Co-teaching: Roles and Responsibilities
It is very important that two teachers who are planning to teach together, spend some
time determining roles and responsibilities for each teacher in planning instruction,
in delivering instruction, and in assessing students. To access the power that two teachers
with different expertise can bring to the learning environment, it is important to identify
strengths, concerns, and differences in teaching styles. For example, it may be very
important to you that grading not be done in red pen. I may have skills in developing
cooperative learning activities. We need to know these things about each other.
We recommend two activities to get to know each other as co-teaching partners. First,
observe in each other's classroom to get a sense of how one interacts with students and
manages instruction and learning. Second, sit down and have one, or more than one,
conversation about teaching and learning. This learning object will help you plan this
A potential agenda for a conversation with your co-teaching partner follows. You do not need
to discuss all of these items, or even do this at one sitting. The list is meant to be
comprehensive. Select those items that you (and your partner) would like to talk about. You
have an opportunity to make notes so that you address all topics of concern to each of you. Print
off your agenda, send it by e-mail to your partner, then sit down and have a conversation. You will
learn a lot about each other. You might do this activity with your partner at regular intervals as
a means of reviewing how each individual is feeling about the shared responsibilities in the classroom.
Each teaching partnership will operate somewhat differently. However, it is not a good use of
instructional expertise to relegate one teacher to the role of "aide." Therefore, use this strategy
as a means of identifying how responsibilities will be shared.
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