Teachers smiling at desks

Decades of research has demonstrated the benefits of coteaching for teachers and students.  Professional growth for teachers can include increased content knowledge, classroom management strategies, and curriculum adaptations (Scruggs et al., 2007) while students have demonstrated gains in academics, study skills, and social-emotional well-being (Oh-Young & Filler, 2015).  

What is also documented in research is the overuse of the one-teach, one assist approach to collaborative teaching in which the general education teacher provides whole group instruction and the special education teacher fulfills a subordinate role. This model used a primary model does not foster equal roles and responsibilities of collaboration or the use of instructional practices to support students with disabilities or struggling learners. For this reason, consideration should be given to the use of other approaches for inclusive instruction. Station teaching, parallel teaching, alternative teaching, and team teaching are effective models of collaborative teaching which will enhance student and teacher learning.  

Station teaching, parallel teaching, alternative teaching, and team teaching are effective models of collaborative teaching which will enhance student and teacher learning.  

We hope to support teacher efforts in the use of different inclusive teaching strategies by providing examples to try in your classroom. Below is a fifth-grade math lesson using station teaching, parallel teaching, team teaching, and alternative teaching strategies.

State Standard: Representing decimals using expanded notation

Objective: The student will be able to use place value understanding to represent the value of digits in decimals and round numbers.

Station Teaching

The class is divided into four groups. The student rotates to each station based on chronological/number order.

  • Station 1: Mini-lesson on the concrete representation of decimals to thousands- teacher demonstrates how to utilize base ten blocks and students create a model to represent a number
  • Station 2: Mini-lesson demonstrating expanded form- Teacher provides demonstration and students practice with a whiteboard 
  • Station 3: Computer (video as pre-learning or reinforcement)
  • Station 4: Independent work choice board on reinforcement of previously taught skills
Station teaching graphic

Parallel Teaching

Students are divided into equal-size groups. Each teacher provides instruction, and students switch groups after 15 minutes.

  • T1: mini-lesson on the concrete representation of decimals to thousands- teacher demonstrates how to utilize base ten blocks and students create a model to represent a number
  • T2: mini-lesson demonstrating expanded form- Teacher provides demonstration and students practice with a whiteboard
Parallel Teaching

Team Teaching

Two teachers providing whole group instruction.  All students have manipulatives and whiteboards for the lesson. Teacher 1 is doing the oral review while teacher 2 is on the whiteboard demonstrating note-taking. 

Team Teaching

Alternate Teaching

Two teachers are providing instruction to students.  Teacher one provides a lesson to approximately ⅔ of the class while the second teacher provides small group instruction. 

  • Supplemental Instruction: one provides a large group lesson on expanded notation up to 1000s while Teacher 2 provides a modified lesson, demonstration, and practice with decimals up to 100s place. Because this is modifying the rigor of the standard, the students in the alternative teach group must be students served through special education with a content modification listed in their IEPs.
  • Accelerated Instruction: one teacher provides a large group lesson on expanded notation up to 1000s while Teacher 2 provides an accelerated lesson that extends the learning for students who have demonstrated mastery.
Alternate Teaching

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