Co-teaching is a teacher and teacher candidate working together with groups of students by sharing the planning, organization, delivery, and assessment of instruction, as well as the physical space. Both are actively involved and engaged in all aspects of instruction.
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The Co-teaching model demonstrates best practices in student teaching and is chosen by the University of Southern Indiana's Teaching Education Department because:
- There is a need to re-examine student teaching because it hasn't changed much in 80 years
- With the increased pressures of high-stakes testing, there exists growing resistance from teachers to take teacher candidates
- Research shows that Co-teaching improves student achievement
Important Elements of Co-Teaching
- Only one teacher candidate is assigned to each classroom.
- Co-teaching strategies are successful at all grade levels and in every content area.
- Cooperating teacher and teacher candidate share planning time before formal lesson plans are written.
- The cooperating teacher models and assists as the teacher candidate acquires the knowledge and skills of teaching.
- The teacher candidate has the support necessary to implement effective classroom management strategies.
- Teacher candidates do have time to teach alone based on their skills in a managing a classroom.
- Teacher candidates eventually lead planning, organization, delivery, assessment of instruction, and learn the skills necessary for effectively managing the human resources in a classroom.
- Through workshops, teacher candidates and cooperating teachers are introduced to many styles and types of learning and teaching and how to work with individuals who have utilized these different styles.
- When a supervisor observes a teacher candidate co-teaching with a cooperating teacher, they focus the observation on the candidate's teaching skills, ability to collaborate with the cooperating teacher, management skills, organization, etc.
Benefits of Co-Teaching
The Department of Teacher Education offers coursework in three different programs leading to Bachelor's degrees:
For P-12 Students:
- Increased time for student engagement
- Students are able to work in smaller groups
- Students receive more individual attention
- Students' questions are answered quickly
- Students' papers can be graded more quickly and they receive results of their work sooner
- Students behave better
- Fewer class disruptions (for passing out papers, having projects checked, other housekeeping tasks)
For the Cooperating Teacher:
- Ability to reach more students, particularly those with high needs
- Better relationship with teacher candidate
- Professional growth
- Enhanced energy for teaching
- Host to candidate without giving up classroom
- Ability to implement projects more successfully
- Class time is more productive
- Modeling and participating in teamwork
For the Teacher Candidate:
- Improved classroom management skills
- Increased collaboration skills
- More teaching time
- Increased confidence
- Deeper understanding of the curriculum through co-planning
- More opportunities to ask questions and reflect
- Being seen as a "real" teacher
- Equal partnership
- Sharing resources
- Mutual support and learning
Meets all stakeholder needs:
- Builds strong university/school partnerships
- Best way to mentor and induct teacher candidates
- Utilizes cooperating teacher's expertise
- "Our team plans together; Katie (teacher candidate) sits in on every planning session, and understands the rationale behind all the thinking...so much more powerful than working alone and struggling to grasp the whole idea of planning/time management/standards-based lessons, etc."
- Mary Anne Feller, Grade 2 Teacher, Delaware Elementary School
- "I have had to review and reflect heavily on the part of the training that dealt with relationahip building. Co-teaching requires much more vulnerability and raw honesty, and those are not things that always come naturally."
- Amanada Sue Barnes, Teacher Candidate in Grade 5, Holy Redeemer School
- "In Co-teaching, the co-teacher and teacher candidate plan together; the co-teacher is there as a guide to keep you on the right track. They let you know what you need to emphasize, and give you pointers on how to better approach a situation. There is a partnership in the classroom."
- Kearstyn Ritter, Teacher Candidate in Grade 4 homeroom and Grades 3-5 Mathematics, Daniel Wertz
- "In traditional student-teaching the lead teacher gradually allows his student teacher to assume control of the class. In the Co-teaching experience the teacher candidate is immersed into the role of teaching from the beginning. I think that the Co-teaching experience is far better than the traditional student teacher model."
- Jon Siau, Teacher, Grades 9-12 Art, North High School
- "My students are benefitting greatly from the Co-teaching model. With 28 students in my class this year, there are many different levels of learning happening at the same time. With a teacher candidate, we are able to work in small groups to help individualize instruction and meet the needs of each developing student."
- Jackie McCormick, Grade One Teacher, Corpus Christi School
- "Co-teaching allowed me to become the teacher in the classroom instantly. Co-teaching provides the opportunity to have smaller class sizes by using small group instruction. Students who find a lesson challenging are offered time in a small group to re-teach the lesson until they demonstrate comprehension of the strategies."
- Jana Head, Teacher Candidate in Grade 5, Cynthia Heights Elementary School
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