What Is Team Teaching?

Written by janel flynn
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Team teaching is traditionally thought of as when more than one teacher is involved in instruction within a classroom. There are a few different models of team teaching, and more than one model may be carried out within one class period. There are many positive effects associated with team teaching, but there are also many things that need to be considered before jumping into a team teaching approach.

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Significance

Higher expectations are placed on students and teachers of the 21st century than ever before. Different studies have been conducted that address different teaching methods for helping students meet these expectations. Team teaching is just one of the methods that has been explored. Additionally, as more attention is being brought to including special education students into the regular classroom, debates ensue about how that can be done effectively. Often, team teaching is the answer.

Types

Traditional team teaching is a model in which two teachers within a classroom take equal responsibility for teaching the students and are actively involved at all times. One may be teaching while the other is writing notes on the board. "Supportive Instruction" is a second model of team teaching in which one teacher teaches the material and the other teacher provides follow-up activities. "Parallel Instruction" is a form of team teaching in which students are split into two groups and each teacher is responsible for teaching his group. "Differentiated Split Class" team teaching involves splitting students into two groups based on achievement. One teacher provides remedial instruction to students who are struggling on a skill while the other teacher provides enrichment to those who have grasped the skill. The "Monitoring Teacher" is another form of team teaching. In this model, one teacher assumes the role of instruction while the other teacher walks around the class and monitors students' behaviour and progress. Different types of team teaching may be used within one class period.

Effects

When team teaching is organised and carried out effectively, positive effects are felt by students, parents and school faculty. Research shows that students taught using a team teaching approach have higher levels of achievement. There is also more contact with parents by teachers in a team teaching situation. Additionally, schools that employ team teaching have teachers who are more satisfied with their job, resulting in an improved work climate.

Considerations

If team teaching is something you are thinking about implementing, ask yourself these questions before proposing the idea to colleagues: Are the teachers involved open to trying new methods of instruction? Are the teachers involved open-minded, optimistic people? Are the teachers involved resourceful, flexible, and able and willing to communicate effectively? Are the team members honest, trustworthy, respectful people who won't be offended by constructive criticism?

Warning

Teachers involved in team teaching need to define what team teaching will look like in their classroom before implementing this model of instruction. The definition needs to include everything from goals and responsibilities to planning time. Lack of a unified definition or vision for team teaching could result in confusion by all involved, including the students. It could also result in an inconsistent classroom environment in which students play one teacher against the other.

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