The Power of Co-teaching

The Power of Co-teaching
Aida Bekele & Penninah N.M. De Aviles

What is collective teacher efficacy?

Recent research studies reveal that collective teacher efficacy can be achieved through the co-teaching model. Although John Hattie’s statistical research (2009) synthesizing over 800 meta-analyses of at least 252 influences and effect sizes related to student achievement has received strong criticism, in 2018 collective teacher efficacy was ranked the highest at 1,57 (Cohen’s d).

Every teacher regardless of their expertise and experience has the innate aspiration to feel a sense of accomplishment with their students as they explore, navigate and engage with the concepts and experiences designed for the learning process. The nature of our current formal education reality confines teachers to specific student groups in a designated space and at a scheduled time. Most often, teachers embrace this task single-handedly and in isolation.

If the teacher is effective, then the students will strive. If the teacher is less effective, the students may flounder. Even though teachers may talk with their colleagues about their shared students, the vast majority of a teacher’s day is spent separated from other teachers. This isolation prevents teachers from the professional learning required to improve their practice. Even more important, if they’re struggling to be effective in the classroom, teachers may become frustrated and their morale may plummet. (

At ICS we are fortunate to have structured weekly professional learning communities in which we collaboratively plan the written, taught, and assessed curriculum and design support systems for interventions and extensions to ensure that students learn at high levels. However, the practice of two teachers teaching students at the same time within the same space is not very common, especially in the high school division.


What is co-teaching?

In essence, co-teaching is an instructional model that believes in the collective commitment and ownership of student learning. It challenges the idea of ¨my students versus your students¨. In this practice, teachers work in tandem to assume the responsibility of teaching a specific group of students in a single learning space at the same exact time. This allows students to benefit from the strength of both teachers in real-time and reiterates the truism that ¨together we are better, two are better than one¨.

This concept builds on the scholarship of psychologist Albert Bandura in the 1970s who defined collective efficacy as “a group’s shared belief in the conjoint capabilities to organize and execute the courses of action required to produce given levels of attainment¨( John Hattie further extended this definition by emphasizing that “teachers must tightly align their actions to student outcomes. This way, they can see clearly the connection between what they do and the results that follow must tightly align their actions to student outcomes. (Hattie: 2018).


Co-teaching a Language Acquisition Reading Comprehension Workshop

Evidence of this instructional model is the joint French and Spanish Ab Initio Reading Comprehension workshop organized for the senior class of 2019-2021, in preparation for the Mock and Final IB exams. The objective of this learning experience was to provoke students to engage in a guided collaborative visible thinking process around strategies they can adopt to ace these exams. The discussions also helped reinforce familiar strategies students were already using and they were exposed to a rich bank of new ones generated by the group. Additionally, we wanted to highlight the fact that students did not have to know and understand all the words in the texts in order to achieve at a high level.

The culminating task of this productive event was written student feedback shared in these samples:

Overall, this workshop was entirely pragmatic in its purpose. I learned a plethora of different strategies, and I had an opportunity to actually apply them to a reading text. Moving forward, it would be beneficial to highlight (in the actual exam/reading text) patterns of how certain questions are phrased and presented and dissecting them together. Sophie B. (Spanish AB Initio Y2)

This was a very beneficial experience. We were able to work through the strategies and gain more understanding through working with partners. Using a sample IB text also helped, so we know what to expect in the future. Faith G. ( French AB Initio Y2)

An amazing and refreshing experience, compared to the regular class structure and environment. Really helpful in allowing students to help and empower each other to see in different perspectives. Asher D. (Spanish AB Initio Y2)

It was good to work with other people and compare techniques. But I think simulating a real test environment would be good to get us used to it. Yoab Y. (French AB Initio Y2)

This feedback will not only guide us as language acquisition teachers to improve our praxis but it will also better prepare students for our next two co-taught workshops on the individual oral internal assessment and the written expression.


Co-written by: Aida Bekele (French Ab Initio) & Penninah N.M. De Aviles (Spanish Ab Initio)


Aida Bekele is passionate about languages.  She has learned 9 languages but does not speak them all fluently.  She has been an IB teacher since 2005 ( at ICS, Senegal, Guinea, and Mozambique). 

Penninah N.M. De Aviles is an IB examiner and has been teaching the AB Initio program for the past fourteen years. She is very passionate about language acquisition among her students because it is a vital skill they can use beyond the classroom to make much-needed positive contributions to an ever-changing world.



Bruyckere, P (2019) Teaching from Experience to Meaning. What is Collective Teacher Efficacy (CTE)? July 20th, 2020

Hattie, J. (2018) Visible Learning, 250+ Influences on Student Achievement