Strategy

Team Teaching

Partner Teaching, Collaborative Teaching

UDL 5.3

Team Teaching is a co-teaching model in which two or more people plan for and/or teach the same class or lesson. Team Teaching combines the expertise of multiple teachers within the classroom and provides more opportunities for small group learning and one-to-one teaching. Drawing on each teacher’s experience and content knowledge, the teachers collaborate to plan engaging, culturally responsive, and academically rigorous lessons. During class, the teachers may take turns delivering instruction and supporting students or divide the class into groups and teach the same content using different instructional approaches (lecture, independent practice, hands-on activities, scaffolded support, etc.). Team Teaching enhances student learning by allowing teachers to better accommodate various learning styles and provide targeted support to students.

Implementation Tips

Ongoing Collaboration
Meet with your teaching partner regularly to plan lessons and reflect. Avoid the “divide and conquer” mentality and make sure each teacher either participates in or gives input regarding setting objectives for the course, designing the syllabus, preparing lessons, teaching lessons, and evaluating student progress. Use an agenda to make the most of your collaboration time.
Share Ownership of Classroom and Students
Share responsibility for all students. In effective teaching teams, each teacher equally contributes to the success of all students regardless of student classification or subject taught. For example, in a teaching team including a special education teacher and a general education teacher, both teachers plan for and deliver academic content, evaluate student progress, create and maintain modifications and accommodations, and participate in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings.
Classroom Community
Promote community by ensuring that each teacher has equal authority and responsibility in the classroom. Encourage students to view both teachers equally by sharing responsibilities such as whole-class instruction, addressing student discipline issues, communicating with parents, and providing student feedback.
Team Teaching for Part of the School Day
Determine the best time(s) during the school day to implement Team Teaching by identifying times or subject areas in which most students would benefit from additional support. For example, to better support the range of needs of students in math, a fourth grade teacher may collaborate with the Math Specialist to provide Team Teaching during math instruction. Team Teaching can also occur during non-academic times focused on social skills development or community building.
Maintain Open and Constructive Communication
Build a supportive and productive relationship with your teaching partner by discussing your personal backgrounds, experiences, teaching and learning philosophies, teaching strengths, and challenges. Address any issues that come up and develop a solution that is mutually agreed upon and student centered.

Examples

Team Teaching Across Subjects
A teaching team consisting of a history and math teacher plan a dynamic lesson about the Boston Tea Party that integrates each teacher’s expertise. During the lesson, the history teacher discusses the historical background and reactions to the event while the math teacher underscores the financial impact by calculating the value of the dumped tea. Following the lesson, students create advertisements for their own tea brand, set the tea’s price, and calculate the total cost with tax. The students benefit from having both teachers available to offer support and answer questions concerning both subjects.
General Education and Special Education Teaching Team
In an inclusive classroom, a general and special educator collaborate to create a learning environment that is supportive and rigorous for all students. When planning an activity focused on discussing informational texts about oceans, the general education teacher provides texts that address the content standards and works with the special education teacher to create modified texts and a guided note-taking template. Both teachers provide support to all students during the activity.
Support Cooperative Learning
While pairs are working on presentation slides at laptops around the room, one teacher joins a group for extra support or modeling while the other teacher instructs and monitors all of the groups. As the teachers circulate around the room they identify common challenges that groups are experiencing. Based on these observations, the next day the teachers divide the groups and support each portion of the class with different aspects of the presentation (i.e., technical skills, slide content, oral speaking, etc.).

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