Using team teaching to accelerate opportunity

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

A Jobs for the Future initiative explores the power of team teaching.

Jobs for the Future’s (JFF) Accelerating Opportunity initiativeLake Land Community College in Illinois is finding success with a new approach to teaching. Nursing instructors are working with adult education instructors to better support students. While the nursing instructor helps students with the science and terminology, the adult ed instructor helps students gain study skills and answers general questions.

This team teaching approach is explored in a new brief from Jobs for the Future’s (JFF) Accelerating Opportunity initiative. Team teaching, which involves collaboration between a content instructor and a basic skills instructor to co-deliver instruction, is “one potentially transformative strategy for student learning,” particularly for adults with low basic skills, according to the JFF brief.

Hutchinson Community College in Kansas employed the team teaching model in welding courses. To succeed in their training, students need strong math skills. The adult basic education instructor, Stan Ploutz, helps tie the math concepts back to welding. Ploutz meets with students to provide additional support and students now see him as part of the instructional team.

Team teaching doesn’t just happen, though. It takes time to build the partnership and to adapt to other teaching styles, as well as overcome logistical hurdles. Success also depends on picking the right teachers, according to the brief. They need to mesh well and trust each other in order to be successful.

“It takes time to build a good team teaching dynamic, but once they learn how to work together they are really able to transform the learning experience for their students,” said Rachel Pleasants McDonnell, JFF senior program manager.

Team teaching is not the only approach explored by the Accelerating Opportunity initiative. The overarching goal of the initiative is to increase success in adult basic education (ABE) by aligning and accelerating ABE, GED and developmental programs, as well as increasing supports for nontraditional students.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.