Toward Conceptual Clarity: A Scoping Review of Coteaching in Teacher Education Teaching Internship

June, 2020

Source: The Teacher Educator, 55:2, 190-213

(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This scoping review aims to enhance understanding and further conceptualize coteaching in teacher education, from both practical and research-driven perspectives.
The complex nature of teaching and teacher education, coupled with the relatively nascent nature of the wide-scale incorporation of coteaching in teacher education, provides the rationale for this review.
The authors offer a broad descriptive overview of the extent, range, and nature of the research on coteaching in teacher education using a rigorous and systematic process.
Further, they provide a foundation for future research and practice, presenting the range of outcomes, clarifying conceptual boundaries, and offering suggestions to refine operational definitions of coteaching in teacher education.

Two research questions guided this inquiry:
(1) What are the methodological characteristics of the research on coteaching in teacher education?
(2) What are the conceptual dimensions or boundaries of coteaching in teacher education?

Scoping review
The authors followed Arksey and O’Malley’s (2005) five-stage scoping review framework to comprehensively examine the extant literature.
The authors describe the full breadth of the scholarship and present illustrative examples to elucidate themes and trends within the applications of coteaching in teacher education, occasionally pointing out notable trends in the findings relative to these themes.
A final characteristic of scoping reviews is the absence of critical appraisal or quality assessment of the methodological aspects of studies (Arksey & O’Malley, 2005), thereby positioning different traditions equally rather than privileging particular designs by excluding those that do not meet narrow inclusion or evidence criteria.
In this study, the authors seek to understand the methodological characteristics (e.g., outcomes, phenomena, measures, data analysis) and to describe the conceptual dimensions and boundaries (e.g., coteaching definitions and applications) of the entire set of studies on coteaching in teacher education.
103 studies were the sample for this scoping review, including 61 (59.2%) journal articles, 21 (20.4%) dissertations, 19 (18.4%) conference papers, and two 2 (1.9%) book chapters.

To enhance conceptual clarity and determine the nature and extent of the research on coteaching in teacher education, the authors first descriptively present the methodological characteristics of the studies. Second, they analyze the ways in which coteaching in teacher education is defined and implemented, with a nuanced discussion of the outcomes and phenomena within those studies.
They introduce notable trends and discuss the implications for teacher education and for future theoretical and empirical studies.
Rather than statistically analyze or otherwise aggregate the full set of findings, they describe the characteristics that typify enactments of coteaching in teacher education and the ways in which it has been researched to guide teacher educators and researchers.

Characteristics of research on coteaching in teacher education - This section presents the methodological characteristics of research on coteaching in teacher education in order to portray the type and extent of this research.
The authors briefly describe the characteristics of the 103 studies and present methodological details of the quantitative aspects of studies using descriptive statistics and interpretations.
Finally, they present an analysis of the quantitatively examined outcomes and qualitatively explored phenomena within the entire set of 103 studies.

Toward conceptual clarity: Coteaching in teacher education - In this section, the authors explore the various ways in which coteaching is both defined and incorporated in teacher education contexts across the entire set of 103 studies.

Teacher educators continually work to enhance connections between theory and praxis, to attend to the priorities of higher education and P–12 communities, and to analyze and confront educational inequities. Whether in teacher education or other educational contexts, coteaching is not without critique (Murphy et al., 2015), and there remains much to learn as teacher educators and scholars explore the potentialities and limitations of this approach.
This scoping review reveals the idiosyncratic and nuanced nature of coteaching and the range of its use across the entire teacher education curriculum.
In terms of teacher candidate (TC) engagement, the coteaching interventions represented efforts of teacher educators to strike a balance between prescribed and flexible structures to allow for emergent enactments of coteaching that are most suited to the characteristics and needs of TCs, cooperating teachers, and classrooms.
The authors encourage research that explores ways in which coteaching, and specifically co-generative dialog, might be utilized as an avenue for critical knowledge generation for TCs, mentor teachers, and teacher educators.
They especially encourage theory-development centered on how this type of dialog might advance “critical analysis of dominant ideologies” (Siuty, 2019, p. 42). Co-generative dialogs focused beyond the technical aspects of teaching can challenge stereotypic attitudes and existing biases, assumptions, and schema for all involved.
In this way, TCs and cooperating teachers can enhance their individual and shared understanding of intersecting sociocultural identities (i.e., their own, one another’s, and their students’) and the socioecological environments in which they teach.
When coupled with coplanning and coteaching, such dialogs may lead to collaborative and transformative action to meet the needs of learners.
Further research in this area will enable teacher educators to design supports and structures to most effectively and meaningfully integrate coteaching and cogenerative dialog into TC experiences and teacher education programs.
Finally, coteaching in teacher education will advance efforts to increase collaboration in schools.
Inservice teachers and TCs capable of coteaching and collaboration could impact P–12 cultures and “transform traditional teaching settings into cultures of coteaching” (Gallo-Fox, 2009, p. 255), thereby enabling teams of teachers to better meet student needs.
It is the authors’ belief that educator collaboration—in the form of coteaching and other configurations—can transform not only teacher education, but also P–12 education more broadly.
Co-generative dialog may serve a purpose beyond a pedagogical tool for teacher education. An emphasis on co-generative dialog in coteaching in teacher education, and in P–12 classrooms, has the potential to push collaboration beyond superficial contrived collegiality to critical colleagueship (Datnow, 2011; Fullen & Hargreaves, 1996; Glazier, Boyd, Bell Hughes, Able, & Mallous, 2017) wherein teachers embrace the complexity of collaboration, engage in respectful discourse, and adopt mindsets of teachers who are able to share knowledge and expertise to create effective learning environments for all learners.

Arksey, H., & O’Malley, L. (2005). Scoping studies: Towards a methodological framework. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8(1), 19–32. doi:10.1080/1364557032000119616
Datnow, A. (2011). Collaboration and contrived collegiality: Revisiting Hargreaves in the age of accountability. Journal of Educational Change, 12(2), 147–158. doi:10.1007/s10833-011-9154-1
Fullen, M., & Hargreaves, A. (1996). What’s worth fighting for in your school? New York, NY: Teachers College Press
Gallo-Fox, J. (2009). Learning to teach in a coteaching community of practice (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (3368890)
Glazier, J. A., Boyd, A., Bell Hughes, K., Able, H., & Mallous, R. (2017). The elusive search for teacher collaboration. The New Educator, 13(1), 3–21. doi:10.1080/1547688X.2016.1144841
Murphy, C., Scantlebury, K., & Milne, C. (2015). Using Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development to propose and test an explanatory model for conceptualizing coteaching in pre-service science teacher education. Asia-Pacific Journal of Teacher Education, 43(4), 281–295. doi:10.1080/ 1359866X.2015.1060291
Siuty, M. B. (2019). Teacher preparation as interruption or disruption? Understanding identity (re) constitution for critical inclusion. Teaching and Teacher Education, 81, 38–49. doi:10.1016/ j.tate.2019.02.008 

Updated: Sep. 11, 2020


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