There is a "buzz" in the halls, as schools prepare for the start of a new year; some with new initiatives others renewing commitments to pedagogical practices. There is another type of "buzz"; the ole' educational buzz word.
In many cases, as international schools shift their educational delivery model of English language learners from "new comer English programs" and ESL "pull-out" teaching, co-teaching has become a buzz word. Many educators are thrown into a co-teaching relationships without necessarily having the tools and mindsets to ensure its' success.
In immersion programs, where linguistically diverse students learn English through content, cotaught classes consist of a grade/content specialist and an EAL specialist. There are different models that serve different purposes. Some are more effective than others; some require a certain shared vision and trust in the reciprocity of the co-teaching relationship. I love Dr. Andrea Honigsfeld and Dr. Maria Dove's book. I also really enjoyed Carlotta Holder's guest piece on Larry Ferlazzo's blog.
The co-taught classroom must always center on guiding students through their learning processes. It also must be a place where strategic decisions are made to help all students acquire academic English in a linguistically responsive way. The co-taught classroom, most importantly must be about equity.
I have been co-teaching for 10+ years in countless scenarios. I have been both the content and EAL teacher. I have co-taught in elementary and secondary situations. Some co-taught classrooms have been magical (you know who you are my marigolds), some have required patience and professionalism, and some... well....weren't so great.
In my next blog post, I will be sharing some insights to start the year off right to ensure a co-teaching relationship that is kid centered and equity driven.
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I am an MLL specialist, coach, and educational consultant that is dedicated to building a more transformative educational landscape that honors linguistic diversity and challenges societal paradigms.