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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Why Employ a Shared Teaching Model?

Teaching well is a team sport.

Together we can best teach students if we maximize our collective strengths, time, and investment. That's why we are employing a team teaching model at fifth grade.

By employing a team teaching model we are able to teach with greater depth and strength for the following reasons:
  • By reducing the number of subjects each teacher is responsible for, we are increasing the depth and attention to each subject. For example since I am not teaching five subjects and focusing on two, I can give those two subjects more time and attention.
  • By teaching a lesson multiple times a day, I am strengthening my ability to teach the lesson and subject matter. When my teaching is stronger, students' learning is stronger too.
  • All students at the grade-level are getting the same program. This creates a greater sense of team amongst all teachers, students, and family members at the grade-level. This sense of team creates greater share, discussion, and learning for all.
  • Our teaching team time is spent focusing on the learners and what they need. Together we assess the data, analyze our approaches, and discuss optimal ways to meet all students' needs. This share results in a greater ability to teach well with the advantage of multiple experiences, perspectives, and ideas.
  • Our Response to Intervention (RTI) time gives us a chance to strategically and flexibly group students and teachers to best help all students reach grade-level and enrichment goals and standards in engaging and empowering ways. 
  • The fact that we work together eliminates the isolation of one-teacher-one-classroom, and less isolation means more share and more share leads to stronger, better ideas and efforts for all. Less isolation also serves to heighten enthusiasm and energy for the job too. 
A recent survey of the team teaching approach received strong approval from the students, family members, educators, and leaders who completed the survey. This approval demonstrated that our approach has made a solid, positive start. There were also some comments that pointed to areas for improvement and growth, comments that we'll respond to in the coming weeks via whole class discussions, parent conferences, and teaching team meetings. Our goal is to best serve students and their families, and with this goal in mind, we will take every comment on the survey seriously. We recognize that a good teaching/learning model is one that continually develops to best meet the needs and interests of students. 

We feel that our model is a positive model for teaching students well. It has the right mix of focused, targeted learning/teaching for each subject and for each student. Since the model is new, we continue to develop our work in response to standards-based assessments, attitudinal surveys, observation, and the expectations, ideas, and questions of colleagues, family members, students, and leaders.

Team teaching replaces the isolation of one-teacher-one-classroom with a vibrant, dedicated teaching team. The approach also includes the use of multiple positive structures that support optimal student learning and quality teaching. Structures such as those listed below support the model. 
  • Classrooms are focused on one or two content areas thus providing more space for materials, furniture, and organization that match the content area focus.
  • Professional Learning Community (PLC) meetings give teachers time to meet and discuss the overall program expectations, student needs, and proactive response.
  • Special educator/classroom teacher planning meetings help us to meet the needs of all students with sensitivity and care.
  • Response to Intervention helps us to meet specific student needs with targeted learning experiences and focused, flexible student groups.
We're off to a good start and were willing to continue to invest in this model to teach all students well. What suggestions do you have related to the continued growth and development of this model? What questions do you have with regard to our efforts with regard to this model? Thank you for your support.