By Mary-Anne Jasinski
What does collaborative team teaching look like?
The important elements of team teaching are shared planning, organization, delivery, assessment and physical space. The most important element is shared students.
The way it looks changes throughout a day and from one day to the next. Possibilities include:
different activities in each classroom with children moving between 2 classrooms, choosing the activities they prefer
sometimes 2 teachers teaching side-by-side equally sharing a lesson
sometimes 1 teacher leading and the other prompting or supporting individuals or small groups, maybe even delivering a modified lesson
sometimes each teacher takes a mixed group of children from both classrooms
could involve 2 different language teachers (e.g. Mandarin and English)
could involve a specialist (e.g. P.E.) and a classroom teacher
could be a multi-graded classroom with 1 teacher assigned to each grade and the children mixed (e.g. PK+JK)
could involve 2 teachers of the same grade sharing a large common classroom space
could be 2 teachers splitting the children into separate groups and work spaces for a particular activity or purpose
What are the benefits of collaborative team teaching?
Having two or more minds facilitate a classroom community allows students to connect with different personalities.
Allows more opportunities for small group and one-to-one learning, and stronger modeling during lessons.
Provides more opportunities for specialized or direct instruction when needed.
Encourages two teachers to bounce ideas off each other in order to deliver the strongest, most creative lessons. Allows teachers to be more flexible and creative due to the element of shared planning.
Allows teachers to support each other by complementing each other’s strengths and weaknesses, improving collaboration, and sharing their understanding of the needs of the students.
Allows for more student choice.
Models cooperative behavior and positive peer-to-peer interaction for students.
Why do we have collaborative team teaching at TIS?
At TIS we chose to be leaders in innovative educational practices. Our focus is on student learning and we make changes and seek to improve our practice in ways that support student learning. Team teaching arrangements allow for increased opportunities for knowledge and skill exchanges between students and teachers. They expose children to a wider range of classroom opportunities and for young students they make it easier to support the development of priming skills that get children ready for reading including flexibility, communication, attending behaviors and memory strategies.
TIS is an inclusive learning community in which students in each grade level demonstrate diverse language and learning needs. Collaborative team teaching is just one way in which we adjust our teaching to meet the needs of our learners.