Coteaching as Professional Development for Cooperating Teachers

April, 2017

Source: Teaching and Teacher Education 60 (2016) 191-202
(Reviewed by the Portal Team)

This study aimed to examine how coteaching provided professional development to the cooperating teachers.

The participants were eight cooperating teachers. Six of the participants had taught at Central High School (CHS) for between five and twenty years. Two participants had less than five years of teaching experience and had begun their teaching careers at CHS. All participants had science degrees in the discipline that they taught.
Seven of the participants were science teachers, whereas one was a special education teacher with a science degree who served as a cooperating teacher while working as an inclusion teacher in selected science classes.

This study emerged from a four-year ethnographic design-based study of the implementation of the coteaching model in secondary science suburban classrooms.

The authors collected data through semi-structured interviews with cooperating teachers. Theses interviews provided the participants opportunities to reflect on the coteaching experience and how coteaching with student teachers impacted their teaching.

The findings illustrate multiple ways that cooperating teachers experienced meaningful, authentic professional development within a coteaching context.
The authors found that day-to-day interactions between the coteachers fostered on-going discussion and reflection on practice, introduced new curricular resources, increased interactions across classrooms, and stimulated cooperating teachers to extend their roles as school leaders and teacher educators.

The authors also found that within the classroom, teachers consciously shared the internal work of teaching though conversations about practice and student learning, and cooperating teachers served as school-based teacher educators. The authors argue that learning was active and applied in practice; work with student teachers included time for curriculum planning, reflection on practice, and implementation of new ideas, discussion about best practices, state standards, and students.
The authors conclude that coteaching with student teachers is a promising vehicle for cooperating teacher professional development. They suggest that engaging in authentic work and learning with student teachers might be one way to provide and sustain the type of site-based, in-service professional development that experts identify as key to improving instruction in schools. 

Updated: Dec. 13, 2018