Team teaching – students receive instruction from multiple teachers who share teaching duties. Sometimes called co-teaching.
Team teaching is a strategy that involves 2 or more teachers working together to teach a class. It is also known as ‘co-teaching’ or ‘shared teaching’. In this scenario, the teachers simultaneously work in the same classroom with the same students on the same topic, delivering the same activities and using the same resources. In other words, teaching duties are shared. Like 2 mechanics working together to fix a car, team teaching requires coordination, organisation, a good working relationship and a set of shared goals.
Team teaching is most effective when teachers work well together – in other words, when they ‘click’. Advocates of team teaching say that it has a number of key benefits, such as:
While working with teacher’s aides is not technically team teaching by definition, teachers regularly turn to them to provide educational, behavioural, personal care and logistical support.i Purely from a time management perspective, a teacher can only help so many students in any given lesson. Additionally, many students with special needs require one-on-one support. Teacher’s aides often have more experience with children (whether as a parent, in the classroom, or both) than the classroom teacher (particularly graduate teachers).ii Teacher’s aides are a lifeline for new teachers and for those operating in challenging classes.
Like 2 mechanics working together to fix a car, team teaching requires coordination, organisation, a good working relationship and a set of shared goals.
The teacher’s aide also has the unintended and somewhat positive effect of reducing the class size (by working with a ‘table’ or group, the number of students under direct teacher supervision is reduced by the number of students in that group – this can be up to 20%). The ratio of adults to students is also doubled (students, particularly younger students, don’t differentiate all that much between the teacher and the teacher’s aide – they just see 2 adults, particularly if the teacher’s aide is competent and enforces rules and consequences consistently with the teacher).
However, while teacher’s aides are common (around 30% of school staff or more), unfortunately teachers are rarely taught how to effectively manage and direct them. Teachers are excellent managers of children – but not necessarily of adults. Many are hesitant and struggle to manage teacher’s aides who are much older than themselves; they prefer not to address issues that may cause tension. Thankfully, there are a number of simple steps that teachers can take to maximise the effect of teacher’s aides in their classroom such as:
Adam Green is an advisor to government, a registered teacher, an instructional designer and a #1 best selling author. He is completing a Doctor of Education and was previously head of department for one of the country’s largest SAER (students at educational risk) schools. Adam is managing director of FTTA, an accredited training provider for thousands of teacher aides every year.
Source: Teaching Skills and Strategies for the Modern Classroom: 100+ research-based strategies for both novice and experienced practitioners. Amazon #1 best seller in the category of Classroom Management.
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