Everything You Need to Know About Co-Teaching

10 July, 2020
Today's teachers have a duty to teach their students in an effective and innovative way. One strategy to achieve this is by putting co-teaching into practice. Read on to learn all about it!

Schools should be places of exchange and collaboration in which people learn from each other. In this regard, it’s important for teachers to work as a team, implementing innovative strategies such as co-teaching.

This education method is unlike the traditional teaching system, in which each teacher is in charge of a group of students in an individualized way, without other teachers’ support or advice.

Currently, teachers must abandon this idea and change it to one in which dialogue, inclusion, and mutual respect prevail.

“Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”

– John Cotton Dana –

What’s co-teaching?

Co-teaching is an educational strategy that consists of two teachers working together within the same class. Thus, there are two figures within the classroom:

  • The classroom teacher. They’re the main teacher and the one responsible for teaching the subject.
  • The support teacher. This can be a teacher responsible for attention to diversity or any teacher willing to help and support students in the classroom.
A teacher explaining something to a student.

They’re both responsible for carrying out the following tasks:

  • Firstly, sharing and developing new learning materials and methodologies.
  • Secondly, offering mutual support to face the novelties or difficulties of teaching.

Implementing this strategy promotes the existence of great interaction opportunities among classmates as well as among students and teachers. Therefore, you create an optimal environment for the acquisition of academic and emotional knowledge.

Types of co-teaching

According to Teresa Huguet, co-teaching can be divided into three types, depending on the specialty of the teachers involved:

  • A specialized teacher (can be a therapeutic pedagogy teacher, a special education teacher, or an educational psychologist) is introduced into the classroom to support students with special educational needs. In addition, they advise the main teacher on their teaching method.
  • Two teachers of the same subject teach together in a classroom. Thus, they implement a participatory methodology and pay more attention to students.
  • Other professionals, not necessarily teachers, enter the classroom to support both students and teachers.

In these three cases, the procedure and operation of co-teaching is based on:

All this allows students to enjoy a teaching that facilitates and encourages learning.

Tips for putting this educational strategy into practice

To implement co-teaching, firstly, you must be open to dialogue, since this strategy requires establishing conversations about:

  • What happens at a certain moment in the classroom.
  • What different students do in class and their learning difficulties.
  • The help that can be offered.
  • The forms of support used.
  • The styles and teaching models used.
A teacher teaching students.

Also, it’s important for teachers to be willing to interact and make commitments. In addition, it’s good to:

  • Determine basic structures and clearly define each teacher’s functions and roles.
  • Plan the sessions (what the teachers are going to do and how) to boost co-teaching.
  • Make a subsequent assessment and forecast changes that they think they should introduce in the classroom.

This teaching method favors all students, since help is offered in various areas, both to those who need it occasionally and those who need it constantly. Therefore, students with special needs benefit from the fact that they’re not forced to leave the classroom to receive educational reinforcement, which means they stay with their classmates all day.

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.”

– Malcolm X –

  • Duran, D. y Miquel, E. (2003). Cooperar para enseñar y aprender. Cuadernos de pedagogía331, 73-76.
  • Huguet, T. (2009). El trabajo colaborativo entre el profesorado como estrategia para la inclusión. En Giné, C. (Ed.). La educación inclusiva. De la exclusión a la plena participación de todo el alumnado, (pp. 81-94). Barcelona: Horsori.
  • Sandoval, M. (2008). La colaboración y la formación del profesorado como factores fundamentales para promover una educación sin exclusiones. Contextos educativos: Revista de educación, (11), 149-160.