Co-teaching involves two instructors who collaboratively design and teach a course. I’ve experienced this practice twice an undergraduate, but overall it’s less common in higher education. This practice could be especially important for professions like nursing or social work where it’s more common that you’re working with a team of professionals instead of individually.
Previous work noted that there are some potential benefits to co-teaching like students are exposed to different points of view and an enlarged knowledge base. Students also have different role models from a single course, and they can see teamwork unfold in real time. This is of course assuming that an effective co-teaching model has been constructed. If an effective co-teaching model is in place, “observing teachers interacting with one another provides a model for students on how to enter into professional relationships and to manage differences in values and opinions while maintaining mutual respect and openness” (Lock et al., 2018, p. 40).
These notions motivated Lock et al. (2018) to investigate how co-teaching influences learning. Their mixed method design study was conducted in a “Nurse as Educator” course over 3 semesters. They had student and instructor participants take part in interviews. Students were interviewed twice – once immediately following the course and 4 months later. Data was also collected from two assignments administered during the course.
Overall, students responded well to the co-teaching model in the classroom. From the interviews, it was apparent that students valued the different pedagogical approaches adopted by the three instructors, and students appreciated how different perspectives can be shared and respected in a thoughtful way. Additionally, students showed through their partner projects that the co-teaching model in the course was influencing the interactions in their groups. Their comments demonstrated that they were going to respect their partner’s expertise and be cooperative when designing their lesson plans. Further, students mentioned that their using co-teaching in partner projects helped them identify their own strengths and weaknesses.
The authors went on to give recommendations for future instructors who are considering co-teaching. From my experiences as a student and after reading this article, I’m ready to give co-teaching a try. I’ve thought about trying it previously, but as a graduate student, I don’t have that kind of decision power currently. However, it was exciting to see an article investigating its influence on learning, but also encourage its implementation across all of higher education.
Has anyone co-taught a course before? I'd love to hear your take! Please comment below!
written by Jen Blush
Lock, J., Rainsbury, J., Clancy, T., Rosenau, P., & Ferreira, C. (2018). Influence of Co-teaching on Undergraduate Student Learning: A Mixed-Methods Study in Nursing. Teaching & Learning Inquiry, 6(1), 38-51.