Co-Teaching in the School Library

Hello everyone! I have just returned from an amazing Georgia Library Media Association Summer Institute, an event that showcased incredible school library media specialists (this is the title of the profession here in Georgia) and the co-teaching and collaboration they are engaged in while serving Georgia students. It is an exciting and challenging time for our profession!

When we discuss collaboration with classroom teachers, we often think about co-planning, but not as much about co-teaching or co-assessing. The first time I truly understood co-teaching in the school library context, was after reading an excellent book chapter written by Dr. Stephanie Jones, my colleague here at Georgia Southern, and two school library media specialists from the Cobb County School District. It was called: “Special Collaboration: Establishing Successful Partnerships Between School Librarians and Special Educators.” In this chapter, I found a detailed explanation of co-teaching. Over time, I ran across other great resources, many of which referred to co-teaching by general education and special education teachers. I encourage you to review these resources because they are easily applied to the field of school librarianship. Here are two I highly recommend:

1. The National Educator Association 6 Steps to Successful Co-Teaching

2. Bucks County Intermediate Unit #22 Training on Co-Teaching

The second resource has a handout on page 7 that clearly explains what co-teaching IS and what co-teaching IS NOT. Several of these statements jump out at me. See if they describe any of the co-teaching you have observed or engaged in:

Co Teaching IS…

“Both professionals coordinate and deliver substantive instruction and have active roles.”

Co Teaching IS NOT…

“A general educator plans and delivers all of the lessons while the special educator circulates.”

Co Teaching IS…

“co-teachers instructing in the same physical [or virtual] space.”

Co Teaching IS NOT…

“teaching teams that plan together then group and instruct students in separate classrooms.”

Interesting isn’t it? Both of the resources linked above also discuss the different models of co-teaching. I encourage you to explore these models and consider if any of these co-teaching approaches would support student achievement and mastery in your next collaborative project. The most important characteristic of co-teaching is that it pulls the skills, knowledge and background of two educators and applies these in much more powerful, instructional ways. As we have said before, together – we are stronger!

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