Brookfield is understandably very passionate about teaching in teams and it is evident throughout this chapter of his book The Skillful Teacher (Brookfield, 2015). I found his excitement contagious as I identify so many student and instructor benefits to this teaching strategy. The table below is a list of the benefits as identified by Brookfield:
|Reaches a Wider Variety of Learners||Provides Emotional Support|
|Models Respectful Disagreement||Develops Trustful Relationships|
|Creates a Learning Environment of Risk and Uncertainty||Creates a Built-in Critically Reflective Mirror|
|Confronts Students with a Broad Variety of Perspectives|
|Demonstrates Synthesis, Connection, and Integration|
|Demonstrates the Importance of Giving Appreciation|
In my research, what I found most powerful, aside from the obvious benefits to students, was the connection that must exist between educators.Team teaching requires educators to do everything together such as planning, instructing, assessing and reviewing course delivery. To do this successfully, a strong commitment to the process is required. The process includes a willingness to get to know each other thereby creating a relationship of mutual respect and trust. Other fundamental elements such as a plan for communication methods, planning & evaluating schedules, and clear roles & responsibilities would need to be discussed and agreed upon. To me, these seem like achievable tasks that if I am committed to the process of team teaching, I am willing to fully participate in.
Where I am feeling a little uneasy, is with the need for each educator to be comfortable to talk about their strengths and weakness as teachers and be open to receiving constructive feedback on performance. With this come the need to be open to discuss and share individual teaching style, philosophy and values. It is possible that with experience this task will become more ‘comfortable’ but as a new educator, I can sense a little intimidation with this type of reflective assessment. I do appreciate the tremendous value from team teaching and the impact it can have on student outcomes so I hope to become more self-assured in my abilities so I can team teach with confidence.
The School of Education at California State University (2015) has outlined six team teaching strategies that I look forward to trying in a classroom. They include:
- One Teach, One Assist – One teacher takes the lead, the second teacher monitors and supports the students allowing the teaching to be uninterrupted yet student support is provided.
- One Teach, One Observe – One teacher acts as the primary teacher and the other gathers observational data on student learning. This helps to identify if teaching strategies are meeting the variety of student learning needs.
- Parallel teaching – Class is divided in half and the same lesson is taught by each teacher. The main benefit is the reduction in student/teacher ratio.
- Alternative (Differentiated) Teaching – Class is split into two groups, one larger and one smaller group that typically is working on specialized task.
- Station Support Teaching – Course content is divided into separate parts and is taught by separate teachers at stations. Teachers are able to address several areas of the curriculum as small groups move from station to station. Student/teacher ratio is improved with this strategy.
- Team Teaching – Two teachers share the lead role with one class group. The ability to collaborate is demonstrated to students.
Brookfield, S.D. (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom (3rd ed). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
Team Teaching (Video File). (2015, July 22). Retrieved February 16, 2017, from: https://youtu.be/RWB8cg0K3DE?list=PLCDsTyftAA2D_buI_Rti5phLZ1DdFsAMc