Alva Roy Hanson Jr.
Definition of Co-Teaching
Co-teaching is a model that emphasizes collaboration and communication among all members of a team to meet the needs of all students. Two teachers are equally qualified and equally responsible for the teaching within the joint class. For interdisciplinary co-teaching, the two teachers should be skilled in two different subjects (for example, Alva Hanson is a science teacher and Patricia Sorrentino is an English teacher). The needs for successful co-teaching are communication between co-teachers, administrative support, similar philosophies, and common planning time.
The Purpose of Co-Teaching
These co-teachers come together for a common purpose, typically to meet a wide range of learners more effectively. These teams may have a long-term agenda for working together (an entire academic year) or short-term agendas for working together (completing a unit together, science project, etc.). The purpose for interdisciplinary co-teachers is to bring two teachers with different skill sets into one class for better classroom management, higher student engagement, and deeper learning for students.
How Co-Teaching Works
Two teachers from different disciplines have to decide they can work well with each other inside and outside of the classroom. Then they have to decide what topic they want to teach and what parts of the unit each teacher is responsible for. The most importance piece of scheduling for this type of co-taught class is knowing which course credit each student needs. For example, in our co-taught class, students who need a science credit are enrolled with the science teacher, Alva Hanson, while students who need an English credit are enrolled with the English teacher, Patricia Sorrentino. Once the pair of teachers is established, students are enrolled, and a unit is developed, the class can run smoothly. Students will be able to learn the material with an in-depth focus of two different disciplines.