Co-Teaching: More Than Just a Model
Collaborative. Encouraging. Communicative. Supportive. Empowering. These are characteristics that contemporary educator preparation programs are committed to building within their traditional teacher candidates. For co-teaching teams, however, these traits are more than preferred; they are essential to success.
Co-teaching is an innovative pedagogical model adopted to maximize instructional impact and engagement amongst preservice and in-service teachers. Thanks to the support of the AACTE, the “Co-Teaching in Clinical Practice” Topical Action Group (TAG) is able to advocate for co-teaching and support co-teachers in schools throughout the nation.
In late October, over 200 co-teaching stakeholders descended upon Bloomington, Minnesota to take part in collaborative conversations at the National Conference on Co-Teaching. The three day event was filled with more than fifty engaging sessions, though one session was intimately linked to the AACTE Co-Teaching TAG. Meghan Crosier and Shellie Pence led Making Co-Teaching Possible: When Two Brains Work As One as invited speakers. Their featured session focused on those very characteristics that are essential to the success of co-teaching, discussing the criticality of collaboration and communication between the teachers, as well as considering other factors successful co-teaching teams must approach with intentionality. In their second year co-teaching with one another, Crosier and Pence offered practical advice for the implementation of co-teaching that leveraged positive student learning environments as the focus. Thanks to funding support from AACTE, the Co-Teaching TAG was able to award the pair with travel stipends making conference attendance and success sharing possible. We are honored to showcase these impactful co-teachers and the model in which they teach!
Shellie Pence graduated from Indiana University Southeast (IUS) in 2007 with a degree in Elementary Education. She finished her master’s with a focus in technology from IUS in the spring of 2018. She has worked at North Harrison Community School Corporation since 2007. Before she was a classroom teacher, she coordinated the after school program, worked maternity leaves, and worked in Title I. Pence is in her seventh year teaching the 4th grade. She has co-taught a portion of her day for the past seven years.
Meghan Crosier graduated from Indiana University Southeast in 2006 with a degree in elementary education. She earned her master’s degree in elementary reading and mathematics from Walden University in 2012. Crosier is in her 12th year of teaching at North Harrison Community Schools. She has taught 2nd and 3rd grade, but she has been teaching 4th grade for the past eight years. Crosier has co-taught part of her day for the past 11 years.
Additional impacts of the Co-Teaching TAG include conference contributions and networking socials on a national scale, federal and foundation grant submissions, awards honoring the field, and publication opportunities in manuscripts and journal special issues. This year, TAG leadership was invited to serve as guest editor in the special issue of Theory & Practice in Rural Education. Further, TAG members were part of the founding of the National Association for Co-Teaching, launched in October 2019.
No matter your familiarity with co-teaching, we welcome and encourage all teacher education stakeholders to connect and take part in the impactful work of AACTE’s “Co-Teaching in Clinical Practice” TAG. We invite you to connect now by email, though we hope to see you in Atlanta at our Co-Teaching Business Meeting and Social during AACTE’s 72nd Annual Meeting!
Clay Smith is the special populations coordinator at East Carolina University.