Co-teaching: as an instrument for primary students’ individual attention and as an instrument for learning among teachers

Although we can find situations where both teachers are tutors of the class group, we consider Co-Teaching as the collaboration of two teachers in the classroom, one of them usually being the responsible for the subject and the other working as learning support teacher. Co-Teaching can be understood from two perspectives: as a mechanism for students’ individual attention and as a mechanism for teacher training.

As a mechanism for students’ individual attention, Co-teaching implies that help is available to all students; facilitates the students’ needs assessment and, consequently, allows teachers to decide more quickly what kind of support is appropriate in each case and situation; and, finally, eases the use of methodological resources that would not be much feasible if teaching was carried out individually.

As a mechanism for learning among teachers, following the evidence of peer learning, it is necessary that interactions between teachers deliberately foster this learning. Co-teaching offers the possibility of sharing and developing new materials or working methodologies; sharing the assessment –more educational or psychopedagogical- and students’ tracking; and giving each other support in the face of difficulties, which favours classroom management and working environment. This joint and constructive discussion works as an optimal strategy to help teachers build knowledge.

In spite of the evidence of its double potentiality, Co-Teaching faces many challenges, both nationally and internationally. The lines to overcome these barriers require teacher training in the potentiality and diversity of Co-Teaching formats, the choice of formats according to students’ needs, help in making decisions on the role and functions of each teacher, and assessment of Co-Teaching actions.

In initial teacher training, the competence of working with other teachers is gathered in the study plans’ purposes. Specifically, in UAB –where the present research is carried out-, from the six Primary Education Degree specific competences, the second one explicitly states: “Design, plan and evaluate teaching and learning processes, both individually and in collaboration with other teachers and professionals at the centre” (

However, although it appears as an essential specific competence, and despite the importance of training new teachers to help in introducing this kind of practices in schools, reality is that this topic is just tackled, superficially, in a few subjects –especially in those that are connected to inclusive education. In the case of the Practicum, for example, in spite of the presence of specific competences and learning outcomes that make reference to Co-teaching (, the subject is focused almost exclusively on the design of individual teaching actions.

The main purpose of this research is to develop a set of innovative actions in the Primary Education Degree initial training that allow students to develop positive attitudes, to be trained and to practise Co-Teaching –in Primary Education and University contexts.

In order to achieve this purpose, an innovative action plan will be developed, combining informative and experiencing actions: as a student, living through a methodology is a good way of learning it. The goals are: to offer a rigorous and coherent conceptual training about Co-Teaching basis; to offer the opportunity to experience Co-Teaching in Primary Education classes; to offer the opportunity to experience Co-Teaching in University classes; and, finally, to contribute to the consolidation of a students’ positive attitude and interest to use Co-Teaching in the future.

This innovative action will be accompanied by a research that, following the current recommendations of psychoeducational research, will combine a Comparison Group Pre-test/Post-test Design with a qualitative study based on the analysis of the different process components, in order to interpret the possible quantitative changes. It is expected that students who participate in the innovative action plan will improve the predisposition (attitude and knowledge) towards Co-Teaching, compared to the comparison group, in a pre-test and post-test of the first year of innovative action. Moreover, it is also expected to identify the reasons of that improvement through the agents involved.

On March 13, professor Hilda van Keer, from Ghent University (Flanders, Belgium) and member of the ARMIF team, joined us in a meeting to discuss the first results of the research. In the meeting the following topics were discussed: potentialities and difficulties of Co-teaching at the university; how students’ receiving conceptual instruction and using Co-teaching in their Practicum improved their attitudes towards its use; how this group of students perceive the effect of Co-teaching to better respond to primary students’ needs and to learn among teachers, and recommendations and actions to help schools and teachers use Co-teaching.

On the following day, these results were briefly presented in a public event that took place in the Faculty of Educational Sciences at UAB.

Co-teaching: Peer learning among teachers for inclusion

The video presented below is a product of the ARMIF research Co-teaching: As an instrument for primary students’ individual attention and as an instrument for learning among teachers (AGAUR, 2015ARMIF00002). The purpose of the video is to show from practice different ways of implementing co-teaching in class. There is also a teaching-learning guide created with the aim of complementing the information from the video and deepening in the analysis of the content presented from different perspectives.

Duran, D., Oller, M., & Huguet, T. (Coords.). (2018, June 21). Docència compartida: Aprenentatge docent entre iguals per a l’atenció a la diversitat [Video]. Bellaterra: GRAI (UAB)-ARMIF.


  • David Duran (IP).
  • Mariona Corcelles.
  • Òscar Mas.
  • Maite Oller.
  • Judit Carrera.
  • Marta Flores.
  • Ester Miquel.
  • Teresa Ribas.
  • Marina Casadellà.
  • Eulàlia Lázaro.
  • Carme Navas.
  • Josep M. Sanahuja.

With the support of:

  • Hilde Van Keer.
  • Jacqueline Thousand.
  • Teresa Huguet.
  • Jesús Ribosa.


Duran, D., Flores, M., Ribas, T., & Ribosa, J. (2020). Student teachers’ perceptions and evidence of peer learning through co-teaching: Improving attitudes and willingness towards co-teaching. European Journal of Psychology of Education. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10212-020-00479-0.

Duran, D., Flores, M., Mas, O., & Sanahuja J. M. (2019). Docencia compartida en la formación inicial del profesorado: Potencialidades y dificultades según los estudiantes y los profesores. REIRE: Revista d’Innovació i Recerca en Educació, 12(2), 1-11. doi: 10.1344/reire2019.12.227430.

Huguet, T., & Lázaro, L. (2018). Iniciar i sostenir pràctiques de docència compartida a les aules. Guix, 448, 49-54.

Oller, M., Navas, C., & Carrera, J. (2018). Docència compartida a l’aula: Reptes i possibilitats. Guix, 448, 43-48.