Team Teaching

Team teaching is a teaching technique that involves teachers joining forces to plan, conduct and evaluate the learning activities for a group of pupils. This concept provides for an improved and more complete class experience by combining the knowledge and skills of several educators. Usually, the process engages between two and five teachers. In cases that it requires even more than three, a group leader has to be chosen to take charge of internal operations.

This way of tuition enables lecturers to develop new teaching approaches, creates a supportive environment for them to work in and helps them overcome academic isolation. The greatest advantage of team teaching for students is that it boosts their level of understanding of the lecture material and introduces them to different points of view and opinions. In addition, it teaches students how to cooperate successfully with others as they watch the educators partner during classes.

The biggest disadvantage is that the preparation and consultation process prior to the actual lecture takes too much time out of the teacher's schedule. There are also disadvantages for students as some of them may find it confusing to encounter more than one viewpoint regarding an issue that is being discussed during lectures. Moreover, some students may feel uncomfortable in large groups as they get less attention than they hope for.

There are various ways and methods to carry out the particular process. Sharon A. Maroney (1995), Betty Robinson and Robert M. Schaible (1995) and Karin Goetz (2007) identify six types of team teaching.

First is Traditional Team Teaching which calls for the teachers to share planning, lecturing and grading responsibilities. In this case, all teachers involved are in the classroom, but only one is engaged in presenting the material to the students, while the other one writes on the blackboard or sets up a concept map on the overhead projector to make things easier to comprehend.

Then comes Collaborative Team Teaching which is quite similar to the traditional model but instead of a monologue, the learners witness a discussion of ideas and theories between the presenting teachers.

The third type is called Complimentary or Supportive Instruction. When using this method the teachers allocate their duties so that one of them lectures while the other one conducts follow-up instructional activities.

Another type of team teaching is the Parallel Instruction where the learners are being divided into smaller groups, each of which is then instructed on the same content by one of the teachers. With this method lecturers are free to walk around and consult each student individually in order to achieve better results.

The Differentiated Split Class teaching model also involves a similar strategy, but in this case pupils are split up based on their learning needs or their strengths and weaknesses. For example, the students who perceive the new content more quickly form one group, while those who need additional instructions create a separate one. The educators then take responsibility for teaching each group depending on its needs.

In the last approach, known as Monitoring Teacher, as one teacher engages in instructing the students, without dividing them into groups, the other one circulates the classroom and observes learners' understanding and behavior. This type of team teaching may be used during a lab experiment as the first teacher would introduce students with the step-by-step process while the other assists them with their individual work.

The choice of a team teaching method which is to be used during classes depends on the strengths of the educators as well as on what they decide is best for the learners. If necessary, they may agree on using a combination of several approaches for the same class period. All of the models require that the teachers are in the same class room at the same time.

However, there are team teaching models in which the instructors collaborate on several aspects of the program but do not tutor the same people simultaneously. For example, the teachers may jointly plan and organize their curriculum, share teaching ideas and common resource materials but still lecture independently. Sometimes only one educator is engaged in planning the instructional activities for the entire group. This method is most often used when there is financial limitation or a lack of time.

Team Teaching: Selected full-text books and articles

Handbook of College Teaching: Theory and Applications By Keith W. Prichard; R. McLaran Sawyer Greenwood Press, 1994
Librarian's tip: Chap. 8 "Team-Teaching Methods"
Team Teaching and Learning in Adult Education By Mary Jane Eisen; Elizabeth J. Tisdell Jossey-Bass, 2000
Making Collaborative Teaching More Effective for Academically Able Students: Recommendations for Implementation and Training By Gerber, Paul J.; Popp, Patricia A Learning Disability Quarterly, Vol. 23, No. 3, Summer 2000
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Transforming Teacher Education: Lessons in Professional Development By Hugh T. Sockett; Elizabeth K. Demulder; Pamela C. Lepage; Diane R. Wood Bergin & Garvey, 2001
Librarian's tip: "Collaborative Teaching and University Evaluations" begins on p. 191
Inclusive Education: A Casebook and Readings for Prospective and Practicing Teachers By Suzanne E. Wade Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Librarian's tip: "Team-Teaching" begins on p. 87
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