There are a multitude of co-teaching models that are adapted to the school environment, and very rarely do they seem to stand alone. For example, when I attended kindergarten, our school system utilized these several methods in conjunction with each other: one teach one drift, alternative teaching, and station teaching.
For myself in my own career, there are several methods that appeal to me. The first is team teaching. Team teaching, or tag team teaching, places both teachers in an active instructional role in front of the classroom. The teachers co-teach the lesson, alternating and chiming in as the need arises. According to Morin (2022), team teaching actively models what collaborative work should look like, which helps students be better prepared for group work.
As I teach primarily IT and IT-adjacent business classes at the collegiate level, it is imperative that students witness and prepare for successful group work. Modeling is one of the most crucial elements to effectively teaching students the skills needed to accomplish a task with diverse perspectives (Robinson & Schaibel, 1995). While IT often carries the stereotype of being a “lone wolf” style of career, this is far from the truth. There are many forms of IT careers, and almost every single one heavily relies on efficient group work to accomplish daily tasks. Project managers must collaborate with different departments to ensure deadlines are met, help desk personnel must collaborate with external companies to solve an unusual issue with a printer, and so on. Effective team teaching models the appropriate communication needed to work as a team to accomplish objectives, while also quickly dissolving the illusion that IT professionals work as one-man teams.
Another method that would be incredibly beneficial to implement in my classes would be station teaching. Station teaching is the approach where teachers break up students into groups to accomplish a segmented part of the instructional objective (Eal, 2013).
Reflecting back on my own college experience for software-heavy courses, my professors spent a painful amount of time cycling around the room to help each individual student that was stuck on a specific procedure. Station teaching allows students and faculty to individualize their instruction more effectively (Morin, n.d.). Using one of my coding classes as an example, we can customize stations based on different steps in the coding process. Rather then teachers spending long periods of time with one student, racking their brains to understand where the student made a mistake in their code, the station focuses on one simple block of steps. This method makes more effective use of teacher’s unique strengths for the content, while also helping students learn from each other as the teachers rotate.
Finally, lead and support would be the final method that I would consider adapting to my instructional approach. Lead and support allows for one teacher to instruct the class while an additional teacher breaks out a separate group to cover the same content in a customized way. Station learning can seem initially to be a similar method to this, but station learning pushes students with diverse needs into the same group for a specific objective. Lead and support allows students with similar needs to be grouped together and provided the same content, but with more customized adjustments. IT classes can be a pain point for many students with disabilities. A number of my students relied on specialized software to assist them with accomplishing certain tasks. In my web design class, for example, students may be tasked with mimicking coding instructions that are presented on the screen. For students with visual impairments, this may slow down their work if they rely on read aloud features to read the code to them. These types of differences in instructional format can cause the student to fall behind on the steps if a teacher is not vigilant enough and also slow down the rest of the class – leading to embarrassment and frustration for the disabled student (Lindeman & Magieri, 2014). The lead and support method helps place the student in tailored environment where they can work at their own leisure and feel less stressed.