Defining Team teaching or Co-teaching

Collaboration is a style of interaction between at least two coequal parties voluntarily engaged in shared decision making as they work toward a common goal (Cook 1995). Co-teaching is traditionally defined as the collaboration between general and special education teachers for all of the teaching responsibilities of all of the students assigned to a classroom (Gately & Gately, 2001). This definition has frequently been expanded to include collaborative partnerships between a mainstream teacher and a specialist such as a remedial math teacher, a reading specialist, a teacher of the gifted and talented, and more recently the ESL teacher(Dove and Honigsfeld 2010).

Co-teaching is also known as joint or team teaching; where both the class teacher and the ESL teacher take equal responsibility for the planning and delivery of lessons to classes which include ESL students(MPUDET 2004), interactive co-teaching; where emphasis is on the continuous presence and involvement of the team members during everysession (Farkash and Vegso 1989), partnership teaching defined as communication occurring in two or more languages in or around writing (Hornberger 2006)and perhaps less optimistically, mainstreaming: a progressive educational policy intended to be inclusive of ESL students (Arkoudis 2006)(Creese 2002)that place English language learners in mainstream settings as early and as fully as possible or push-in; (as opposed to pull-out approaches whereby ELLs receive English language development instruction in a setting removed from the mainstream classroom) in favor of, models whereby English to speakers of other languages (ESOL) teachers work alongside their grade-level counterparts in the classroom(McClure and Cahnmann-Taylor 2010)

see also

AITSL website for http://www.teacherstandards.aitsl.edu.au/Illustrations/Details/IOP00052

Partnership teaching in the mainstream classroom

Bourne, J. and McPake, J. (1991) Partnership Teaching: Co-operative teaching strategies for English language support in multilingual classrooms. London: HMSO/DES

In the Introduction (What Is Partnership Teaching?), the authors stated that the program's 'fundamental aim' is mainstream curriculum development:

'developing a curriculum responsive to the language needs and abilities of all pupils, whether monolingual, bilingual or multilingual.'

and that

'...if 'mainstreaming' support for bilingual pupils is to be effective, it does mean carefully reorganising all mainstream classes to meet a wider range of linguistic backgrounds and needs than some teachers have been used to' (p 357).


The authors emphasised that all teaching and assessment must be carried out within the mainstream curriculum framework and changes to planning, teaching and assessment would be a matter for each individual schools.


Partnership Teaching is promoted as a way for teachers to engage in their own classroom 'action research' by experimenting with different strategies to support pupils with EAL. Partnership Teaching envisaged that mainstream and language specialist teachers would work together intensively to share and disseminate best practices.

Partnership Teaching from Collaborative Learning on Vimeo.