constant models for the children and modeling working together as a team is a skill that will be fruitful in their social and academic development.
Reference:Friend, M. & Cook, L. (1996a) Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals. White Plains. Longman.
Friend, M. & Cook L. (1996b). The Power of 2: Making a difference through co-teaching Videotape. (Available from the Forum on Education, Smith Research Center, Suite 103, Indiana University/On-site, Bloomington, IN 47405-1006

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