Common Questions About Co-Teaching
Does Co-Teaching Involve Two Teacher Candidates?
In a co-taught student teaching/residency model, there is only one teacher candidate/resident in the classroom. The co-teaching occurs between the mentor teacher and the teacher candidate/resident.
How Are Teacher Candidates/Residents Supported During Co-Teaching?
Teacher candidates/residents in co-teaching settings are supported by their mentor teachers, who model and assist as the teacher candidates/residents acquire the knowledge and methods of teaching.
Does Co-Teaching Inhibit Teacher Candidates'/Residents' Abilities to Develop Classroom Management Skills?
Rather than having to manage a classroom on their own, teacher candidates/residents have the support necessary to implement effective classroom management strategies. As their skills develop, the teacher candidate/resident takes the lead in the co-taught classroom, and the mentor teacher is better prepared to make sure the teaching candidate/resident can manage the classroom without support.
Do Teacher Candidates/Residents Get Enough Solo Teaching Time with Co-Teaching?
The amount of time a candidate/resident teaches varies and is based on their skills in managing a classroom, but it is an essential part of the student teaching/residency experience. In a co-teaching model, the teacher candidate/resident will gradually assume more classroom responsibility until they are ready to solo teach.
Each teacher candidate/resident will lead the planning, organization, delivery, and assessment of instruction in a co-taught classroom. Candidates/residents will also be responsible for directing other adults, including the mentor teacher, thus learning the skills necessary for effectively managing the human resources in a classroom.
Does it Take Longer to Co-Plan Lessons with Co-Teaching?
It may take more time to co-plan in the early stages of co-teaching. In order to co-teach effectively, the mentor teacher and teacher candidate/resident must have shared planning time.
However, the benefits of co-planning outweigh the time commitment. Teacher candidates/residents earn a much deeper understanding of the entire curriculum through co-planning and co-taught lessons, increasing academic performance of P-12 students.
Do Teacher Candidates/Residents Still Gain Experience with Writing Lesson Plans?
Co-planning takes place before formal lesson plans are written. Once a mentor teacher and a teacher candidate/resident co-plan, the candidate/resident takes the information and writes lesson plans, which will be reviewed by the mentor teacher.
How Does Co-Teaching Prepare Teacher Candidates/Residents for “Real World” Classrooms?
Some people worry that co-teaching does not reflect the reality of modern classrooms because it involves collaboration between multiple educators. However, accommodating large class sizes, students with disabilities, and English language learners, today’s classrooms often have other educators working alongside the classroom teacher. The need for collaboration with other adults in the classroom is a necessity in today's schools.
Does Co-Teaching Work at the Level of Secondary Education?
Co-teaching strategies have been used successfully at all grade levels and in every content area. Co-teaching can be especially effective at the secondary level, as teachers are dealing with larger class sizes and greater diversity of students.
Does Co-Teaching Require the Teacher Candidate and Mentor Teacher to Share the Same Learning or Teaching Style?
Teacher candidates/residents entering the workplace must be able to work with a variety of learning and teaching styles. Through workshops and classroom experience, teacher candidates/residents and mentor teachers explore different learning and teaching styles, as well as how to collaborate with individuals who have different styles.
Should the University Supervisor Only Observe the Teacher Candidate/Resident When They Are Solo Teaching?
Observation should occur both when the teacher candidate/resident is solo teaching and when they are co-teaching with their mentor teacher. In both cases, the university supervisor’s focus should be on observing the candidate/resident.
For example, if the candidate/resident is leading a small group, the supervisor should move closer to observe them. Or, if the teacher candidate/resident is collaborating with their mentor teacher, observation should be focused on the candidate/resident's teaching skills, ability to collaborate with the mentor teacher, management skills, organization, etc.