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The Idea of Co-Teaching and its Different Strategies

What is Co-Teaching?


Co-teaching is defined as two teachers sharing planning, organization, instruction, assessment, and physical space (Cook and Friend, 1995). There are several reasons why co-teaching is beneficial to teachers. These reasons include reduction of student/teacher ratio, it addresses diversity, it enhances classroom management through circulating and attending to more students’ questions and needs, it increases student participation and engagement, and of course, it helps increase teacher candidates’ readiness in this profession (Rabin, 2016).



What are some of the co-teaching strategies?


In the seminar about co-teaching, Professor Colette Rabin (2016) from San Jose State University shared six co-teaching strategies that teachers can use in the classroom. These strategies are one teach-one assist, one teach-one observe, station teaching, parallel teaching, alternative/differentiated teaching, and team teaching. The definitions and main concepts of these strategies are explained further on. First, one teach-one assist is a strategy where one teacher has primary instructional responsibility while the other teacher supports students who need support or encouraging those who would hesitate to participate to engage. Second, one teach-one observe is used when one teacher needs to gather information/data from specific students to understand their behavior through critical observation. The observer role can be switched and this strategy is to be used occasionally. Another strategy is station teaching, this is used when both teachers want students to rotate to different centers/stations where each station reinforces a lesson by learning different dimensions of a topic. Next, parallel teaching is a strategy where the class is divided in half and each teacher takes a group. Both teachers are teaching the same content in the same way simultaneously for a smaller teacher/student ratio. On the other hand, we have alternative/differentiated teaching, this is sort of similar to parallel teaching where teachers have their groups except that this is more focused on delivering different ways of teaching for students who need a more direct or small-group instruction. Lastly, team teaching is a way for both teachers to take responsibility and seamlessly assume all aspects of teaching. Both teachers play an equal role in a lesson and they are fully engaged in all activities.

Co-teaching can be applied effectively in situations where teachers need to collaborate as for the case of dual immersion classes with a general education teacher and a bilingual teacher, for mainstreamed classes with a general education teacher and a special education teacher, and for student teaching placement classrooms or for any sort of mentoring with a veteran teacher and a mentee. The combination of the expertise of teachers put together in a co-teaching setting has consistently resulted in positive outcomes (Dieker and Burnette, 1996).



Cook, L., & Friend, M. (1995). Co-teaching: Guidelines for creating effective practices. Focus on exceptional children, 28.


Dieker, L. A., & Burnett, C. A. (1996). Effective Co-Teaching. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 29(1), 5–7. https://doi.org/10.1177/004005999602900102


Rabin, C. (2016, Aug 29). Co-teaching. Seminar presented at San Jose State University, San Jose, CA.

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