Inside Successful Co-teaching: Clarify Responsibilities

Co-teaching is like a dance, and successful co-teaching partners choreograph an instructional conversation that evolves through planning and is always on-going. The co-teaching pairs in our observation videos demonstrate the strategies we recommend--while all enjoy co-teaching, they stress that it takes time and effort to achieve.

Watch this video and respond to the questions within. We recommend that you take notes and pause/rewatch it while composing your answers. Be sure to compare your answers to our experts' conclusions.

About the co-teachers...

Ms. Cagney and Ms. Lacey have worked together for two years co-teaching English. Ms. Cagney is the more experienced of the two teachers, but she emphasized that they share all levels of responsibility for their students. In the beginning of their relationship, they spent a lot of time clarifying expectations and standards.

During this observation, the classes were in the final days before an SOL test, and Ms. Lacey and Ms. Cagney were planning review activities. Their conversation was driven by standards and student data.

Before watching the video, read this transcript of a conversation that took place earlier in the same recorded planning session for context.


Ms. Lacey: Do you think we need to look at informational texts at all before the SOL?

Ms. Cagney: Maybe we can highlight that in our review right before. They were pretty strong on informational text material. What’s your opinion on it?

Ms. Lacey: I’m not sure. You know what, we should go back and look at the SOL simulation and see which kids had trouble with informational text...

Ms. Cagney: ...and include that in their individual review packets?

Ms. Lacey: Yeah.

Ms. Cagney: They don’t need it as a whole group, so we can just target those who had trouble...


Keep this transcript in mind as you now watch the video.

Note: In the video, Ms. Cagney, the teacher on the left, is looking at a projection of what we can see on the computer screen in front of Ms. Lacey.