Effective co-teaching begins with co-planning. Co-planning is a shared, dedicated time to discuss
the objectives and activities
the co-teaching approach that will best serve the learners, and
the responsibilities of each person in the co-teaching team is key to co-teaching success.
Co-planning can take many forms and may include long range planning and short term, daily lesson planning. In addition, co-planning can involve mentor teachers and new teachers, mentor teachers and teacher candidates, and/or collaborative teams.
Regardless of format, there are a few strategies that can support co-planning. Murawski (2012) suggests the following:
Establish a regular meeting time
Select a distraction-free meeting zone
Build in ‘get to know each other' time
Have an agenda
Share the workload
Note individual students’ needs
Time for reflection
Document planning efforts
Use a systematic planning template
Collaborating with Colleagues to Increase Student Success
High Leverage Practice 1
"Communication is the key to success."
This maxim is applicable anytime multiple people work together in any capacity. In the field of education, collaboration between colleagues has a direct impact on the degree to which students succeed in school and beyond. As mentors and mentees are working together, it is important that they continue developing strong communication skills.
Good communication begins with active listening, demonstrating that the speaker's concerns and thoughts are valued. Mentors will be the first person new teachers come to when they need help and will need to practice active listening to best support the teacher. For practical suggestions to develop active listening skills, check out this resource: What is Active Listening?
The fast-paced world of teaching can leave educators feeling exhausted or flustered. It is critical, though, that mentors reflect on what their nonverbal cues are communicating to their mentee. If a mentor is maintaining eye contact, relaxed and inviting facial expressions, and a general sense of respect, the mentee will feel comfortable and valued. If, however, the mentor is leaning back with crossed arms, avoiding eye contact, and showing disinterested facial expressions, a negative message is being conveyed to the mentee. This communication could sever the relationship between mentor and mentee, leaving the new teacher to feel unsupported and overwhelmed.
Effective Questions & Productive Statements
Engagement between colleagues should maximize opportunities to have a positive impact on student outcomes. Open-ended questions allow for deeper reflection and more efficient use of available time. Only asking “yes” or “no” questions results in diminished participation and unproductive discussions. In addition to asking effective questions, it is important to communicate with clear, accurate, and descriptive statements. Statements of this nature are focused on the causes and potential solutions for problems instead of being vague and judgmental.
It is important to focus on effective communication from the first meeting with a mentee. Utilize this checklist to prepare for that first meeting.
Resources to Support HLP 1
Want to Learn More?
Watch this video discussion of strategies for both long term and daily co-planning.
Read Murawski’s “10 Tips for Using Co-Planning Time More Efficiently”
Listen to Angela Watson’s co-planning tips podcast.
Watch co-planning in action:
Note: Some resources listed here require creation of a free account to access.
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Co-Planning for Student Success Considerations Packet (William & Mary)
Co-Teaching Lesson Plan Template (Google Doc Created From California State University)
Co-Planning Conversational Tool (Google Doc created from Metorteacher.org resources)
Tools for Co-planning
Using structured approaches to co-planning can also support the process. The tools provided below, and many other tools widely available on the internet, can be particularly useful when co-planning with teacher candidates. By providing structure for discussing the planning process and protocols for assigning roles during instruction, co-planning tools scaffold teacher candidates into this key phase of the instructional process.
Permission to use content above granted, 2022
Connecting Co-planning and Co-teaching
As you are co-planning it is important to consider the model of co-teaching you will use during instruction. As you learned in the co-teaching introduction, there are 6 models of co-teaching. Think back to the videos from Module 3, Section 2. In what ways did you see co-planning informing the co-teaching?
Wondering what lessons are best for each model? Read this brief article for ideas as to when you might consider implementing each of the co-teaching models in your instruction!
Pause & Reflect
Directions: Pause and reflect on what you learned. Use the questions below to guide your thinking and record your thoughts in your Module 3 Companion Guide.
Take a few moments to explore the co-planning tools above. Which of these might be useful to you and your mentee as you begin co-planning and co-teaching together? How might the tools above assist you and your mentee in co-planning for any of the six co-teaching approaches (One Teach/One Observe; One Teach/One Assist; Team Teaching; Station Teaching; Parallel Teaching; and/or Alternative Teaching)?
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