One Teach, One Observe. One of the advantages in co-teaching is that more detailed observation of students engaged in the learning process can occur. With this approach, for example, co-teachers can decide in advance what types of specific observational information to gather during instruction and can agree on a system for gathering the data. Afterward, the teachers should analyze the information together. The teachers should take turns teaching and gathering data, rather than assuming that the special educator is the only person who should observe.
Station Teaching. In this co-teaching approach, teachers divide content and students. Each teacher then teaches the content to one group and subsequently repeats the instruction for the other group. If appropriate, a third "station" could give students an opportunity to work independently. As co-teachers become comfortable with their partnership, they may add groups or otherwise create variations of this model.
Parallel Teaching. On occasion, students' learning would be greatly facilitated if they just had more supervision by the teacher or more opportunity to respond. In parallel teaching, the teachers are both teaching the same information, but they do so to a divided class group. Parallel also may be used to vary learning experiences, for example, by providing manipulatives to one group but not the other or by having the groups read about the same topic but at different levels of difficulty.
Alternative Teaching: In most class groups, occasions arise in which several students need specialized attention. In alternative teaching, one teacher takes responsibility for the large group while the other works with a smaller group. These smaller groups could be used for remediation, pre-teaching, to help students who have been absent catch up on key instruction, assessment, and so on.
Teaming: In teaming, both teachers share delivery of the same instruction to a whole student group. Some teachers refer to this as having “one brain in two bodies.” Others call it “tag team teaching.” Most co-teachers consider this approach the most complex but satisfying way to co-teach, but it is the approach that is most dependent on teachers’ styles.
One Teach, One Assist. In a final approach to co-teaching, one person would keep primary responsibility for teaching while the other professional circulated through the room providing unobtrusive assistance to students as needed. This should be the least often employed co-teaching approach.