Setting up a Conversation Between Co-Teachers
I developed 14 questions to be “asked” with a co-teacher at a time when you are both able to focus on the task at hand. This can be a common prep period, a meeting outside of school, or professional development time dedicated to communication in co-teaching relationships.
Ideally, the two (or more, in the case of paraprofessionals, speech and physical therapists, and other adults working in the classroom) professionals would go over the Active Listening Protocol together and ensure they they both understand the process. Then, they would begin to ask one another questions, in order and alternating responses.
If time is a factor (for example, if the activity is being done during a prep or professional development), they should also agree on a time limit for each question. For example, if the teachers have 1 hour, I suggest breaking up the questions among two sessions and taking more time with each question (about two minutes for a response and two minutes for the follow up).
I know it sometimes seems unrealistic to expect teachers to be able to sit together without grading or planning a lesson but, in the service of understanding one another in the classroom, this part is integral. Taking the time to develop a relationship with one another outside of the classroom and getting to know each other as human beings often solves many co-teaching “dilemmas” before they occur.