Co-teaching is where two (or more) Teachers pair up to teach specific lessons, curriculum, or activities. There are essentially seven co-teaching models, often referred to as co-teaching strategies.
Extensive research by the Texas Education Agency, the Meadows Foundation, and the Texas Center for Reading and Language Arts researched the ways school principals and other school leaders can support team-teaching and co-teaching. We posed their recommendations to veteran educators to get their tips on implementation.
Canva always seems to be in the mix when it comes to online worksheet makers. And it’s true, you can make beautiful worksheets and handouts for your classroom with Canva. But that’s where it ends. Canva has many themes and layouts for creating worksheets, but they are intended to be printed and copied. So it’s a solid option for making a worksheet but doesn’t fit the bill for interactive online activities. You might want to use it in conjunction with an app we’re going to mention in detail below. Read on.
Schedule planning periods so co-Teachers can review the lesson plan, divide responsibilities, and check students’ progress. If possible, periodically hold structured meetings where Teacher teams can speak with each other to share challenges and successes.
Ron Farrow, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction in DeSoto, MO, says, “Providing teachers with clear expectations and modeled training is crucial. Teachers may need training on how to support one another in a co-taught classroom effectively, and effectively divide their support to support all students.” One veteran Teacher we interviewed said, “I find that this is lacking in MANY places. This is the “make it happen” mentality without providing the tools needed for teachers to be successful.”
All Teachers need resources to teach effectively, but when it comes to co-teaching, things like sharing student assignments and data between Teachers become especially important. This is one area where digital learning tools can be a big help.
For example, have instructional teams prepare versions of lessons so that general education Teachers can more easily provide differentiated instruction on their own. This is another area where digital lessons shine. If you follow the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) model, this is especially important.
Recognize that other service delivery options (e.g., pull-out programs), in addition to co-teaching, may be necessary to meet the individual needs of all students.
According to Farrow “Co-teaching can be most effective during the main content lesson for the day. Students have the additional support for the new learning, and the Teachers can then divide to support small groups or individuals during group and independent practice.”
Katy Mayer, a 10 Year+ General Education Teacher in San Diego, California, notes that it is essential that co-Teachers be trained to instruct students with specific learning differences. Also, it is helpful to check in and make sure the Co-Teaching team members feel like they are working together effectively.
Today’s educators sometimes question this recommendation. Dr. Samantha Fecich, Assistant Professor of Education at Grove City College, says “…if its in the student’s LRE, then they should be in the gen ed class.” With modern digital learning technology, fully inclusive classrooms – and even non-leveled classrooms where desired – are more achievable than ever before.
Sometimes parents have misconceptions about what co-teaching is and how Teachers use it. A letter home or email is a good place to start. Here’s some sample language for inspiration.
So how can a school principal ensure co-teaching initiatives are successful? Fortunately, there is a lot of research on the subject and many things school leaders can do to support co-teaching. But doing co-teaching work in real life – while avoiding Teacher burn-out – is still a tall order. Digital learning software can help. It can make team-teaching more manageable and lighten Co-Teachers’ workload.
In most cases, Teachers know how to use co-teaching software. Any Teacher who taught remotely during the pandemic is familiar with at least one tool for creating digital lessons. As long as that tool has the right combination of capabilities that enable co-teaching, you have a powerful ally in your co-teaching efforts. TeacherMade is one of those tools:
TeacherMade’s best feature is that it is flexible. Use any worksheet with TeacherMade. You can use any paper copy, PDF, image, or DOCX file. The options are truly endless. Don’t be held back by limited features or being pushed toward paid assignments. Use the worksheets you have cultivated and vetted throughout your career. Try TeacherMade today, and see how easy and flexible it can be.