Team teaching to students learning English occurs in many
different contexts in U.S. elementary classrooms and around the world.
The goals of these programs are generally the same: to ensure quality
English language models and instruction in the classroom. When we think
about team teaching we often think of two instructors in the same
classroom but those instructors could be teaching the same students at
the same time or they might be teaching different groups of students
within the same classroom. Within those two types of interactions six
different models or combinations of models are recognizable:
In the Traditional Model both teachers share
the instruction of content and skills with all students.
In the Supportive Model one teacher focuses
on content instruction while the other teacher conducts follow-up
activities, English language instruction, or skill building.
The Collaborative Model is the epitome of
team teaching in that both teachers work together to plan and teach
collaboratively. Often the teachers include collaborative learning
techniques for the learners also.
In the Parallel Instruction Model students
are divided into groups and each teacher provides instruction in the
same content or skills to his or her group.
The Differentiated Instruction Model,
students are divided into groups on the basis of learning needs with
each teacher providing instruction based on his or her group’s
The last type is sometimes called a Monitoring Teacher
or Mentoring Teacher, where one teacher assumes
responsibility for the class while the other teacher monitors student
learning. Guidance may be given to a specific student or the teacher
responsible for the class to make instruction more effective for
Two programs operate in the English as a foreign language
context and are designed specifically on the concept of team teaching.
In both programs, various combinations of the models described above
will be implemented; the context and personalities of the team will
dictate what works best in each classroom:
The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program partners a Japanese
foreign language teacher and a native English assistant teacher to
engage students incommunicative activities in the classroom. Some
cultural exchanges occur also. www.us.emb-japan.go.jp/JET/
Fulbright English Teaching Assistants serve as resources in
conversation classes or in small-group tutorials. They also may be work
in a cross-cultural community project. http://us.fulbrightonline.org/thinking_teaching.html
Team teaching offers many benefits but it is also includes
challenges because of the varied school/classroom contexts, time
allotted for joint lesson planning, the available instructional
materials, facilities, student learning styles, and the personalities of
the paired team. Are you up for the challenge?
Goetz, K. (2000). Perspectives on team teaching. E-Gallery, 1(4). http://people.ucalgary.ca/~egallery/goetz.html
Kumagai, M. (2009). Team teaching gap between the East
and the West. Unpublished manuscript.
Stewart, T., & Perry, B. (2005). Interdisciplinary team
teaching as a model for teacher development. http://writing.berkeley.edu/TESL-EJ/ej34/a7.html
Tonks, B. (2006). ESL team teaching in the Japanese context:
Possibilities, pitfalls and strategies for success. The
International TEYL Journal. www.teyl.org/article12.html
Janet Orr, email@example.com,
is on the TESOL Board of Directors. She is a past EEIS newsletter
co-editor and works for TEAL Services.