Co-teaching is where two or more teachers work together to meet the needs of a class of pupils and, at the same time, develop and extend their own practice. As part of the TAPS-NI project, science specialist students from Stranmillis University College, paired up with teachers in the Ballyclare cluster. The students and host teachers co-planned, co-taught and co-evaluated science lessons which contained a focused skill, allowing for discussion of assessment and progression in science enquiry skills. For example, at Doagh Primary they co-taught lessons to test waterproofing (with a focus on measuring) and floating and sinking (with a focus on predicting).
Both pre and in-service teachers reported that co-teaching developed their appreciation and understanding of the place of science skills within the Northern Ireland Curriculum, together with enhancing their confidence and ability to promote progression of skills within their science lessons. The post-lesson discussion based on a shared experience was frequently mentioned as a merit of co-teaching, for example, providing an ‘extra set of eyes and ears when evaluating’ to challenge or confirm their personal opinions. Paired discussion of lessons is fruitful because successes and exploration of effective practice can be overlooked when evaluating independently.