5 Co-teaching Formats - Page 2

Review the implementation tips and videos given below to gain an understanding of each co-teaching format. Also, observe the 'What do you notice?' videos to see if you can describe the co-teaching formats. Check your responses with those provided. The five common co-teaching formats are

One Teach/One Support | Station Teaching | Team Teaching | Alternative Teaching | Parallel Teaching

Team Teaching


  • Layout example for Team TeachingBoth teachers "play off" each other while sharing the instructional role.
  • When properly implemented, Team Teaching shows clear evidence that the teachers planned together in order to integrate their roles within the lesson.

Caution: Team Teaching is generally considered the hardest format to implement, as both teachers must be equally prepared and knowledgeable about the lesson content. Teachers who achieve this level of partnership often state their preference for co-teaching in the future.

Here's what you should've noticed - Team Teaching (+ Click to expand/collapse)

  • Each teacher participates in the presentation of the lesson to the whole class.
  • The two teachers check-in with each other briefly as they move through the lesson.
  • Students attend to both teachers.

Alternative Teaching


  • Layout example for Alternative TeachingOne teacher instructs a large group while the other works with a smaller group on different content/tasks.
  • Teachers work together to determine the groups and the objectives and expected outcomes, activities, and assessment for the content they are teaching to their individual groups. 
  • Alternative Teaching is appropriate for enriching or remediating instruction for a small group and is commonly used to differentiate instruction in inclusive or collaborative classrooms.

Caution: If the same group of students is always separated for alternative instruction, it works against the benefits of inclusion/collaboration.

Here's what you should've noticed - Alternative Teaching (+ Click to expand/ collapse)

  • Two teachers are working with separate groups on separate lessons.
  • The groups are separated by space.
  • Teacher-led activities are used.

Parallel Teaching


  • Layout example for Parallel TeachingClass is split into small groups with each co-teacher responsible for implementing the same lesson to a group.
  • Communication and planning must be done together for the co-teachers to develop the parallel structure and to assure that groups receive the same quality instruction.

Caution: It is preferable to vary the groups and the teacher so that all students see the equal status of the co-teachers.

Here's what you should've noticed - Parallel Teaching (+ Click to expand/collapse)

  • Three teachers (2 cooperating teachers and a student teacher) are each teaching the same lesson to a different group of students.
  • Each teacher is teaching from the same material but approaching it in an individual manner.
  • The groups consist of different numbers of students.

* Some video clips used with permission from their creator Cindy Alexander. The format layout graphics were adapted from an image created by Dr. Marilyn Friend.