Co-teaching is a powerful and effective way to provide instruction in the least restrictive environment. There has been an increase in interest in co-teaching over the last several years driven primarily by staffing shortages. While co-teaching may seem like the answer to limited special education teachers, it requires a thoughtful process in determining which students would benefit from it (don’t forget the I in IEP), models, and training needed in order for co-teaching to be implemented successfully.
There are six co-teaching models to choose from depending on a variety of factors. To learn more about the co-teaching models I highly suggest you read the article 6 Models of Co-Teaching by Amanda Morin for Understood. Here are the shortened definitions of each model for your review:
1. Team teaching
In team teaching, both teachers are in the room at the same time but take turns teaching the whole class.
2. Parallel teaching
In parallel teaching, the team splits the class into two groups and each teacher teaches the same information at the same time.
3. Station teaching
In station teaching, the class is divided into three or more groups and the classroom has multiple learning centers.
4. Alternative teaching
In alternative teaching, one teacher instructs most of the class and the other teacher teaches an alternate or modified version of the lesson to a smaller group of students.
5. One teach, one assist
In the “one teach, one assist” model of co-teaching, one teacher teaches a full group lesson, while the other teacher roams and helps individual students.
6. One teach, one observe
“In a ‘one teach, one observe’ setting, one teacher serves as the primary instructor, while the other is simply observing students’ learning and collecting data” (Morin, 2021).
There are benefits and drawbacks to each model. Some of these models are more appropriate for different subject areas and lessons.
How can you create flexibility in the use of the model while staying true to the specially designed instruction required? Start with the individual student’s needs in mind and develop a plan from there. As you consider these different models, think of your current staffing numbers and structures. Ensure roles and expectations are clear for both general education and special education teachers.
Want to read more?
Morin, A. (2021, April 9). 6 models of co-teaching. Understood. Retrieved January 30, 2022, from https://www.understood.org/articles/en/6-models-of-co-teaching