Lesson 5: What does effective and positive co-teaching look like

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Learners will understand the various ways co-teaching can be implemented and positive conditions associated with effective co-teaching situations.

Case Study

Thinking back to the beginning of the course...Mrs. K has a class of 20 students, three of which do no speak English as their first language. She also finds out that because she has these students, she will be sharing her classroom and working with another teacher, an ENL teacher. Mrs. K feels uncertain and confused about the language that revolves around working with non-English speakers and about teaching with another teacher.

Not only has Mrs. K had to learn about her ELLs and ENL in general, but she is also learning how to share her classroom with another teacher and making that teacher feel like an equal in the classroom.


According to Rogers (2016) there are five models of co-teaching that teacher pairs can consider:

  • one teach one observe
  • one teach one assist (giving “academic, behavioral, or on task reminders”)
  • station teaching (students are put in groups that are led by the teachers or are individual and students rotate)
  • parallel teach (divide the class and teach the same content)
  • alternative teaching (one teacher is instructing one part of the class to enhance or remediate in some way)
  • team teaching (working together, shared instructional role)

Teachers should work together to consider their options and determine which works best for both of them. Ideally this is determined prior to the start of the school year, but this will not always happen. It is crucial for both teachers to take the time to figure these aspects of their relationship out together in a constructive way. This is one of the many factors of successful co-teaching as mentioned by Roger (2016). In addition to collaboration, "teacher to student interaction, instructional roles, instructional strategies, individualized instruction, and classroom management” are other factors teachers need in order to have productive, effective, and successful co-teaching (p. 44).


Rogers, A. J. (2016). Development and validation of a classroom observation instrument for implementation of co-teaching practices (Order No. 10117936). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (1803599051). Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.libproxy.albany.edu/docview/1803599051?accountid=14166

For additional resources:

This document was shared with me through a colleague who also teaches ENL. It provides an extensive list of strategies for co-teachers to utilize based on proficiency level. You can read and look through the entire document The GO TO Strategies: Scaffolding Options for Teachers of English Language Learners, K-12 or you can jump to this handy table and description page portion that provides a break down of strategies based on proficiency level and modality (listening, speaking, reading, writing) File:The GO TO Strategies Matrix.pdf.

Levine, L. N., Lukens, L., & Smallwood, B. A. (2013). The GO TO strategies: Scaffolding options for teachers of English language learners, K-12. For Project EXCELL, a partnership between the University of Missouri- Kansas City and North Kansas City Schools, funded by the US Department of Education, PR Number T195N070316. Available online at www.cal.org/excell.


  1. Watch- Watch the video Co-Teaching is a Marriage

  1. Read- This write up from the perspective of an elementary special education teacher provides Six Steps to Successful Co-Teaching. Although this discusses special education teachers and students with IEPs and 504 plans, the ideas are still equally relevant and applicable to co-teaching with ENL teachers.
  1. Discuss- What approach could Mrs. K take on sharing her space with the ENL teacher? What could they do as a team to create an optimal co-teaching experience? What problems could you anticipate them running into if these procedures are not in place?

Post your answer in the Discussion section of this lesson. Your response should pose a question for your classmates to respond to. Respond to at least two other people.


What co-teaching situation(s) have you either been a part of previously or observed in your school environment? What positive and negative qualities did they exhibit? Could their situation have been improved using what you have read and watched in this lesson?


Course homepage: English as a New Language: The Basics, Accommodations, and Co-Teaching

Up Next: Section 3: Co-Teaching - Lesson 6

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