Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Are you Co-teaching or Collaboratively Teaching?


Co- is for?
Co-Teaching
- to teach jointly.  

Co-llaborative Teaching
- to work together with others to create more than one could individually.

According to Cook (2004), co-teaching can be collaborative, although does not need to be. Collaboration usually refers to how individuals interact with each other, not what they are doing. Any activity including co-teaching, may or may not be collaborative.

Co-teaching Rational
  • Meets need of individual students
  • Provides more individualised instruction
  • Opportunity for flexible scheduling
  • Can create positive model for social interactions
  • Sense of collegial support 


Co-teaching Characteristics
  • Two or more teachers shared guardianship and responsibility
  • Heterogeneous group of students
  • Shared delivery of instruction in some curriculum areas
  • Shared physical space - ownership
  • Participation based on student need 


Factors to Consider
Every class is different and is community made of many different people with different needs, some factors to consider when selecting a co-teaching approach are:
  1. Student characteristics and needs- consider students personality and learning needs
  2. Teacher characteristics and needs- consider human nature and personality types
  3. Curriculum, including content and instructional strategies- consider the type of content and instructional strategies
  4. Pragmatic considerations- consider the setting and spaces


Co-teaching Approaches
One Teach, one observeOne teacher leads while another purposefully observes for specific types of information and together they analyze it.
One Teach, One Drift
One teacher leads the instruction while the others drift, or focus on small groups based on student need. Which can allow for differentiated teaching. It also lends itself to when one teacher has a particular expertise.
Parallel Teaching
Teaching planning is created collaboratively between teachers. The same planning is then taught to half or groups at a time. 
In mixed Year classes it allows for group differentiation by stage not age.
Station Teaching
The lesson content is usually split into various activity stations which students rotate through. Teachers often at one station each to provide scaffolding / teaching, other stations may be independent. We often use during inquiry - content is complex but not hierarchical.
Alternative Teaching
One teacher teaches the main group while the others work with smaller groups to pre-teach, re-teach, supplement, or enrich instruction.
Often used when student mastery of concepts vary largely.
Team Teaching
Teachers plan and teach students, together in a coordinated way. Teacher need good comfortable professional relationships. Instruction becomes conversation or to demonstrate some type of interaction to students.


Co-Teaching to Collaborative
Research indicate that co-teaching, has traditionally been used to provide support for students with mild to moderate disabilities (Sileo, 2003). It also reduces the teacher to student ratio (Friend, 2001). Collaborative Teaching blends the same ratio of teacher to student as a traditional classroom but blended together.


Co-teaching provides a foundation for collaborative teaching; co-teaching = activity (verb) and collaboration = how (adverb). There is no one way for successful collaborative teaching, yet the rational, characteristics and approaches of co-teaching provide a sound foundation to build your team. I would say collaborative teaching requires even more:
  •  Supportive caring relationships and open communication between teachers.
  •  Honest modeling of collaboration in learning, social and professional lives.
  •  Passionate agile teachers who are lifelong learners.
  •  Sharing, using, and owning spaces.
  •  Shared guardianship, structured responsibilities.
  •  Using digital tools to enhance collaboration.


Rule of Three
Stephen Heppell - I have a simple rule of three for third millennium learning spaces.
  1. No more than three walls so that space is multifaceted rather than just open.
  2. No fewer than three points of focus so that the "stand-and-deliver" model gives way to increasingly varied learning groups.
  3. Ability to accommodate three teachers/adults with their children. Larger spaces allow for better alternatives for effective teaching.

Have you had any collaborative teaching experience to share?


References
Cook, L. (2004). Co-Teaching: Principles, Practices, and Pragmatics. Retrieved from http://www.ped.state.nm.us/seo/library/qrtrly.0404.coteaching.lcook.pdf

Friend, M. (2001, February). Co-teaching for general and special educators. Paper presented for Clark County School District, Las Vegas, NV.

Heppell, S. (2004). Stephen Heppell’s rule of three. Retrieved from http://rubble.heppell.net/three/

Sileo, J. M. (2003). Co-teaching: Rationale for best practices. Journal of Asia-Pacific Special Education, 3(1), 17-26.