Co-Teaching in the Classroom

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Co-Teaching in the Classroom

Co-teaching is a strategy in which teachers pair up to share responsibilities of the classroom. Co-teaching partnership usually exists between general and special education teachers.

Why Co-teach?

Co-teaching helps teachers to:

  • Build and strengthen student-teacher relationships as it allows for more individualized attention
  • Provide specialized instructions to students based on their learning styles
  • Improve teaching practices by sharing feedback and constructive criticisms
  • Plan, structure and implement more creative and innovative lesson plans and activities as it facilitates sharing and discussion of ideas.

The practice enables students with disabilities to access the general educational program, actively participate in class activities, and gain independence in the classroom.

Problem Areas

Although co-teaching is a useful and effective strategy, there are sometimes obstacles when working with others to manage a classroom.

  1. Teachers may need to adjust their teaching style and practices to work effectively with their co-teachers. They may need to discuss, compromise and decide on a teaching style best suited to their students’ needs.
  2. Student and academic goals should be framed in consensus and teachers must dedicate themselves to attaining these goals.
  3. The power balance between co-teachers may seem unbalanced. It is important for teachers to respect each other, and provide only constructive criticism.

Successful Co-teaching Factors

The process of co-teaching involves the intermingling of two different styles and methods of teaching. Here are some factors that contribute to successfully merging teaching styles:


Teachers need to communicate clearly with each other to effectively plan and teach. It’s also important to share individual student goals with co-teachers, and in cases of students with special needs, the modifications and adaptations required by the student.


The presence of two teachers in the classroom can be confusing for students. Be sure to organize the schedules, class activities, lesson plans, and even space and supplies to allow for undisturbed and synchronized teaching.


Teachers should be flexible enough to change or accommodate changes to plans and practices accordingly when the need arises.


In co-teaching, both teachers have equal roles in the classroom. This should be communicated to both students and their parents. Teachers need to respect and accept that they are both equally responsible and accountable to the overall academic performance of students.

Roles and Responsibilities:

Teachers may discuss and divide roles and responsibilities of the classroom between themselves. They can work out a schedule and alternate between tasks when needed. This helps to create a productive teaching partnership by allowing teachers to set up the classroom roles based on their strengths and interests.

Co-teaching enables teachers to use their expertise and strengths to enrich learning and to create a positive and inclusive classroom environment for students with diverse needs.


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