Co Teaching Models | Overview of Key Concepts

What is Co-Teaching

Co-teaching is an instructional method in which two or more educators collaborate to plan, teach, and engage students in the same physical classroom using one of several co teaching models available. Also known as “push-in teaching,” co-teaching is frequently used in inclusion classrooms where both general population learners and special education students learn together.  In these contexts, a general education teacher may co-teach alongside an English Language Learner (ELL) specialist or a special education teacher. This one of the co teaching models allows for extra support for students with additional learning needs, and teachers can differentiate learning material based on the differing levels in the classroom.

Benefits of Co-Teaching

Co-teaching holds benefits for both students and teachers as can be viewed in the list below of co teaching models.

First, co-teaching can help ensure that special education students remain in general education classrooms, have access to the same curriculum as their peers, and are not isolated according to learning needs. This reduces stigma, promotes a more cohesive school community, and provides more opportunities for social interactions with peers.

For example, a history classroom may have a co-teaching team if it includes both students who are English Language Learners as well as the general population. A co-teaching team made up of a history teacher and an ELL specialist would ensure that non-native English speakers can interact with peers, practice their English, and learn from the same curriculum as their classmates.  General education students, likewise, benefit from the diverse perspective of ELL classmates.

The general education learners also benefit in other ways. History lessons will draw on the strengths and ideas of both teachers, and are therefore more interactive and can apply to a variety of students’ learning styles. The co-teaching model also reduces the student to teacher ratio, allowing all students to receive more individualized instruction and build relationships with teachers.

Teachers can also reap the benefits of a co-teaching team. Teachers are able to learn from one another’s teaching methods, monitor and respond to student behavior, and provide and receive professional feedback.

Co Teaching Models:

Co-teaching teams can choose a variety of formats to best support students in their classroom using one of the co teaching models below.

One Teaches, One Observes

In this method, one teacher provides the bulk of instruction while the other observes the students at work. This method is used when the two teachers are hoping to gain insights into student’s behavior, work, or understanding, and allows one teacher to make observations and collect data throughout the lesson.

Station Teaching:

In station teaching, the two teachers break the class up into two or three different groups, all circled around different “stations” that present material in different formats. Teachers run two of the stations, while students lead other stations themselves. This method allows co-teachers to engage students through targeted teaching styles, promotes collaborative group work, and reduces the student to teacher ratio.

Parallel Teaching:

In this model, the teachers break the students up into two different groups in the classroom. Both teachers deliver the same content, but utilize different teaching styles that are tailored to the unique needs of students. For instance, one teachers’ lesson might include more visual components and easier texts for students with reading challenges, while the other included more difficult texts on the same subject.

Alternative Teaching:

In an alternative teaching setting, the two teachers work to identify students who are most at-risk of falling behind in the classroom. One teacher leads a small group session with at-risk students, while the other continues to provide the curriculum at an accelerated pace to the rest of the class.

Teaming:

The “two bodies, one brain approach,” teaming involves both teachers delivering the same content together. One teacher might facilitate a discussion with the students, while the other writes notes on the board or draws out key themes as their co-teachers speaks.  

One Teaching, One Assisting

In this format, one teacher is the primary instructor, while another teacher floats throughout the room to assist students. For example, one teacher may give the bulk of the lesson, while another rotates among the students, monitors their work, re-directs students who have lost attention, and answers questions students might have. This allows the first teacher to focus on providing high quality instruction, while the second focuses on promoting positive behavior and helping students with challenges.

Challenges of Co-teaching

And while co-teaching can benefit both students and teachers, it is not without its challenges.

Some co-teachers can feel as though there is a lack of parity between the “lead teacher” and the “support teacher.” If students believe that one teacher is the primary instructor, while the other is merely an assistant, students may choose to only listen to or respect the lead teacher.

Co-teachers might also disagree on different modes of instruction, behavior management, and teaching methodologies. Constant communication is necessary to ensure that teachers have a shared understanding of the lesson plan.

Co-teaching also raises challenges in evaluating students. Co-teachers must decide if both teachers grade all the students’ work, if they split grading, and what to do if they disagree on a student’s evaluation.

Tips for Successful Co-Teaching

Many of these challenges can be mitigated through strong communication, planning, and reflection.

Strong communication begins with the teachers knowing one another personally, and taking time to establish rapport and respect between each other. Co-teachers should take time to discuss what makes them feel respected, what is most likely to make them angry, and how disagreements should be solved if they arise during class. Co-teachers must constantly negotiate between differences in teaching styles, and appreciate and learn from each other’s ideas.

Strong co-teachers also plan together before the class begins. By establishing clear roles and responsibilities for the lesson beforehand, co-teachers can ensure that their strengths compliment one another and that there is parity in the classroom. Teachers should also plan how to respond to behavior challenges in the classroom. Teachers can post clear rules and consequences in the classroom, and use these as visual references. Clearly set rules and expectations communicate to students that the co-teachers are an equal team, and that both are responsible for managing the classroom.

Finally, co-teaching teams should take time to hold regular reflections together. Reflections can happen during planning periods, at the end of the day, or at the end of the week. Reflections are an opportunity to discuss what went well during a class and what can be improved, and provide a continuous feedback loop so that teachers can improve.

Conclusion

Co-teaching can be an effective strategy for differentiating lesson plans and creating a supportive, inclusive space. Co-teaching teams may utilize any of the six methods listed above, and adapt their strategies based on their learner’s needs. In doing so, co-teaching teams can be a support system for teachers, and promote equality and inclusivity for special education students. 

Key Traits of a Successful Educator and Related Teaching Synonyms

Lessons Learned ~ The Art of Educating

Let’s consider the characteristics, which can be thought of as teaching synonyms, of our ‘best’ teachers. It is an important exercise because teacher characteristics are essential indicators of student success. What characteristics do we know teachers should possess that translate to student success? Or, if doctors could prescribe teacher characteristics to ensure well-adjusted students, what might those teachers be like? What is a teaching synonym? What’s the prescription for creating classrooms filled with eager learners who will be productive members of this fast-changing world?

Indicators of Student Success

Students of the 21st century must question, solve problems, they should be able to work on projects (often in collaboration), and we want them to find passion and dream of a better future. We might place these character traits under an umbrella called self-empowerment. Educators play a vital role in forming success for our youth. Success is found in teacher characteristics. First, teachers must possess knowledge of pedagogy. But that’s knowledge, not a character trait.

Perhaps the greatest gift the educator can bestow—or, develop in students—is to advocate in all they do toward building self-empowered learners, kids flexible in their responses to change. This takes time as well as patience, but developing self-empowerment and flexibility in youth depends on educators equipped with important qualities. Effective educator character traits might surprise you.

Building Relationships

We know that relationships are built on trust. Students must trust that their teachers respect them, that teachers respect each other, and—above all—teachers are inspired by the job they’ve chosen. These are affective characteristics, and they tend to be observable by others. Relationship building lies upon foundations of caring, kindness, motivations, and honesty. This is communicated to students in actions and it’s even articulated in voice. Educators speak from humility in a manner reflecting devotion to others.

Desiring to learn others’ perspectives helps teachers form their own visions, and the best teachers’ visions involve elevating others’ successes. In the classroom, we see this in acts of questioning over telling. It is further observed in being patient because respect does not come quickly, and the impatient teacher will sow student outcomes of frustration and feelings of inadequacy.

This is not to say that the educator doesn’t allow a student to fail. Instances of failure are learning opportunities. We have all failed in some manner. The patient and respectful teacher will admit obvious failings: “Guys, I forgot the equipment, I’m sorry, and I’ll pack it in the car as soon as I get home.” Such is a moment of building trust and building relationships.

Relationships expand from the classroom, as all trusting teachers soon learn, when during meetings with family members, that teacher’s words are related back by smiling parents, and in voice and manner oddly sounding like the teacher’s own.

One cannot cite relationships without discussing approachability. The manner in which family members approach the educator are noticeably reflective of students’ relationships with their teachers. Families expressly know teachers’ values through student-instructor interpersonal relationships; they hear those values from their young. They understand, too, that despite circumstances, the relationship-building teacher will always work to elevate those with whom s/he works, it is obvious in all acts and mannerisms of the educator. They will observe, too, that their young are blossoming: the positive relationships with teachers beget positive relationships with others. The result is happiness, a satisfaction with learning and being, and an anticipation to be in school to share the joy of learning, endeavoring to learn and know more, of course.

Inquisitiveness

The inquisitive mind—always questioning, always wondering—is a learner for life. Lifelong learning is appropriate. It is a positive educator characteristic indeed. Why? An inquisitive mind translates to respect for learning, an excellent example for youth to see in their adult cohorts. Moreover, remember young children we have known, their penchant for questioning, forever questioning, is their initial learning mode.

Yet, we too often observe the questions diminish, almost as if the onset of mid-childhood brings closure; the children questioned, they found the answer (or did not), so be it. “We’re done.” Such logic was fine a century ago, perhaps, but it is essential now to instill a love of learning through inquisitiveness.

A lack of inquisitiveness inhibits learning, we know, but we live among innovators who insist we adapt to changing needs and new technologies. Some might feel secure in their work knowledge, skills, and abilities, but how might they adapt to having to learn new skills when change disrupts their security? They’ve not wondered for some time, there was no need. School was the time for learning, pondering is for philosophers, they assume.

The inquisitive teacher, though, exhibits the beauty of wonder, of pondering, of wanting to know, and the excitement of inquisitive minds, of examining what, how, and why extends learning within its most natural environment, the classroom. If a teacher asks the first-graders to name the weather, will teacher extend the learning to also ask how and why? The best educators will.

Preparation and Organizational Skills

Preparation and organization are essential within the busy classroom-learning environment. Anything less can make for frenzied frustration. Substitutes can spot prep and organization in a minute. The day’s work is laid out (often in a bucket), student seating is tidy (just don’t look inside desks), preferably as group configurations (best for collaborative work), counters and floors are free of piles. The importance here is that teachers must be able to access daily work and filed information quickly.

Imagine a lesson, a class studying erosion. Discussion leads to sand’s properties, and the teacher recalls an instructive poem (Sand, by Meish Goldish), but forgets its name. Therefore, he is unable to quickly search the Internet. But, poems can be systematically filed in a cabinet or on his computer. The organized teacher’s  search produces the poem in seconds, and learning’s flow, like sand’s expected response to water, naturally continues.

Each day progresses with potential that teacher’s desk will be strewn with clutter. Here’s an easy rule the organized teacher practices: quickly go through the mess and determine its fate by choosing to either

Act on it

File it

Toss it

“Ta dah,” the work of learning continues.

Know the Students

Everyone learns in different ways; some students are spatial learners who struggle learning by words. Others possess mathematical minds and may also prefer to learn on their own, Howard Gardner theorized learning modalities in his theory of Multiple Intelligences.

Though people learn within a blend of various intelligences, teachers must attend to all the needs of all students.

There really isn’t a stereotypical learner; therefore, savvy educators adapt strategies that best meet all student needs. Doing this is possible, and here’s how. The teacher adapts learning experiences to meet the needs of all students. Teaching targets many learning styles and student needs as students move, discuss, sing, organize, work individually and in groups, express their learning in word, music, diagram or puzzle, movement, performance, and more.

But, are basic needs of sleep and nutrition being met? Meeting those needs takes inquiry and observation. It takes time. Knowing students’ physical needs and learning styles provides guidance and direction, and it’s a characteristic that leads to successful learning for all.

Persist with Passion in Subject(s)

There’s bound to be times when teachers realize that their notion of subject matter falls short. The well-intentioned preparation is askew; students do not understand and instructors struggle to make sense of what exactly it is they are meant to teach. This is a learning experience, and it’s actually a great opportunity to model learning.

It is difficult to thoroughly know a subject matter. A microscopic view of various routes the teacher takes to rectify a lack of knowledge is instructive.

 A teacher might generalize their response, especially at the elementary level, because there are so many subjects and concepts that teachers need to know; how can they digest every concept in depth? It is unrealistic to expect teachers to know everything about every subject.

But here’s an opportunity that all teachers should embrace. Questioning one’s knowledge out loud lets students know that it is okay—even good—to want to know more. The teacher is poised here to question out loud, to demonstrate how we question, what types of questions lead to gaining more knowledge. The educator who models questioning techniques is an excellent example for students who learn decision-making that surrounds questioning activities.

We can make a good prognosis for our kids’ futures. Upon close observation, we see the problems of overcrowding and overburdening, but some hopeful signs exist for our kids’ learning. Simply observe the best teachers.

Doctors will tell you that looking into the eyes reveals much about the health of the patient. We need only peer into the eyes of students whose teachers possess outstanding pedagogical characteristics. What we’ll see is sparkle and excitement. We’ll see questioning eyes, purposeful eyes that reflect confidence.

And when we look into the eyes of the successful teacher, we will see questioning eyes, reflections of pondering, “How can I make learning better for my students?”

Who Invented the Cell Phone & the Remarkable History of It

Most of us have them; previous generations like to tell us how well they got along without them; but millions of us can hardly remember living life without them! The cell phone is, perhaps, one of the most influential developments in technology to the mass consumer in the last 50 years. The luxury of having a fully functional computer and communication device that fits in your pocket is undeniably convenient, and it’s made all of our lives easier (even grandma’s as she checks up on the tennis scores, the weather, and her grandchildren on social media).

While most of us use them everyday, many of us perhaps do not know the extent of their humble beginnings, and how the modern-day cell phone came to exist. Well, that’s exactly what we are going to discuss in this post.

Who Invented the Cell Phone

As most of us are aware, the first telephone was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876; and he could not have imagined that his already remarkable invention would be the foundation upon which one of the most competitive and evolving industries would be built.

In the early 1900s, a man named Reginald Fessenden (a brilliant Canadian who was the founding father of radio communications) made the first voice transmission, via radio waves, across the Atlantic Ocean. This limited but exciting leap in technology would serve as the inspiration for the modern, wireless communication we take for granted today!

Almost half a century later (1947), an engineer named William Rae Young suggested that if radio broadcast towers were arranged into the shape of a hexagon, they could potentially support a wireless telephone network!

Not too long after that, a company called Bell Laboratories (known today as AT&T) offered their customers “Radio Telephones”. Whilst exciting to think about, the technology was very limited. The prehistoric network was unable to handle more than a handful of calls at a time, which meant that customers often had to wait for other conversations to end before being able to make their own calls. Not to mention, this ‘portable’ telephone weighed a jaw-dropping 80 lbs! Certainly not the convenient, hand-held super computers we are accustomed to today.

In the swinging 60s, two engineers working for Bell Laboratories (AT&T) named Richard H Frenkiel & Joel S Engel, were in charge of developing the tech to support and surpass William Young’s original cellular network concept. However, while Bell Labs was patiently awaiting permission to move forward with their design from the FCC, a man named Martin Cooper (an executive with rival company: Motorola) beat them to the punch in the early seventies.

The person who invented the cell phone was Martin Cooper and was in charge of the team that designed the great grandpa of cell phones. The device which most of us recognize from 80s movies and television. It was called the DynaTAC 8000x, and was released by Motorola in 1983. It cost $4000, and this “portable device” was a not-so-convenient 9 inches long, and weighed almost as much as a toaster! (2.5 lbs, to be exact). Hefty, but definitely better than an 80-lb behemoth!

As one final jab between competitors, one of the first cellular calls from the person who invented the cell phone, Martin Cooper, made on this ground-breaking device was to rival, Joel Engel (one of the engineers from Bell Laboratories) for some good-natured heckling- Harsh!

Cell phones continued to evolve through the next few decades by leaps and bounds, and more and more consumers realized the benefit of owning one of these little mobile phones! Let’s delve now into a few of the more major cell phone advancements, and the popular releases, over the past 3 decades!

The Evolution of the Cell Phone

Motorola’s initial DynaTAC 8000x was the modern cell phones ancient ancestor, and for a couple of decades, Motorola and Nokia would become the titans of the cellular market, producing mobile phones with almost constant advancements in technology. Here are some of the milestone devices that have lead to where we are today.

The Motorola International 3200 was released in 1992 with an 8 hour battery life, and was a great deal more compact than its predecessor. This size alteration would be just the beginning of cellular companies striving for sleeker and sleeker designs throughout the years.

In 1993, a company called Bellsouth released the IBM Simon Personal Communicator, which was the first PDA device to incorporate mobile communication capabilities! It also had a touch-screen! Sadly, the device’s battery life was barely an hour. But, hey, that’s still a LOT of tech crammed into such a tiny machine!

Motorola came back with another innovator in the form of their StarTAC! Released in 1996, this was the first mobile flip phone ever, and it was one of the first phones with a digital display screen! Talk about compact and futuristic!

In the same year, the Nokia 8110 arrived on the scene with its eye-catching curves! This uniquely designed phone (called the ‘banana phone’) was made famous by being used in the Matrix movie!

1996 seemed to be a big year for cell phone tech, and the 9000i Communicator was Nokia’s very first smartphone. It sported a CPU from Intel 386, clamshell design, a full keyboard, digital display, and was the first phone capable of sending short SMS messages (AKA, texting had been born!)

In 1999, the Nokia 7110 was released as the first mobile phone with a WEB BROWSER! That’s right, the power of the internet was not just at our fingertips… but could be kept in our pockets!

While this next phone was mostly sold in Europe, the Benefon ESC that was also released in 1999, and it was the first phone with GPS integration! For those of us who are directionally challenged, we thank you, Benefon!

Samsung made a name for itself in the cell phone industry by releasing it’s SPH-M100 Uproar. This fellow ‘99 mobile was the first cell phone to be MP3 compatible! Nothing like being able to listen to your favorite ‘90s hits and call your BFF all on the same device.

In 2001, the Nokia 5510 countered Samsung with their full QWERTY keyboard and 64MB capacity for music! Our taste for multi-featured devices was becoming clear, and the industry was listening.

The Ericsson T39 was released in 2001. Sporting a compact design and one of the fastest web browsing capabilities. It was also the first mobile phone with Bluetooth!

In 2002, the Nokia 7650 (featured in the film: Minority Report) and the Sanyo SCP-5300 were not just stylish little phones, but also the very first phones with a built-in camera! They might have been a lot more challenging back then, but the Selfie-craze could now commence! Capturing moments with your friends and family no longer needed to be missed because the big, clunky camera was forgotten at home!

2003 was the year the infamously popular Blackberry was released! It’s first iteration was the Quark 6210, and it had optimized the integration of PDA and Phone compatibility. Before the iPhone, Blackberries were the devices everyone wanted! You were quite the hot-shot if you pulled one of these out of your pocket!

A couple of popular 2000s phones most of us might recall, especially if you were a teenager at the time, were the Motorola Razors and the LG Chocolates! These phones were sleek, attractive and pretty reliable. The Razor had multiple iterations, one of which was released later on with metal parts, which made it even more durable.

And now, we have arrived… the beginning of what modern consumers would recognize as the smartphone. The company and the device that pretty much everyone has heard of. That’s right, it’s 2007, and the first Apple iPhone was released. With a touchscreen display, 128Mb of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, MP3 compatibility (of course), and more… what most consider the Alpha and Omega of mobile communication devices was born. If only Martin Cooper- let alone Alexander Graham Bell– could have imagined what the modest dream of long-distance communication would become. Only a year later, in 2008, Apple would release a new iteration of its device, called the iPhone 3G. This smartphone won acclaim and popularity thanks to its introduction of the “APP STORE”!

A couple of years later, in 2010, Samsung would release its Galaxy S. A fantastic device with 16GB or storage, 0.3 megapixel camera, and the Android OS, developed by Google! As most of us know, the next decade would be dominated by Samsung and Apple when it came to the cell phone market; and devices like the Google Pixel would begin to gain modest traction and popularity due to its fantastic hardware, storage, and camera.

All the while, companies like Motorola and Nokia, once the behemoths of the industry, had faded in popularity.

Back to the Present and Into the Future

The potential of the mobile phone is one that continues to grow and advance at a record pace. Our modern tastes continue to favor sleek designs, while we’re beginning to distance ourselves from compact sizes. Where once it was “the smaller the better”, in a bit of an ironic twist, consumers have now begun to prefer a nice large screen, as our desire to view and record media becomes a highly desired feature in our devices.

Many of us are now able to conduct most of our daily business in the palm of our hand; whether it be sending business emails, buying movie tickets, recording videos for vlogs, or even blogging, itself! The humble beginning of the mobile phone was a technological advancement that has improved our day to day lives, and we can only imagine what the future holds.