During my 11 years of experience teaching early childhood as teacher and administrator - 7 of those years have been in co-teaching environment models. Many of those years I had opportunities to work with very dedicated co-teachers, and some that were really a struggle. I always wondered how teachers in similar situations are able to compliment each other, assign and determine roles, and provide the best learning experience for their students.
This week I have partnered with Alexis Hillgrove from Nicky's Kids Town, in Sydney, Australia to provide you with a better insight of the co-teaching model.
It is important for children to be in an environment that encourages learning.
Apart from giving them excellent child care at a young age, parents must make sure that their young ones are enrolled in an educational institution that nurtures their talents, skills and abilities.
For some families, this means enrolling their children in a class with a co-teaching program. Co-teaching is basically sharing.Teachers share accountability and instructional responsibility for the same group of children in a single classroom.They collaborate to handle all responsibilities meet the needs of all students.
There are several approaches to co-teaching.
While one teaches the class, the other can observe, assist or also teach. In fact, co-teaching also takes place when a trained teacher supervises a student teacher.
What are the different types of co-teaching?
These are the six approaches co-teachers can use.
1. One teaching, one assisting – In this approach, one teacher is primarily responsible for instructing the class. The other walks around the room and assists the children whenever necessary.
2. One teaching, one observing – As one teacher instructs the class, the other observes the students. This approach makes it possible to discern the behavior of children and consequently address behavioral problems that hinder learning.
3. Alternative teaching – Both teachers are hands-on in the learning process. One teacher is responsible for a large group, while the other teaches a smaller group that requires specialized attention.
4. Station teaching – The lessons and class are divided into groups, so the children can be taught one group at a time. This allows the teachers to provide individualized attention to students.
5. Parallel teaching – The teachers simultaneously teach the same lessons to different groups of students. The children can be more involved in the discussion as they are given more opportunity to participate, while teachers can supervise them more effectively.
6. Team teaching – The co-teachers instruct the class at the same time. This approach can be difficult at first, but veteran teachers can attest that it makes the teaching process simpler in the long run.
What’s the biggest challenge of co-teaching?
Misunderstandings between professional educators can arise when they have extreme differences in teaching styles and beliefs.
Teachers can find themselves struggling to foster equality and teach the class when they can’t work together.
But this problem can be easily resolved with open communication.
Discussing ideas not only resolves their misunderstandings, but can also enhance the efficacy of their practice.
What makes co-teaching advantageous in early childhood?
Students and teachers both benefit from co-teaching.
This arrangement creates a lower student to teacher ratio, so teachers can develop a community that doesn’t fall short in giving the entire class the attention and guidance that young children need.
Furthermore, teachers can be more involved in the learning process, while students can develop an understanding for their classmates who have special needs.
Ultimately, teachers can effectively teach the class, share strategies with each other, discuss the curriculum and come up with better plans to meet the unique needs of their students.
How is a strong co-teaching partnership developed?
Co-teachers need to have a good relationship with each other and with the entire class.
They must see each other as equals, and have a willingness to collaborate to guide and teach the children.
They don’t have to agree on every aspect of the teaching process, but it is important to be ready to work through problems as a team.
Of course, transitioning to co-teaching can be difficult for teachers who are used to teaching by themselves, but it is possible with the guidance of a supportive colleague.
The early formative years of children are crucial to their development. Good thing there are institutions with co-teaching programs that are designed to meet the diverse needs of students.