“…the 21st-century notion of co-teaching places it within the context of some of the most innovative practices in education” (Villa, et al., 2013).
One of the unique elements of the secondary literacy model we currently implement in my district is the co-teaching piece. We are in year four with an intervention model specifically used for students in grades six through nine. We’ve experienced a great deal of student success. However, we are still growing, learning, and adjusting.
Over the last three years, many challenges arose in our work, and many of those were addressed by professional learning, collaboration and innovation from literacy teachers in our professional learning community. However, the co-teaching element needs more support and clearer direction over all. With that in mind, I drafted a set of guidelines and expectations for literacy intervention teachers. This is not only intended to help literacy teachers gain a clearer vision of the plan and purpose of co-teaching, but it is also meant to be an additional data point for conversations with content teachers and building leaders.
Beyond the guidelines, I offer a few other resources to support initial thinking. To connect to our district’s work with Rigorous Unit Planning (Marzano), I developed a scale to help educators think about the progression of learning needed for this process. I provide Dr. Richard Villa’s definitions and comparisons of four co-teaching approaches. Lastly, I drafted a few ideas to troubleshoot common concerns. I don’t presume these will be the solutions to all problems, but it is a place to start. Additional support will be offered through collaboration, modeling and coaching.
Note: Literacy teachers in our secondary system teach two classes of reading intervention (intended as a type of case load). They also co-teach with two content teachers per semester in the same grade level as the students in their interventions classes. The hope is that they will also be an “indispensable resource” in the literacy initiatives of their buildings. We seek to contribute to a positive culture of literacy and to simply help teens read and write for learning.
The hope is always that the administrators and instructional leaders in each secondary building will be intentional about assigning co-teaching relationships with the students literacy development as the foremost priority in mind. This is two fold. First, both the content teacher and the literacy interventionist are clear on and committed to the ultimate purpose of providing students with research-based, strategies for processing text across disciplines. Additionally, there must be intentional time for planning. Dr. Villa, among other scholars on this process, would say that where there is no intentional planning there is no effective co-teaching.
I welcome you to read through the attached document and offer feedback. It is a fluid document meant solely to help teachers and building leaders deepen this valuable piece of our model.