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Co-Teaching That Works    

Structures and Strategies for Maximizing Student Learning


by Anne M. Beninghof, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, Calif., 2012, 260 pp. with index, $29.95 softcover

Co-teaching is a valuable instructional strategy. However, finding the perfect match of teachers is as difficult as arranging a marriage. Many teachers are highly reluctant to share their classroom territory with another adult; all too often they feel threatened, and perceive themselves to be inferior to their colleagues when assigned to team teach. Instead, teachers should view the prospect of working with another trained educator as an opportunity to help more students in a deeper and more significant manner.

This is the message author Anne Beninghof, trainer and former special education professor at the universities of Hartford and Colorado, offers to teachers who find themselves in such partnerships. Beninghof uses the kaleidoscope as a metaphor for co-teaching to emphasize the unlimited combinations of unique designs or models of classroom experiences that can be created when two educators are assigned to work together.

Beninghof guides the reader through all facets of the co-teaching model in a clearly described and user-friendly manner. Her discussion includes a definition of co-teaching, the benefits based on current research and the challenges in building and implementing a co-teaching relationship.

She recognizes these inherent challenges, but adeptly offers solutions and adaptations to overcome them. She strongly believes the benefits for students of a co-teaching arrangement far outweigh the difficulties that two teachers may have when occupying the same classroom, and successfully persuades readers of the same.

Beninghof continues her examination of the co-teaching model with real classroom examples, discussing the roles and responsibilities of each teacher along with the pros and cons for that particular co-teaching model. These examples are supplemented with brief summaries and questions for reflection to help the reader internalize the information and begin to apply it to one’s own situation.

Co-Teaching That Works is a great resource for any school or district that is beginning to incorporate co-teaching into the classroom experience. Beninghof presents her ideas in a well-organized and clear manner that makes this book easy to use as a professional development tool for professional learning communities, book studies or action research projects.

Reviewed by Edythe B. Austermuhl, superintendent, Berlin Township School District, Berlin, N.J.


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