One Teach, One Assist

One Teach, One Support

UDL 3.4 UDL 5.3

One Teach, One Assist is a co-teaching model where one teacher takes primary responsibility for delivering whole-class instruction while another teacher assists students with their work and maintaining expected behaviors, or provides other support as needed. This strategy offers teachers the opportunity to teach content without interruption while simultaneously supporting individual student needs. Before applying One Teach, One Assist, the teachers choose roles for each given lesson and determine the supports that should be in place for successful lesson implementation (i.e., students needing specific accommodations or modifications, behavior supports, reteaching, etc.). One Teach, One Assist differs from Team Teaching in that, only one teacher delivers the lesson, while the other teacher sits adjacent to student(s) that require additional support or circulates to manage engagement. This strategy is commonly used in the beginning stages of co-teaching, and allows teachers to take turns leading instruction and supporting students.

Implementation Tips

When to Use
Implement One Teach, One Assist strategically and switch teacher roles frequently to avoid one teacher being viewed as a disciplinarian. Teachers can apply this strategy when one teacher has more experience in a content area or when co-teachers have not had sufficient time to plan together (e.g., unexpected schedule change, teacher returning after absence). One Teach, One Assist can also be used to demonstrate or model a specific instructional technique to another teacher.
Determine which students will require additional support while planning a given lesson. Teachers can share observations of student performance from previous lessons to decide which students the assisting teacher will focus on helping in the upcoming One Teach, One Assist lesson. If a student already has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), the teachers can take time while planning to choose techniques that align with mandated accommodations.
Tools to Use (Comprehension)
Create tools that can be offered to the students receiving additional support that provide scaffolding and build agency (e.g., sticky notes with sentence starters, a partially completed graphic organizer, assignment with modified print). The assisting teacher can gradually increase the level of support as they assess a student’s engagement and ability to demonstrate their knowledge throughout the lesson.
Tools to Use (Behavior)
Prepare tools to help students manage their behavior that the assisting teacher can use to redirect students during a lesson. Before the lesson, the assisting teacher can explain to students how a specific task reminder card is used (e.g., whole body listening card, on-task vs. off-task cue card, participation tally chart). During instruction, the assisting teacher can remind students of expected behaviors by lightly tapping on the tool or handing it to the student.
Role of Assisting Teacher
Provide assistance in an unobtrusive manner so that primary instruction being delivered is not interrupted. Position yourself in an area that allows you to support a specific student without interfering with the visual learning space of other students. When necessary, an assisting teacher can also use a neighboring table to provide ongoing coaching during the lesson.
Additional Assistants
Utilize other adults in the classroom to support students that require individualized attention (e.g., paraprofessionals, teaching assistants, student teachers). Explain how they can redirect and incorporate support tools while assisting students during the lesson. This helps build a collaborative teaching environment and provides expectations/guidelines for coaching students.
Designate time after the lesson to debrief. Teachers can discuss the overall execution of the lesson, how students performed, and evaluate the support tools used. Teachers can use this information to plan next steps for upcoming lessons and student accommodations/modifications.


Class Discussions
Following a read aloud, the instructor can kick-start a class discussion by posing a debatable question (e.g., Why do you think the author decided to include this part?). As the conversation develops among the students, the assisting teacher can coach particular students to help them generate ideas and remain engaged in the conversation by providing a list of sentence starters or sticky notes where a student can jot down ideas before sharing. The assisting teacher can also have brief “whisper conversations” with the students to support their thinking and promote participation.
Managing Behavior
To promote engagement and on-task behavior, the assisting teacher shares a self-monitoring checklist (sample prompts: eyes on speaker, raises hand before speaking, writes notes) with certain students before a lesson. The students then place the checklist on their desks. As the lead teacher delivers the lesson, the assisting teacher circulates around the classroom. If the students are engaging off-task behavior, the assisting teacher points to the corresponding prompt on their self-monitoring checklist to remind him or her of the expected behavior. Following the lesson, the assisting teacher debriefs with the students regarding their progress and sets goals for future lessons.
Class-wide Assessments
During a class-wide assessment such as a spelling test, the lead teacher reads the spelling words and the accompanying context sentences. The assisting teacher walks around the room monitoring student participation to make sure all students are keeping up with the administered pace of the assessment. The assisting teacher can also support the instructor by repeating directions or any missed words for students based on their what they notice.
Highlighting Strong Pedagogy
After attending a professional development workshop about conducting guided reading lessons, a teacher uses the One Teach, One Assist model to share and demonstrate new learnings with their teaching partner. As the more informed instructor leads a guided reading group, the other teacher observes the lesson while assisting students. After the lesson, the teachers discuss the demonstrated techniques and reflect on the impact they had on student learning. The teachers then plan a lesson where they switch roles, allowing the assisting teacher the opportunity to practice delivering a lesson using these techniques as the mentor teacher observes.

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