Co-Teaching and Differentiated Instruction

Along with differentiation, there has been a strong surge toward co-teaching over the past several years.

Teachers who have spent their careers teaching on their own are now finding themselves working in a completely different environment.

Where they were previously the only person responsible for making the teaching decisions in a classroom, they are now expected to collaborate and effectively teach with another professional teacher who may or may not have the same teaching style. This can be a challenge, but it also has massive amounts of potential for making the classroom a better learning environment.

Almost any teacher you ask will say that they could be more effective if their class size was smaller. It only makes sense that more individual attention for each student will mean less students getting lost and falling behind. A co-teaching situation is not simply throwing two teachers into a room together though. Administrators and teachers need to understand that there will have to be adjustments and changes from a traditional one teacher classroom. Teachers will need to have shared planning time and it should be expected that there might be some wrinkles to iron out as the teachers get used to each other and their new shared role in the classroom. Here is a good video that explores some of the things that need to be considered when teachers are entering into a co-teaching situation.

Making the change to a differentiated model of teaching opens up many wonderful possibilities but it is not what most more experienced teachers expected when they entered the field of education. There are some adjustments that will need to be made and teachers need to be willing to relinquish some of the control they may have grown accustomed to having over their years in the classroom. The book shown below is meant to make this transition a smooth one so that both teachers can make the most of their abilities as they work together to plan lessons, group students according to their strengths, and come up with an effective plan for making the very most of the instructional time they share.

The book provides sample differentiated lesson plans that co-teachers can use to guide them as they learn to work together. It also offers tips on classroom essentials like grading, discipline, managing the classroom, utilizing flexible grouping and more.

For administrators, there is information and guidance to help make the switch to a co-teaching model go smoothly. If successful collaboration is expected, it only makes sense that the environment should be conducive to it.

If you would like to learn more, take a peek at this co-teaching handbook (its free!)

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