Co-Teaching in the EFL Classroom
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Teaching English as a Foreign Language is nothing if not unpredictable, and there are a number of interesting situations you might find yourself in. You might not realise this but when you arrive at a new job, you might find you’re not the only teacher in the classroom! That’s right: there are times when you are a co-teacher rather than a teacher. Some teachers enjoy co-teaching while others don’t, but let’s look at co-teaching in more detail so if you ever find yourself in this situation you’ll know what to expect and won’t be caught off-guard.
What is co-teaching in the EFL classroom?
Generally speaking, in the EFL classroom, there is one teacher. This teacher plans lessons, sources materials, and carries out their lesson plans. If the lesson starts to go south, the teacher must think on their feet and rescue the lesson themselves. If the students start misbehaving, the teacher must decide what action to take to sort it out. Or, if the classroom technology fails, the teacher must make a plan to continue with the lesson. The teacher must also deal with all teaching-related admin, including assessment and homework.
In some classrooms around the world, it is common to have two teachers in the classroom at the same time. There are a couple of variations of how this can work.
A teacher and an assistant
In this case, the teacher is in charge of planning the lesson and collecting resources. The assistant is usually a local teacher who can speak the local language, as well as English (though possibly not to a very high level). The teacher explains the lesson to the assistant beforehand and they teach the lesson together: the teacher leads the lesson and the assistant helps with the logistics of the activities. Because the assistant can speak the language of the students, the assistant will often deal with any administrative issues. With younger learners, the assistant is often there to help with discipline.
An alternative situation is when the TEFL teacher is the assistant. In this case, the local teacher will be the English teacher but the TEFL teacher is there to help with pronunciation and any other language questions. The TEFL teacher might also be in charge of carrying out certain activities in the lesson or will be asked to lead certain stages of the lesson, though the local teacher would be in charge of lesson planning.
When it comes to team teaching, both teachers are equal in the classroom. They plan lessons together and carry them out together. This might mean delegating different stages of the lesson to each teacher, or it could be joint teaching for the entire lesson.
Another similar scenario is the teachers teaching simultaneously in different parts of the classroom. The teachers will be leading different activities and the students will take turns with each teacher. This method is often utilised in Content and Language Integrated Learning classrooms.
Read more: How To Integrate CLIL into Your EFL Lessons
Does co-teaching work?
The research on co-teaching has been very positive. Often the two teachers will have complimentary, or at least different, teaching styles and learners can benefit from this. When it is the case that one teacher is a native English-speaking teacher (NEST) and the other is a non-native English-speaking teacher (NNEST), it is usually the case that the NEST focuses on fluency and communicative ability while the NNEST focuses more on accuracy. So the students essentially get the best of both worlds!
Of course, there might be situations when co-teaching doesn’t work. When this happens, for whatever reason, it is a disaster not only for the students but also for the teachers. It can be very awkward when the relationship between the two teachers is strained or if there is confusion as to the role and responsibilities of each teacher. So while co-teaching can create a very effective learning environment, it needs to be done properly.
Tips for co-teaching
There are a few things you can do to try to make co-teaching as seamless as possible.
Build a relationship. This may take time but it’s essential for a successful co-teaching situation. At first, it might feel a bit awkward teaching with someone else, but getting to know that person personally and professionally will make it that much easier.
Recognise that you’re equals. This can be tricky if one teacher has more experience and qualifications and therefore more responsibilities than the other. However, even if that is the situation, your learners need to think of both teachers as equals. This should be communicated both through your language (our learners) and through where the teachers stand in the classroom.
Communicate. Make sure that both teachers involved know exactly what is going on. They must be clear on the planning process, the execution of the lesson and its activities, the broader planning framework, assessment methods, and responsibilities, as well as discipline procedures.
Plan together. This might not always be possible but if it is, set aside to plan lessons together. This way both teachers are on the same page from the very beginning. And you know what they say, two heads are better than one!
So don’t be surprised if you find out that your new job comes with a co-teacher. Before you start teaching, make sure you clarify the nature of this relationship so you can make sure it works for both of you, as well as your students.
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LAST UPDATED: 5th July 2022
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Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the Everything TEFL Ltd has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, Everything TEFL Ltd is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Email: [email protected]
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.