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Wednesday, June 22 • 11:15 - 12:15
CON01.09c - Reflecting on Critical Moments in a Collaborative, Higher Education Teaching Partnership

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Collaborative co-teaching was originally conceptualized within the K-12 system and involves the engagement of two (or more) educators in the planning, delivery, and assessment of meaningful instruction to a group of students (Metzger, 2015). When enacted successfully, co-teaching promotes students’ learning and engagement, as well as educators’ instructional development and reflection on practice (Bryant, Niewolny, Clark, & Watson, 2014). Unfortunately, many faculty and graduate students are not afforded the opportunity (via institutional constraints and parameters) or elect not to engage in collaborative teaching, with most postsecondary institutions favouring independent instruction (Fergus & Wilson, 2011).

We are two academics at diverse career stages who engaged in a collaborative co-teaching initiative. The first author is a doctoral student with somewhat limited instructional experiences; the second author is a long-term faculty member. Consistent with Enfield and Stasz (2011), we adopted a process that included elements of reflexive ethnography and autoethnography. We met weekly, and more frequently when necessary, to discuss and debrief about the course and our teaching strategies. By embedding ourselves in the research, we aimed to generate personal insight (Enfield & Stasz, 2011) that would enhance our instructional practices.

We describe our experiences with collaborative instruction, drawing upon critical moments as points of reflection. Critical moments broadly included establishing the collaborative partnership and its parameters, engaging in ongoing instructional planning and reflection, and negotiating points of difference. We demonstrate some of the personal and institutional factors necessary for collaboration, such as shared or mutually compatible professional goals, and honouring of partners’ strengths and expertise. We conclude by briefly discussing how postsecondary institutions can facilitate and/or impede collaborative co-teaching.

Session objectives include recognizing the value of collaborative co-teaching; identifying parameters and circumstances that facilitate the possibility of collaborative co-teaching and instructional partnerships; and considering institutional practices that may influence collaborative co-teaching opportunities.


Bryant, L. H., Niewolny, K., Clark, S., & Watson, C. E. (2014). Complicated spaces: Negotiating collaborative teaching and interdisciplinarity in higher education. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 14(2), 83-101.

Enfield, M., & Stasz, B. (2011). Presence without being present: Reflection and action in a community of practice. Journal of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, 11(1), 108-118.

Ferguson, J., & Wilson, J. C. (2011). The co-teaching professorship: Power and expertise in the co-taught higher education classroom. Scholar-Practitioner Quarterly, 5(1), 52-68.

Metzger, K. J. (2015). Collaborative teaching practices in undergraduate active learning classrooms: A report of faculty team teaching models and student reflections from two biology courses. Bioscene: Journal of College Biology Teaching, 41(1), 3-9.

avatar for Jacqueline Beres

Jacqueline Beres

Jacqueline Beres is a PhD student in Social, Cultural, and Political Contexts of Education at Brock University. Her interests include higher education, mentoring, teaching and learning, and research methodologies.

Vera Woloshyn

Vera Woloshyn is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at Brock University. Her research interests are diverse and include research methodologies, professional development initiatives, and instructional methodologies that promote student learning and engagement.

Wednesday June 22, 2016 11:15 - 12:15 EDT
UCC 63