In chapter 11 Brookfield discusses the idea of teaching in teams. Team teaching is not just about dividing the course up into sections, but also the planning of the course itself and evaluating student work. While this collaborative approach may take more time, you have the advantage of complimenting each other and using different skill sets. One teacher may have a certain style of teaching or way of learning, which they default to in their teaching. Having a mix of teachers means you can apply to a wider variety of learners. A great example of this is introverts and extroverts, an introvert may be able to better connect with introverted learners. While we can all adapt our teaching style, we can’t fundamentally change who we are.
The dynamic that team teaching can create means that students are benefiting from different view points and encourages inquiry from students to come to their own conclusions. As there is no one view of authority, students need to make up their own minds about each of the perspectives the teachers bring.
There are also benefits to teachers in team teachers, the most obvious being that you have back up in the room if you don’t know the answer to a question. It can also just be emotionally comforting to know you are not in it alone. Working alone you may struggle to engage the class, but if you have someone there with you who can back you up when you ask learners questions, can really help. The pairing teacher may be able to phrase the question differently to get a response as they have read the room differently and understand why it’s not working. The team teaching approach also encourages reflection, as you have the opportunity to see how your colleague is interpreting events in the classroom, rather than just your own point of view.
Above is an interesting article of different ways of approaching team teaching. You could also look at team teaching in terms of linking courses and asking students to discuss how courses are linked.
The above article provides a good summary of the benefits of team teaching and how to make it work. I liked the 5 tips to becoming a strong co-teacher.
Five Tips to Becoming a Strong Co-Teacher
- Say this mantra: “All students are our students.”
- Come to planning meetings prepared (with an agenda) to maximize co-planning time.
- If you feel something, say something! Open communication is the key to a successful partnership.
- Realize that the success of your class depends on the strength of your co-teaching relationship.
- Use a variety of co-teaching models to help maintain equality.
Above is a good article to take a look at for some of the disadvantages of team teaching. While team teaching is a great idea and can yield great results, some may just not be right for it. There may be personality clashes or someone may just not want to give up control.
Brookfield, S.D., (2015). The Skillful Teacher: On Technique, Trust, and Responsiveness in the Classroom. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass