Team Teaching is sometimes called Collaborative Teaching or Cooperative Teaching and involves two or more educators working together to facilitate learning, deliver instruction or training and assessment and provide mentoring and support to the same group of students in a variety of learning environments such as face-to-face, distance or online.
“By its nature, team teaching assumes appropriate involvement of all colleagues in the team and good communication between them.”
For our intents and purposes we’ll focus on a teaching team of two colleagues who may wish to implement some of the teaching team models below:
- One teacher or facilitator can take on the role of leading by presenting new content while the other teacher takes on the supporting role by observing students and providing assistance to those who may be struggling with understanding concepts, finding their way around electronic files, documents or websites etc
- The Lead teacher can present new information or learning material while the supporting teacher revises information presented earlier to help students with learning retention.
- Both teachers rotate between presenting new information and providing support to the students during the same learning session.
- One teacher could provide instruction to the majority of the students while the other works with a small group to work on any problem areas that have been identified.
- The learner group could be divided into two smaller groups with both teachers presenting the same material simultaneously.
If these team teaching models are to be effective the teaching team must model best practice in cooperative team-work to the students. So, what does that involve? Apart from showing respect, being honest and being able to get along with people, the teamwork skills that are necessary for a team to be successful include clear communication, commitment to sharing ideas, performing tasks as and when required, critical thinking, active listening, being ready to resolve conflict and mediate problems that may arise between team members.
Competition has no place in the arena of team teaching. The teachers themselves may be unaware of its existence, but any hint of it will declare itself to the students at a subtle subconscious level, even if not blatantly obvious.
Most teams consist of at least four members, therefore, working in a team of two greatly increases the need for all the above mentioned team skills to be present and highly apparent – all the requirements are concentrated down to two people. It is possible that being in a lead or a support team teaching role may not be the role of choice and could bring up feelings that are difficult to understand, cause confusion in communication or unexpected negative responses. This may be an opportunity for the skills of self-reflection and self-examination to be developed. These skills can serve as great tools for promoting growth in personal emotional intelligence and can only prove to be a positive contribution to the ultimate the success of the team teaching venture
Please feel free to share your thoughts about team teaching or your experiences of team teaching either from a trainer and assessor/teacher/facilitator or student’s point of view.