Team teaching: a reflection, by Marianna Budai

Although team teaching or collaborative teaching have been used in education for a number of decades, it is rarely practised by teachers in schools. What is more, there are teachers who do not know what this term in methodology means in practice, just like me, before I started this project. ‘Collaborative teaching is a method in which more than one instructor is involved in teaching.  Typically, two or more instructors are in the classroom during class time for each class meeting’25, (p.85) as Wadkins, Wozniak and Miller define in Team Teaching Models. It is, however, not only the number of teachers that is different in this type of lessons but also the efficiency.

Though team teaching has several advantages, it is not widespread in high schools across Europe as it requires extra preparation for collaborative work and extra expense for educational organisations.

Implementation of the project ‘Innovate to Create II’ has brought a breakthrough in some of the participating instructors’ teaching experience regarding co-teaching. Undertaking the project presented numerous opportunities for team teaching, all of which have resulted in dazzling student performance during the lessons.

Based on the way teachers worked together in our action research project, five categories can be distinguished depending on the background of teachers, as follows:

1. teachers from the same school teaching the same subject area;

2. teachers from the same school teaching different subject areas;

3. teachers from different schools teaching different subject areas;

4. teachers from different schools teaching the same subject area;

5. teachers from different schools teaching the same subject areas in online lessons 
    (resident teacher, Erasmus+ teacher).

As the subject areas forming the focus of the project were Music and English language, English teachers mostly delivered lessons with their English teacher colleagues, and Music teachers with another Music teacher from their school. Working together from the same subject areas, teachers could plan lessons in an extraordinary way, because the two teachers came up with various methods, approaches and ideas. They could complement each other, ensuring proper time management and a high standard of quality in the lesson. In the case of the English lessons given by Joakim Gillman and Emil Gefvert (Almby Skola, Örebro, Sweden) and the Music lessons taught by Ulrike Müller and Jutta Fries (Bertha von Suttner IGS, Kaiserslautern, Germany) the turns the teachers took during the lesson always generated spontaneously among students a bout of high motivation.  Additionally, the different personalities of the teachers provided an opportunity for students to identify with the lesson through the students’ connections to the different teachers’ personalities.

Since the project has also examined some methods and approaches that can be used in the cross-curricular spaces between English language and Music, some teachers also capitalised on opportunities for experimenting in approaches between the two subject areas. For instance, Eszter Mits-Kovács and Marianna Budai provided a blended lesson by offering students the opportunity to learn Carl Orff’s ‘Clap-Rondo’, the rhythm of which was used to create a scene from Romeo and Juliet; Antoni Vanrell Moragues and Àngela Perelló Marín used a Bob Dylan song as the basis of an English lesson; Ulrike Müller’s taught Claire Troth’s lesson the following day in London, making changes to suit her style; and Ulrike Müller, Jutta Fries and Fabian Kunz team-taught an immersive music lesson in Hungary.  Students benefitted from the lesson in various ways, for example becoming acquainted with a piece of classical music, practising how to clap a rhythm, writing a short script in English, and using drama elements to perform. The expertise of the Music teacher, the strict and playful rhythm that was clapped, the reference to the Shakespearean play Romeo and Juliet, the creation of a script for a given rhythm, and performing a fight with rhythm and words melded into a unique atmosphere that couldn’t have been achieved without the collaboration of the teachers of the two different subject areas. 

Teachers from different schools with different subject areas may encounter considerable difficulties in dealing with the joint work, however, as they both have different social, cultural, curricular and institutional backgrounds. These are the factors, however, that can greatly enrich the co-operation through the sharing of methods, techniques, approaches and ideas. The joint work between Marianna Budai (KJG, Székesfehérvár, Hungary) and Richard Harrison (Regent High School, London, UK) was an exciting co-operation in the cross-curricular fields of drama and English. During the lesson students were able to learn vocabulary expressing ways of walking by getting acquainted with the monologue of ‘All the world’s a stage…’ from the Shakespeare’s As You Like It, acting like the characters of the different ages.

One unexpected way of co-teaching occurred during the online research visit to Manacor, Spain. The pandemic prevented the project’s teachers from travelling to Manacor and teaching the Spanish students face-to-face. Instead, the teachers from the partner schools provided students with online lessons. The teachers of the Spanish school – Bàrbara  Duran Bordoy, Antoni Vanrell Moragues, Àngela Perelló Marín and Margalida Guiscafré Galmés took part in these online lessons face-to-face with the students, helping the Erasmus+ teachers deliver their lessons virtually, showing tremendous support with technical issues, as well as facilitating feedback from the students.

Taking all of our experiences into account, we must point out that a detailed plan needs to be shared with the resident teachers before the lesson so that they can react to the emerging problems in the classroom as quickly as possible.  Additionally, an alternative method of communication needs to be established so that teachers participating in the lesson can modify their plan during the course of the lesson if required.

All-in-all, although team teaching is a relatively unexploited educational potential in mainstream classroom environments26, our research suggests that team teaching enhances students’ motivation, involvement in the lesson, as well as their performance. Teachers across Europe should, for instance, opt for co-teaching methods because experimenting in various subject areas can broaden both teachers’ and students’ minds, creating ample opportunities for significant improvement in professional, management, analytical, language and interpersonal skills for all the participants.



25 Wadkins, T., Wozniak, W. and Miller, R. L. ‘Team Teaching Models’ in E.G. Peck (ed.) UNK/CTE compendium of teaching resources and ideas.  Kearney: University of Nebraska at Kearney, 2004. Visit this website.  [Accessed 8 June 2021].

26 We note that team teaching is more prevalent in certain contexts, such as for children with special educational needs and/or disabilities.


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