collaborative teaching & learning

Collaborative Learning: Group Work & Study Teams (UC Berkeley)
Cooperative Learning (State University of New York)
Cooperative Learning: Students Working in Small Groups (Stanford University)
Collaborative Teaching - 5 types of co-teaching (University of Kansas)
Friend, Reising, and Cook (1993) identified five options teachers typically use when implementing a co-teaching model. As teams progress through these 5 types, it is important to remember these types are hierarchical across three variables. First, as you move down the continuum of models, more and more planning time together is needed. Second, as you progress in the models, teachers need an equal level of content knowledge to make the model work effectively. This equality of content knowledge can be the greatest barrier to team teaching at the secondary level. Third, as you move down the continuum, teachers must share the same philosophy of inclusion and have a level of trust and respect. Typically this level of trust and respect has to be built over time, which also is another reason it is sometimes difficult to team teach at the secondary level or in larger schools, if there is not consistency over time in building team support. Key aspects of each type of co-teaching are provided below.

1. Lead and Support
One teacher leads and another offers assistance and support to individuals or small groups. In this role, planning must occur by both teachers, but typically one teacher plans for the lesson content, while the other does specific planning for students' individual learning or behavioral needs.

2. Station Teaching
Students are divided into heterogeneous groups and work at classroom stations with each teacher. Then, in the middle of the period or the next day, the students switch to the other station. In this model, both teachers individually develop the content of their stations.

3. Parallel Teaching
Teachers jointly plan instruction, but each may deliver it to half the class or small groups. This type of model typically requires joint planning time to ensure that as teachers work in their separate groups, they are delivering content in the same way.

4. Alternative Teaching
One teacher works with a small group of students to pre-teach, re-teach, supplement, or enrich instruction, while the other teacher instructs the large group. In this type of co-teaching, more planning time is needed to ensure that the logistics of pre-teaching or re-teaching can be completed; also, the teachers must have similar content knowledge for one teacher to take a group and re-teach or pre-teach.

5. Team Teaching
Both teachers share the planning and instruction of students in a coordinated fashion. In this type of joint planning time, equal knowledge of the content, a shared philosophy, and commitment to all students in the class are critical. Many times teams may not start with this type of format, but over time they can effectively move to this type of co-teaching, if they have continuity in working together across 2-3 years.

Developing a Reflective Framework (University of Kansas)
A reflective framework is simply a tool that consists of questions that you and your co-teacher believe are important to think about related to evaluating your co-teaching. This framework should be based on questions that both teachers believe are important to ensure they are meeting the needs of all students.
Too many times in a co-teaching relationship no clear questions or directions are created for teachers to evaluate, dialogue about, or think about their success or lack of success in co-taught environments. By collaboratively developing a set of guiding questions to be addressed on a regular basis, this tool will allow the team to make changes or further refine their co-teaching throughout the experience.
Steps in Developing Reflective Frameworks (University of Kansas)
1. These frameworks should typically consist of questions that a teacher could address in 5-10 minutes.
2. These frameworks should focus on issues that teachers want to address versus areas they are told to address.
3. The questions within the framework should be developed utilizing collaboration with a peer.
4. These frameworks could change as teachers' needs, students' needs, and the dynamics of the classroom change.
5. Once a teacher feels he/she has mastered the questions within the framework, new questions should be developed, or as new issues arise additional questions should be added.
6. Similar frameworks can be developed for reflective teams to use to evaluate their interactions.
Helpful Questions to Ask when Creating a Reflective Framework (University of Kansas)
  • • Do we both feel comfortable with our roles in the classroom today?
  • • What were the successes of today's lesson?
  • • Who will be responsible for implementing these changes?
  • • Was consensus reached with regard to the final decision?
  • • Are there any issues that we should address to improve our collaborative relationship (e.g., time, grading, role clarification, parental contact, assessment, etc.)?
Creating Your Own Reflective Framework (University of Kansas)
Consider creating your own reflective framework for your co-taught classroom or use the questions initially to assist you in evaluating and communicating about the co-teaching process. One of the key mistakes made in co-teaching is not having a formal evaluative framework in place prior to starting the co-teaching process. The questions you create should be revisited every 4 weeks or less to ensure issues that arise are addressed in an ongoing fashion. You might consider using your reflective framework to guide a blog, either with or between you and your colleague as you reflect on the co-teaching experience.