Co-Teaching Strategies Alternative Teaching

Co-Teaching Strategy – Alternative Teaching

Alternative teaching is a great co-teaching strategy to try. It’s a perfect strategy to try if you’ve got a small group of students who really need extra differentiated support. Alternative teaching is when a small group of students is receiving instruction separately from the whole group.

What is co-teaching?

There are six different types of co-teaching. No matter which of the types of co-teaching you use, you and your co-teacher can be highly effective instructors when you work together to plan and deliver lessons. Co-teaching works, because it involves two adults actively working together to provide instruction.

Simply put, co-teaching is when two adults work together to teach a lesson. Notice, I say ‘adults’ not teachers. Why? It’s simple really, it could be two teachers. Or, it could be an intern and a teacher. Or, a substitute and a teacher… An instructional assistant and a teacher. Or, a substitute and an instructional assistant. Or…..

Well, I guess you get where I’m going with this. However, old habits die hard so throughout this post you’ll see me refer to the adults as ‘teachers’. Just don’t limit yourself to thinking of teachers only in the traditional sense!

Don’t be limited to thinking that co-teaching is always a gen ed teacher and a special education teacher. It can be, but it doesn’t have to be. If you think outside the box, you might find that you have more opportunities for co-teaching than you realize!

What is alternative teaching?

Alternative teaching is a great way to deliver instruction to a targeted group of students. While one teacher leads the instruction for a majority of the students, the other teacher provides instruction to a select few students. This is also a way to provide accommodations and supplementary aids. You might use alternative teaching during your reading block with those students who need a reading accommodation working together to answer the comprehension questions.

When alternative teaching, a small group of students receives instruction in a small group setting. This group can have instruction tailored to meet their needs.

Pros of Alternative Teaching

Students who need additional support and practice at a skill can get it, while other students can continue on with the lesson pacing. Those students in the alternative group can get extra opportunities to practice a skill, a modified way of receiving instruction, or additional supports that not all students in the classroom need.

Cons of Alternative Teaching

Be careful to not keep the alternative group with always the same students and teacher. Both teachers should have opportunities to work with both groups of students. And a student who is placed in the alternative group one day, shouldn’t always be in that group. Consider each days objectives and activities and decide who needs that additional support.

Tips and Tricks for Co-Teaching

Co-Teaching can be hard. If you’re looking for more information, check out this blog post to read some of my favorite tips and tricks for getting the ball rolling!


Co-teaching is an effective tool for reaching all of your learners. It allows both teachers the opportunity to see students and their progress. When you use alternative teaching as your co-teaching method, it gives the students the chance to see the lesson in a smaller group setting. Did you know there are five other types of co-teaching? Check them out here!

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