Team teaching is an innovation in teaching that began in 1954. It is a well-organized system in which a team of instructors collectively impart instructions to a group of students. Here, teachers collaborate in teaching the concept. Hence, team teaching is also referred to as co-teaching or collaborative teaching.
Objectives of Team Teaching
The following are the objectives of collaborative teaching or team teaching.
- To improve the quality of classroom instruction
- To maximize student engagement by encouraging interaction and discussion
- To make the best use of the teachers’ experience and expertise
- To optimize the usage of educational resources in the institution
- To role model team spirit and conflict management
- To instill a sense of responsibility and ownership among teachers in a group
- To enable flexibility in grouping students according to their aptitudes and interest
Characteristics of team teaching
- In team teaching, teachers collaboratively plan, organize, teach and assess the same group of students in the classroom.
- The team can include two or more teachers who can differ in the area of expertise.
- They assume various roles such as strategizing, facilitating, analyzing, and decision making to ensure effective function.
- While planning the lesson, teachers discuss, share insights, and choose the right approach to transact.
- Co-teaching is generally designed for a specific group of students. The grouping of students is flexible based on the level of students.
- The strategy allows more discussions and interaction between the students and teachers.
- All the teachers collectively share the responsibility of teaching in the team. Teachers deploy themselves in specific topics according to their expertise, experience, and line of interest.
- The teaching plan is flexible and modified as per the need and the availability of resources.
Team Teaching approaches
Team teaching refers to organizing teachers in teams to enhance instruction. There can be several models of the team teaching method, depending on the kind of teachers and the role they play in teaching.
- Experienced teachers and fresher teachers
The team of teachers can be a mix of experienced teachers and fresher teachers. When they teach collaboratively and share the responsibilities in the classroom, the fresher teacher learns from the knowledge and skills of the experienced teacher while she offers novel, innovative ideas to the team
- Regular teachers and special educators
Having special educators in the team ensures the inclusion of diverse learners and students with special educational needs
- An interdisciplinary team of teachers
The teaching team need not always be a single discipline. Members of the team may represent different subject expertise. An interdisciplinary team can address the needs of students in teaching concepts that integrate different disciplines.
- Supporting teachers
While co-teaching, there can be one teacher to lead the instruction, and the other can support students who require additional support. The supporting teacher can help in better classroom management and student engagement.
- Division of instructional content
Teachers can divide the instructional content among themselves and teach the same group of students. Each teacher would teach a part of the content and let the other teacher continue with another subtopic. The teachers individually take responsibility for planning and transacting the subtopic.
- Combined teaching
Teachers can collectively share the responsibility of planning and instructing the students. Both teachers teach the topics and are actively involved in managing the classroom.
- Parallel teaching
The class is divided into two groups. Teachers cover the same content simultaneously in different groups.
Advantages of team teaching
- The students can interact with and can learn from the expertise of a diverse team of teachers.
- Traditional teaching methods can be monotonous. Team teaching allows innovation in the classroom and maximizes student engagement.
- By working collaboratively, the teachers model teamwork, interdependence, conflict management, and respecting individual differences. Students learn these skills by observing the teachers.
- Collaborative teaching enables maximum utilization of time and resources.
- It develops a sense of belongingness in teachers as they work closely in a team and share ideas and insights. It encourages creativity and the implementation of novel ideas.
- Team teaching enables better class management. Teachers can attend to individual student needs and address their diverse learning requirements.
- Team teaching is an economical way to maximize learning outcomes.
Teachers have support from their team members to share their burdens. New teachers get enough guidance and handholding from experienced resources.
Disadvantages of team teaching
- The shift from traditional teaching practices to innovative team teaching can be challenging for teachers and students.
- There is a risk of conflict arising between teachers. While team-teaching, teachers need to work in collaboration. The difference in opinion among team members will affect the efficacy of team teaching.
- Team teaching may be a deviation from the regular classes. Teachers may fall behind time to complete the syllabus.
- Since more than one teacher is involved in teaching a group of students, it may be hard to keep track of students’ performance.
- Each team member has a role to play in the teaching process. Delay in the work of one teacher may have a cascading effect on others’ tasks as well.
- It demands more time and effort from teachers.
- It may be challenging for the team members to frame a mutually agreeable lesson plan.
How to make team teaching effective?
- Proper planning is the key to the effectiveness of team teaching. Teachers must meet frequently and plan on each member’s role and responsibilities, the assessment strategy, etc.
- Meticulous documentation at every level is essential.
- Teachers must thoughtfully group the students according to their learning requirements and aptitude.
- The team must be formed keeping the students’ needs in mind.
- Above all, teachers and students must be open-minded and be ready to accept innovative ideas and practices.
Team teaching may have its merits and flaws. However, the effectiveness of any innovation lies in proper planning and implementation. Teachers must weigh the advantages of any novel practice over its defects so that students can have the best learning experience.
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