Coteaching strengthens learning
Coteaching is being used as a model for learning to teach across three teacher education programs at the University of Delaware:
Early Childhood Education (ECE), Elementary Teacher Education (ETE) and Secondary Science Teacher Education (SSE).
Coteaching in student teaching involves two or more adults with different expertise actively collaborating from the first day of student teaching to meet the needs of the learners in the classroom. Coteaching is a model of student teaching that increases opportunities for student learning and for coteacher professional growth. The pre-service and in-service teachers share responsibilities for planning and teaching and learn through their on-going conversations about ways to improve and enhance their shared teaching practices.
There are four essential components to coteaching:
- Cogenerative dialogues
Initial results have been encouraging. Coteaching creates a supportive learning environment for teacher candidates to learn to teach. The cooperating teachers appreciate having another professional available to assist with instruction, and introduce fresh ideas. Most importantly, the children benefit. Having two teachers in the classroom at all times increases the opportunity to identify and assist students who may be struggling, while keeping the rest of the class moving forward.
To learn more about the implementation of coteaching into UD’s ECE and ETE teacher preparation programs, see UDaily’s Collaborative Teaching article.
The History of Coteaching at UD (Meet the Research team)
Coteaching has been utilized for at the University of Delaware for over 10 years in both the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Arts & Science. In 2003-2004 Kathryn Scantlebury introduced coteaching to UD, using it as the student teaching model for the Secondary Science teacher education program. During the early design-based research studies, Scantlebury worked with Jennifer Gallo-Fox and Susan Gleason to develop and improve the model. A portion of Gallo-Fox’s early research formed the basis for her doctoral research.
In 2005, Laurie Palmer, School of Education, initiated coteaching as a model for learning to teach within the elementary teacher education program for downstate Delaware, where it continued for eight years. By building strong partner expectations, Palmer was able to assist with the integration of coteaching into UD’s Elementary teacher program on their main campus.
In 2008-2009, SOE field instructor Stephanie Kotch-Jester initiated use of coteaching in a second Delaware school district. Kotch-Jester incorporated this ETE model into her doctoral work in 2010-2012.
In 2012, Gallo-Fox began developing a coteaching model for early childhood teacher education. The model was launched in 2013 and Gallo-Fox continues to utilize iterative programmatic research design to study and improve the ECE model.
Coteaching committees were formed in 2013 to expand the formal use of coteaching within CEHD, and in Fall 2014 coteaching was expanded across ETE and ECE as the primary model for learning to teach. As a result, over 266 teacher candidates will coteach at UD in 2015, engaging in 380 field placements.
The UD Coteaching Research Group has been meeting since Fall 2013 to study the implementation and design of the coteaching programs and participant learning in order to enhance on-going programmatic work. Coteaching is being studied by individual program and across the three teacher education programs utilizing coteaching at the University.
As a collective, the group utilizes multiple research methods to examine the existing coteaching models with a focus on professional development, the roles of stakeholders, and examples of exemplary practice in order to strengthen coteaching as a model for learning to teach. Common themes across the programs, as well as, the unique challenges and outcomes faced by each program that result from different structural supports are explored.
The group has two research foci:
Coteaching Implementation and Participant Learning
Coteaching at the University of Delaware is grounded in sociocultural theories of learning. Sociocultural perspectives of coteaching situate learning in the on-going interactions between teacher candidates and clinical educators. It is argued that through coteaching alongside others, the metacognitive processes of teaching are made explicit and that teachers learn to teach through their ongoing interactions.
To examine the ways coteachers share information and think within the coteaching construct, researchers utilize a range of data sources:
- videos of practice
- recordings of coteaching meetings
- participant journals
- classroom records
- programmatic materials
Working within their individual programs, researchers studying coteaching dyads. Then in cross-programmatic work, the research team studies the data to develop a better understanding of the process of coteaching. Current work focuses on specific coteaching interactions (coplanning, copractice, and coreflection) to determine ways that learning is, or is not afforded within the model and to develop approaches for enhancing teacher learning.
Development of a Coteaching Evaluation
There are no psychometrically rigorous, validated survey instruments to assess teacher candidates’, clinical educators’ and students’ classroom coteaching experiences. The group has developed survey items for clinical educators, teacher candidates, and elementary pupils based on core themes associated with coteaching as a model for student teaching that included coplanning, corespect, coevaluation and practices such as huddling, and stepping up and back.
The clinical educator and teacher candidate surveys were field tested during the 2014-2105 academic year with 196 clinical educators and 139 teacher candidates responding. The research group conducted confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) to test the survey’s qualitatively thematically identified subscales of the survey. The final survey consists of 8 subscales:
- Equality in the Classroom
- Learning Opportunities for Students
- Connecting Theory to Practice
- Coteacher Collaboration
- Professional Development
- Personal Skill Development
- Types of Teaching
- Reflections on Coteaching
Reliability as measured by Cronbach’s alpha ranged from .679 to .875 for each of the six subscales.
The group has also developed a survey for upper elementary and middle school students. Initial field testing of the survey began in Spring 2015 and will continue in Fall 2015. Eight-nine students participated in the first round of field testing, a large-scale field test is underway.
- $17,880 for Improving Coteaching across the University of Delaware’s Teacher Education Programs.
- $19,000 for Improving Undergraduate Student Teachers’ Reflective, Adaptive, and Metacognitive Practice across the University of Delaware’s Teacher Education programs through Multimedia Approaches.
The Research Team
The coteaching research team is a cross-programmatic teacher education research group focused on developing and revising the coteaching models used during student teaching in the university’s teacher education programs. In addition to research faculty, this project’s research group includes site-based clinical educators (cooperating teachers), doctoral and undergraduate teacher education students, field instructors, supervisors and university faculty. Our research efforts impact students from six different departments across three colleges within the university.
Research team members include:
Early Childhood Education, Human Development & Family Studies, CEHD
Jennifer Gallo-Fox, Assistant Professor, HDFS, Early Childhood Program
Elementary Teacher Education, School of Education, CEHD
Elizabeth Soslau, Assistant Professor; Stephanie Kotch-Jester, Elementary Teacher Education Field Instructor, Laurie Palmer, Assistant Professor and Elementary Teacher Education Program Coordinator; Andi Drewes, Doctoral Student, Morgan Lehr, Elementary Teacher Education Undergraduate
Secondary Science Teacher Education, College of Arts & Sciences
Kathryn Scantlebury, Professor Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Director, Center for Secondary Education; Susan Gleason, Student Teaching Specialist in Science, Center for Secondary Teacher Education; Site-based Clinical Educators (Cooperating teachers) Kyle Chismar, Kaitlyn Craig, and Matthew Juck.
Grants, Publications, and Presentations
- 4 university grants
- 20 coteaching papers
- 1 edited peer reviewed international book
- 2 doctoral dissertations
- The University of Delaware coteaching resource guide (2 editions)
- 4 international conferences,
- 39 national conference presentations
- 11 invited talks
- 23 presentations to local stakeholders
UD faculty in bold; Clinical educators, field instructors and CEHD graduate students in italics
Gallo-Fox, J. (2015). Studying secondary science student teaching experiences within a cohort community of practice: A sociocultural methodology. In Milne, C., Tobin, K. and D. Degenero (ed.) Sociocultural Studies and Implications for Science Education: The Experiential and the Virtual. Springer Publishing.
Gallo-Fox, J. & Scantlebury, K. (2015). “It isn’t necessarily sunshine and daises every time:” Coplanning opportunities and challenges when student teaching. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education. DOI:10.1080/1359866X.2015.1060294.
Murphy, C., Scantlebury, K., & Milne, C. (2015). Coteaching in science teacher professional development: A Vygotskian framework. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education. DOI: 10.1080/1359866X.2015.1060291.
Bayne, G. & Scantlebury, K. (2013). Cogenerative dialogues as pedagogy|research in science education. In K. Irby, G. Brown & R. Lara-Aleci (Eds.) Thehandbook of educational theories, (pp. 239-250). Information Age Publishing Inc.
Wassell, B. Martin, S. & Scantlebury, K. (2013). Using cogenerative dialogues to foster community and support English Language Learner students’ language and science learning. TESOL Journal, 759-771.
Milne, C., Scantlebury, K., Blonstein, J. & Gleason, S. (2011). Coteaching and disturbances: Building a better system for learning to teach science. Research in Science Education, 41, 414-440.
Gallo-Fox, J. (2010). Risk-taking as practice in a coteaching professional learning community. In C. Murphy & K. Scantlebury (Eds.), Coteaching in international contexts research and practice (pp. 105–124). New York: Springer Publishing ISBN: 978-9048137060.
Juck, M., Scantlebury, K. and Gallo-Fox, J. (2014/2010). Now it’s time to go solo: First year of teaching. In Murphy, C. & K. Scantlebury (eds.) Coteaching in international contexts: Research and practice. New York, NY: Springer Publishing, 241-259.
Gallo-Fox, J. (2010). Collective knowing in practice. Academic Exchange Quarterly, 14 (4), 169-173.
Reprinted: Gallo-Fox, J. (2014). Collective knowing in practice. In Melody D’Ambrosio Deprex (ed). Sound Instruction: Collaboration in Education, Volume 3. Stuyvesant Falls: NY: Rapid Intellect, 70-75
Murphy, C. & Scantlebury, K. (2010). Introducing coteaching. In C. Murphy & K. Scantlebury (Eds.) Coteaching in international contexts: Research and practice. (pp. 34-35). New York: Springer Publishing.
Scantlebury, K. & Murphy, C. (2010). Epilogue: New directions for coteaching In C. Murphy & K. Scantlebury (Eds.). Coteaching in international contexts: Research and practice. (pp. 383-390). New York: Springer.
Gallo-Fox, J. (2009). Transferring schema or transforming cultures? Cultural Studies of Science Education. 4 (2), 449-460.
Kotch-Jester, S.A. (2014). Learning to teach: Examining the benefits and challenges of coteaching during student teaching (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 3642323).
Gallo-Fox, J. (2009). Learning to teach in a coteaching community of practice (Doctoral dissertation). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI Number: 3368890).