Co-teaching: one is good, but two is better!

Have you ever considered co-teaching as a process bringing together a teacher and a remedial teacher? We offer you a text that presents the benefits of setting up such a duo in three schools, and some bonus tips if you decide to get started.

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By the team ofCanadian Association for French Language Education

Have you ever considered co-teaching as a process bringing together a teacher and a remedial teacher? We offer you a text that presents the benefits of setting up such a duo in three schools, and some bonus tips if you decide to get started.

Do you like teamwork? Do you think that the ideas of others are a treasure to be discovered? That unity is strength? Well, here's something you definitely need to experience: co-teaching. 

There, you probably immediately think of two teachers in front of a class. But other types of teams can also be created to meet the particular needs of the students. Like a teacher and a remedial teacher! 

What gives this kind of duet? Researchers France Dubé, Émilie Cloutier, France Dufour and Marie Jocya Paviel, from the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), asked themselves the question. They share the results of their study in the article “ Remedial teacher-teacher and remedial teacher-teacher co-teaching: the experience of three Montreal elementary schools », published in the issue « Perspectives on co-teaching in the French-speaking world from the magazine Éducation et francophonie.

To discover this important study on co-teaching, Francosphere presents a very original video: a sketch-note. A fun way to learn more about the subject.

Two heads are better than one!

We have to tell each other. Our classes are not uniform. They are even quite diverse. Our young people do not all learn in the same way or at the same speed. Some students have learning difficulties while for others, things never go fast enough. It's not always easy to reconcile all that! 

This is where the co-teaching solution can help us. The ideas, expertise, efforts and approaches of two complementary people can be united for the benefit of the academic success and well-being of all students.

Have you heard little about co-teaching yet? It's normal. Research in the Francophonie community is fairly recent in this area. But let's bet that with the positive aspects emerging from the study by the four UQAM researchers, several schools will want to try it! They conducted interviews with remedial teachers (specialists in special education) who have experienced co-teaching with a teacher in elementary schools in Quebec.

How to co-teach well?

You have viewed this sketch-note and you want to start co-teaching?

Here are some tips identified by the remedial teachers interviewed in this study.

Take time

Because the preparatory work done outside the classroom is as important as the teaching itself, it should not be overlooked. Two of the golden rules of co-teaching are co-planning and co-evaluation.

Let's start with co-planning. To make a success of your co-teaching experience, it is important to set aside time slots for you to prepare the teaching blocks for two. During these times, it is a good idea to structure the co-teaching periods by establishing the frequency and duration of the interventions. That way, each role is well established. The performance of the co-teachers will only be better!

And because there is sometimes room for improvement, but also because it is good to take stock of good practices to repeat, you have to allow yourself time to co-evaluate your work. Providing mutual feedback on student progress and finding new strategies to meet challenges is the technique of all winning teams!

Form a thundering duo

For you and your colleague to form an effective duo that will complement each other wonderfully, you need to get to know your colleague. And for the chemistry to work, there is no magic formula: you just have to create links. Knowing the strengths, contributions and personality of this person will allow you to develop a bond for the benefit of your students. Flexibility, diplomacy, openness, respect, clarity of expectations and a non-judgmental attitude are among the qualities of the best co-teaching pairs. Take notes! If you and your colleague have these great qualities, you could really grow from this experience.

Know how to dose well

Co-teaching is downright a change of culture within the school. This is school in an evolved version. It is therefore necessary to ensure, from a logistical point of view, that everything will go well to make this mode of collaborative teaching a success. This means that it is necessary to distribute the number of class groups so that the workload is well balanced. Then: we let the complicity of the duos operate!

But there, watch out! If you start co-teaching, you might get a kick out of it! Then you may want to co-teach more than once a week. And that is a good idea.

“Once a day [rather than once a week] would be really fantastic. I think that's where you can get more effects. — A remedial teacher interviewed.

On the starting line

Do you want to take up this challenge? Why not talk to your school principal about it? As this article from the magazine Éducation et francophonie shows us, co-teaching could be part of your toolbox to help young people in their school learning. Outside of predominantly Francophone environments, this could even help your young people to make an even more significant place for the Francophonie in their lives.

By the way, what is the magazine Éducation et francophonie?

Education and Francophonie is a peer-reviewed scientific journal, published by ACELF, which presents unpublished research results on French-language education. Since 1971, it has contributed to the advancement of knowledge in French-language education in Canada and stimulated the thinking of leaders in the field. The themes it addresses touch on all levels of education and call on the contribution of researchers across the Canadian and international Francophonie. 

His number " Perspectives on co-teaching in the French-speaking world », published in the fall of 2020, proposes to take stock of this mode of collaboration between the teaching community and to explore the prospects for research on this subject, for the future. Would you like to know more? Do the reading of this number of the magazine right now!

Scientific journals, why are they important?

When one studies education or any other field, one is inevitably led to read texts published in scientific journals. Why is this important? Francosphere posed the question to students at the University of Ottawa. 

According to Elie Ndala, a master's student in education, “scientific articles are useful to me because they will allow me to improve my knowledge and have more resources to build my course”. 

Vicky Lalande, for her part, reads scientific studies as part of her bachelor's degree in primary education. "I think they will help me a lot in my teaching profession, whether it's because I can demystify the pedagogy of teaching a bit, but also because I can reveal the limits of education", she explains. 

Scientific journals therefore make it possible to build themselves as future teachers.

This text was first published on the Francosphere blog of ACELF. It is reproduced here with the permission of the Association canadienne d'éducation de langue française. This blog contains articles, videos and podcasts on education and the Canadian Francophonie.

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