In co-teaching, the pair (teacher candidate and cooperating teacher) are encouraged to co-plan and quickly incorporate the co-teaching strategies in their practice, providing more opportunities for the students to engage with both adults in the classroom. The mentor teacher remains engaged, using the strategies to support student learning and engagement. The co-teaching pair collaborates throughout the experience, with leadership in responsibility and decision-making shifting over time to the teacher candidate.
Ultimately, the teacher candidate assumes leadership in all aspects of the classroom, including directing the activities of the cooperating teacher and other adults working with the students, for a pre-determined* amount of time.
It is important that the teacher candidate does have opportunities to solo teach too, but the goal is to co-teach once the candidate has established classroom leadership skills and students interact with both adults as their teachers. The following chart describes the typical flow of responsibilities from cooperating teacher to teacher candidate experienced while mentoring with co-teaching.
The timing of when the teacher candidate fully assumes the role as lead teacher is negotiated by the triad (cooperating teacher, university supervisor, and teacher candidate) and varies by classroom, program, and situation. The cooperating teacher and university supervisor work together to gradually scaffold the teacher candidate into assuming the lead role in co-teaching. The triad also pre-determines in advance the length of time that the teacher candidate serves as the lead teacher. Licensures in elementary and secondary programs may have different requirements as to how long the candidate should serve as the lead teacher.
The diagram below describes the roles of the cooperating teacher (CT) and the teacher candidate (TC) during the co-teaching process.
For more information about co-teaching roles and responsibilities please see:
© 2012, St. Cloud State University. Used with permission by the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities’ Office of Teacher Education (OTE) for the CEHD Partner Network