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Collaboration & Co-


ITL 602
Group 2
Kylee Williford, Ashley Parnell, Grecia Ramirez,
Mikaela Vaden, Maria Villalvazo, & Tanith Sloan
Collaboration Co-teaching
Encourages students to:
Both teachers
● Reach out to solve problems
● Communicate effectively with one another
● Share knowledge
● Share equal authority, responsibility, and
● Build collaboration skills
● Leads to deeper thinking
● Collaborate on planning based on
● Deeper understanding
strengths and in assessment of students
● Think critically
● Work with all students
● Build communication skills
● Share, listen, and learn from one another
● Build confidence
for the benefits of the students.
Benefits of Collaborative Learning

● Collaboration respects and Social benefits of

highlights individual group collaborative learning are:
members’ abilities and ● Helps to develop a social
contributions support system for
● There is a sharing of learners
● Leads to build diversity
authority and acceptance
understanding among
of responsibility among students and staff
group members’ for the ● Establishes a positive
groups actions atmosphere for modeling
and practicing
Benefits of Collaborative Learning Cont.
Psychological benefits: Academic benefits:

● Student-centered ● Promotes critical thinking skills

instruction increases ● Involves students actively in the
students’ self esteem learning process
● Cooperation reduces ● Classroom results are improved
● Models appropriate student
problem solving techniques
● Develops positive ● Large lectures can be
attitudes towards personalized
teachers ● Helpful in motivating students
in specific curriculum
Productive, Inclusive, and Safe Learning Environment

● Set the stage, discuss the values important for collaborate learning. Example: respect others, ideas, don’t speak
with others are speaking. This is an important tool for building cultural diversity and responsiveness.
● Take a moment to reflect, take a deep breath, turn the lights off, close your eyes and get the jitters out to be ready
to effectively share with the group.
● Creating a safe environment by setting the values is a key ingredient in the ability to allow for risk taking in
● Check your ego at the door, be willing to take a risk, have fun, throw out incomplete ideas that others can build
● Set the boundaries and roles for the group, this can help keep everyone involved and feeling like they have a part or
starting point within the group. Giving a sense of belonging.
● Using this key points will help ensure effective collaboration with students, teachers, and parents. and

“Our discussions give us a much broader perspective of

cultures and different ideas because each of us, every
student, has a different background.” Zander Sante
Collaboration & Co-Teaching Improves
Student Learning Outcomes

● Hundreds of studies have shown that the only way to improve learning
outcomes for students is with a knowledgeable and skillful teacher.
● The most effective teachers produce as much as six times the learning
gains as the least effective teachers (Wong, 2003).
● Research states that as the teacher’s competence improves, the lower-
achieving students are the first to profit.
● In other words, improve teacher learning and you improve student learning!
So, How Do We Improve Teacher Learning?

● According to a study of the American Institute for Research (AIR), reported

by the American Educational Research Association (AERA, 2002), “teachers
learn more in collaborative teacher networks and study groups than with
mentors or in traditional classes and workshops (Wong, 2003).”
● Teachers who collaborate and co-teach with each other are able to learn
from each other and become more competent. These are the type of
teachers who are able to ultimately improve student learning.
● Teacher learning is most effective when staff development includes six
factors. Six factors of which chief researcher at AIR, Michael S. Garet, says
much of our education system is lacking today.
* It’s important for teachers to learn to work together to create a professional culture in which they can
grow together. The result will be quality teaching and improved student learning in the classroom.
(Wong, 2003)
Effect on Student Learning Outcomes
Collaboration Co-Teaching

● When teachers engage in high-quality collaboration that ● Classrooms are made up of students with different learning
they perceive as extensive and helpful, there is both an abilities and disabilities.
● Those with disabilities are usually pulled out of their regular
individual and collective benefit.
class and are taught elsewhere in order to help them meet
● A study conducted by Ronfeldt suggests that teacher their IEP goals (Paulsen, 2008).”
collaboration has positive effects on teachers and their ● Collaboration and Co-Teaching allows general education
students. teachers and special-ed teachers to work together to
● The study found that “Teachers who participated in higher- provide appropriate support for students in meeting their
quality collaboration had students with better achievement learning goals.
● Research shows positive results in students’ academic
gains than those of teachers who experienced lower-quality
growth in all content areas when working with more than 1
collaboration (Killion, 2015).” teacher (Hang and Rabren, 2009).
● Additionally, teachers working in schools with collaboration ● Additionally, this specific study showed that “Students with
about students were also able to improve student disabilities had a sense of belonging that increased their
achievement, even if they weren’t the ones directly self-esteem and self-confidence in what they were able to
collaborating. achieve. They often put forth more effort in their work and
● This suggests that it is important for schools and other this further increased their self-confidence (Pugach, 1995).”
school staff to be involved in collaboration as well.
Barriers to effectiveness of co-teaching
Time: It takes time to develop a school-wide structure for co-teaching, preparing the students, and for
teachers to build personal and professional relationships to build effective teaching teams that include
the students.

Leadership: Teachers must be led in the direction of co-teaching or be empowered to develop their own
skills within co-teaching so that they may feel comfortable with the process

Student Readiness: There may be students who have received disjointed education and may have
major gaps in their knowledge base or there may be students who were not included in the general
education curriculum and instead separated.

Teacher Readiness : Teachers can tend to be autonomous. It’s best to let teachers know the year prior
that they will be co-teaching. Using collective accountability and autonomy will help “to ensure all
students are in their least restrictive environment and making strong achievement gains.
Ways to overcome barriers for collaboration
& co-teaching
Individualism & Conflict of interest: Allow for enough time to plan and to share personal ideas, goals,
and philosophies to help properly collaborate, and that will allow for teachers to express their personal
and creative way they would like to go about a co-teaching plan

Competition: Embrace a philosophy of inclusion and have defined roles

Difference of opinions: Discussing position on fairness, grading, behavior management, and philosophy
of teaching before starting the co-teaching process

Different learning styles: Develop tools to evaluate and measure the success
of the co-teaching model/plan
How to effectively co-teach...
● Have equal authority within the classroom
● Share equal responsibility for teaching all of the students
within the class
● Demonstrate equal status as teachers to the students
● During collaborative planning discuss areas of strength
and play towards those
● Alternate on who leads and teaching roles to uphold equal
● Use flexible grouping with the students
● Work together when doing an assessment of the co-teaching plan
● Share, listen, and learn from each other
Maston (2017) offers a six-step strategy system on 3. Strengths and Weaknesses: If there are any
how teachers in a classroom could become strengths that a teacher feels they have in
successful as co-teachers and collaborating together. a certain area, it is recommended for the other teacher
to allow them to lead in that area.
1. Establish Rapport: Teachers must build some 4.. IEP’s and Regular Education: If you are working
type of personal positive relationship with each with a special education teacher, it is essential for
both educators to be on the same page with how to
other. Students will and can feel any negative
best address and help the students.
energy between teachers and will feed of it.
5. Plan of Action: Create a plan with a schedule,
2. Teaching and Discipline Styles: Determine the
expectations and consequences, classroom
preferred teaching styles of both people and see procedures, grading, and home communication.
where they would be best in place. It is also
6. Risks and Growing: Take advantage of the other
important for both teachers to discuss how they person and and allow opportunities of growth by
manage classroom discipline and trying new things. It is important for the teacher to
consequences. remember there is another teacher who can always
Two practical application examples of collaborative activities:

1) With students in the classroom:

“Lower Elementary Math”

Watching the video “Engaging in Productive Struggle: Numbers Talks” demonstrates a 2nd grade math lesson where
students are encouraged to try new math strategies. They are building experience through academic conversation and
exploring how to re-group into places in a tricky subtraction problem by collaborating with fellow students in small groups.
This activity provides an example of how math is currently taught in schools today. The focus is less about which formula
to use and more about how the students came to find answers, by discovering new ways, being hands-on, and
empowering students to work in groups and communicate to problem solve together. This common core activity is student
led and great for ELL, it focuses on creating a passion for math and mini-mathematicians in the classroom.
Two practical application examples of collaborative activities cont.
2) With parents:

“Young Dual Language Learners: Working with Families”

Watching the video “The Best of Both Worlds: Nurturing Multiple Languages” helps us learn more about helping families
understand the benefits of maintaining their home language. This activity demonstrates that families can be an important
resource for teachers of children learning a new language, by utilizing families in a variety of ways, including inviting them
to share their home language, stories, songs, or foods from their culture; nurturing value and respect for the families and
their cultures in the classroom; and creating needed materials for students’ learning, such as using items from home like
photographs. The goals of this activity include: supporting a child’s home language in the classroom, involving families in
decisions about how to support their child’s language development, building trusting and respectful partnerships with the
family, providing them with information about the benefits of learning in multiple languages for their child’s growth and
development, and to promote the child’s access to and participation in learning experiences.
I have collaborated with classmates multiple times in pairs and groups throughout
my educational journey since elementary school. In elementary school and middle
school, there were a lot of group science and math projects done in groups. At some
point in high school and in higher education there was always at least one assigned
group collaboration assignment. I believe collaborating with peers on the job is a
way to share ideas and knowledge with your colleagues. At the end of the day, as
teachers we should strive to make our students lifelong learners. If another teacher
has any advice on how to improve a lesson, how to create a connection with a
difficult student, or just simple advice on any strategy, it is beneficial to share and to
be shared with. As a current teacher, being part of a PLC has allowed me to learn
new innovative ways to enhance learning in my classroom. I always give my
students time to collaborate with each other. This, like with adults, allows students
to learn different ways to approach something. It also gives the opportunity for
productive discussions. If there are disagreements, students learn how to properly
express their opinions and back up their reasonings in a formal manner.
Personal Experience With Collaboration
● Have you collaborated with your classmates when you were a student?

Yes. Collaborating with the rest of my peers allowed me to learn how to work well with others in a given assignment. It
also helped me better understand the material or problem when I would listen to others' inputs/opinions. Collaborating with others
definitely improved my social skills.

● What do you think about collaborating with your peers on the job?

Yes! Two heads are definitely better than one! Working with one of my peers along my side can help me gain very
effective input when teaching my class. If I am doing something wrong or need help with something, they can give me other
suggestions or help me improve. The same way that there are doctors out there that work together to better serve their patients, is
the same way teachers should work together to better help their students succeed!

● Do you believe collaboration has a potential to enhance students’ learning and their social skills?

Yes, definitely! Collaboration allows one to learn how to work together in a team to solve a problem and/or reach a
common goal. If their learning experience is a positive one, it will definitely help them gain interest in collaborating with the rest of
their peers, help them learn from others' opinions, and ultimately help them enhance their social skills as well.
● What I learned about co-teaching and collaboration...

I have come to learn that collaboration and co-teaching are indeed vital
elements that our whole education system needs in order for our students to
succeed the best way that they can. It’s important for districts, schools,
school staff, and teachers, and even policymakers, to collaborate together so
that they can draw support from each other, and discuss ways to improve
student learning. Co-teaching is also important because it allows all students
to feel supported within the same classroom, without any of them having to
be pulled out individually and feeling labeled. Teachers also benefit from co-
teaching in the sense that they can help each other with lesson planning,
teaching lessons, and even giving each other suggestions to help their
students understand the material. I believe all of our school systems should
definitely start incorporating collaboration and co-teaching as a contribution
to school improvement and student success.
In conclusion, co-teaching and collaboration...
● Can be beneficial not only to students, but to teachers as well
● Can create a productive, inclusive, and safe learning environment
● Can have an effect on and improve students learning outcomes
● Can be effective and efficient if certain barriers and challenges are overcome
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NCCLR (2015), Dual Language Learners: Working with Families of Young Children. National Center on Cultural and Linguistic Responsiveness. Washington, DC: Office of Head Start. Retrieved from


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