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Philosophical Differences

How Do We Currently Address Philosophical Differences in Co-Teaching? 

Curious if my feelings were shared, I asked teachers at my school to submit experiences in which they felt that a conflict with their co-teacher was based on a different philosophy of teaching, rather than a planning error. Almost every co-teaching pair had one story or more. When I asked the teachers to include a resolution to the situation in their anecdote, all teachers said that they felt they could not really address the problem since the conflict was based on a difference of philosophy which they did not think they could solve. 

Philosophical Conflicts: Teacher Anecdotes

Scenario One:

A co-teacher asks her ICT partner to grade a class assignment while she grades the same assignment for her other three classes. When the papers are returned, she finds that the teacher graded based on whether or not they understood the main concept rather than completion of the assignment. All of the co-teacher’s other classes are graded based on completion of the assignment, leading to inconsistent grades across the class. The co-teachers settle on one way of grading for the rest of the year.

Scenario Two:

A student with a difficult home life comes in late to class repeatedly because he must walk his sister to her school, which starts later. One co-teacher thinks he should not be allowed to make up quizzes given in the first 10 minutes of class because he must learn responsibility, while the other co-teacher thinks that an exception should be made due to his situation. In order to appear united, one co-teacher backs down and allows the other to handle the situation.

Scenario Three:

A co-teacher plans lessons that encourage discussion among the students before they write their ideas down. He believes this encourages flexible thinking and allows students to organize their thoughts. His co-teacher believes that this approach will lead to sharing answers. Instead, she thinks that students work best when they write first and then share out what they have already written; therefore, she minimizes the part of the lesson that includes student discussion before a writing task. Neither of them have spoken about why they believe in their respective philosophy.

Scenario Four:

One co-teacher believes that test-corrections allow students to learn from their mistakes and achieve mastery, while the other thinks that they enable students and cause them to study less. Currently, students with IEPs are allowed to do test-corrections while the other students cannot.