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Team Teaching and Teaching Assistants

25/02/15

As a new teacher still finding their feet in the world of teaching, the thought of team teaching or teaching with an assistant in the classroom can be quite daunting. But, over the years, as I developed my confidence in the classroom, I began to realise that having support in the classroom was crucial in helping all students achieve their potential.

I’ve learnt that there are a number of strategies that can be employed when there are two educational facilitators in the classroom. Here are some scenarios which I have found work best for me, depending on the circumstances:

  • Both teachers divide the content and skills to be taught. Students rotate through ‘stations’ managed by the teacher. Eventually all students participate in all ‘stations’.
  • One teacher provides the core content while one provides supplementary instruction to the less able students.
  • Split the instructional tasks, with each teacher taking responsibility for specific groups of students so that they can vary the tasks as needed.
  • Both teachers jointly plan the instruction, and deliver it to half of the class each, in a format that suits their specific students.

I have found the advice of Greg Conderman, Val Bresnahan and Theresa Pedersen to be very useful when I co-teach a class or when I have an assistant supporting me in the classroom. The table below is modified from their resource, Purposeful Co-Teaching: Real Cases and Effective Strategies, By Greg Conderman, Val Bresnahan, EdD, Special Education Teacher, Theresa Pedersen, Corwin Press, 15 Oct 2008.

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