New York City Department of Education consultant Marilyn Friend identifies six team teaching models. They are:
- Team Teaching: Both co-teachers deliver instruction to the whole group at the same time.
- One Teach, One Observe: While one teacher leads the lesson, the co-teacher collects specific data about the students, the co-teacher or the environment.
- Station Teaching: Teachers divide content and students. Three groups of students rotate through three stations in which they work on non-hierarchical activities.
- Parallel Teaching: Two co-teachers teach the same content to separate groups simultaneously.
- Alternate Teaching: One teacher works with the large part of the class while the co-teacher works with a smaller group.
- One Teach, One Assist: one teacher leads instruction while the co-teacher circulates providing unobtrusive help as needed.
Experts recommend that the last option, One Teach, One Assist, be used sparingly. This model does not take full advantage of having two teachers in the classroom. It can result in one teacher, most often the general education teacher, taking the lead role most of the time while the special education teacher functions more like a paraprofessional or teaching assistant than as a co-educator. Also, keep in mind that the special education teacher in a co-teaching classroom is responsible for delivering specially designed instruction. SDI requires the special education teacher to lead delivery of instruction, e.g., teach a strategy, rather than simply provide support to the student, e.g., graphic organizer or story starter.
Models of co-teaching can vary during the course of the school day. Teachers should not have to commit to only one approach of co-teaching.