Learning among teachers

Learning among teachers

Co-teaching: Peer learning among teachers for inclusion

Duran, D,. Oller, M., & Huguet, T. (Coords.). (2018, June 21). Docència compartida: Aprenentatge docent entre iguals per a l’atenció a la diversitat [Video]. Bellaterra: GRAI (UAB)-ARMIF.

More information at http://grupsderecerca.uab.cat/grai/en/node/14495

Interaction among teachers is an inherent fact within the teaching profession. It is common that different teachers are commonly involved in the resolution of certain situations taking place at educational centers. Such interactions must be as efficient as possible with the objective of obtaining the maximum participation and agreement as well as the predisposition to share the responsibilities resulting from the decisions taken. however, not all the interactive styles are appropriate to fulfill these objectives and the studies on this matter consider collaboration as the most effective interactive.

Teachers, as other professionals, learn from their interaction with other colleagues, and collaboration among them becomes an essential tool to favour a reflective practice, a key resource to attain maximum teaching efficacy.

Collaboration is a direct interactive style among at least two equals (the opinion of each of them has the same value independently of their role in the centre) which, in a voluntary way (the teaching institution must favour such interaction but each teacher decides whether s/he wants to offer a collaborative attitude or not), and in a shared way (it does not mean equal given that the knowledge and function they develop will influence their contributions) make decisions directed to the attainment of a shared objective (although the suggestions about how to fulfill it may be initially different).

A form of collaboration among teachers is shared teaching, a type of organization in which teachers work together with the same class group. We normally speak about the classroom teacher (the teacher who is responsible for the subject) and the supporting teacher (who can be a teacher responsible for catering for diversity or any other teacher who may be willing to offer support in the classroom).

We could offer numerous arguments about the advantages of shared teaching, both for students and for teachers. Thus, for example, students can respond to real classroom demands regarding any subject area having help at their disposal any time they need it. It is important to note that the students in greater need of help do not fall under any type of label due to their difficulties and continue having the classroom teacher as a reference. For teachers this arrangement involves an improvement in classroom management in general and, more specifically, of discipline. New materials can be shared or produced among them, as well as working methodologies, offering support to each other when facing novelty or difficulty. At the same time, shared teaching helps the centre establish interdisciplinary lines given that the experience of a support teacher with different classroom groups enhances the existence of contributions among disciplinary areas.

However, as we suggested when speaking about students, collaborative work does not immediately result from placing two teachers together. The interactions which are established among them will need to fulfill certain conditions. It is important that the shared objectives and tasks are clear and accepted by the participants and, at the same time, they must be related with their own professional needs. Moreover, teachers must show a disposition to interact and accept commitment, and basic structures must be laid so as to allow for enhanced shared teaching. The functions to be performed by each teacher must be clearly defined, taking into account that there exists a wide range of possibilities which will determine the different degrees of each participants’ implication, given way to diverse collaboration modes. A guidance system must also be foreseen as regards decision-making and shared work regulation, as well as some time for coordination which will allow for the adjustment of the deployment of one collaboration model or another depending on the needs of the classroom group.

 

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