Team Teaching in Ireland
For many years in Ireland, as elsewhere, team teaching has been a relatively underused and undervalued approach to support learning. OECD Teaching and Learning International Survey (TALIS, 2009) across 24 countries indicates that the area least used by mainstream secondary teachers in collaborating with one another is within the classroom in theÿform of team-teaching. The more recent TALIS (2013) brings to the fore the power of team teaching to support teacher as well as student learning, while acknowledging its relatively slow adoption in many settings.
In Ireland it is fair to say that stated policy and restated policy continues to encourage team teaching, where two teachers teach in the same class at the same time. Team teaching is now seen as a means of addressing a range of educational goals. The multiple engagement with team teaching continues to move outwards from a singularly special education/inclusion agenda to one of teacher and senior management professional development, and indeed whole school self-evaluation.
Significantly team teaching supports students at risk of not learning (for a range of reasons including early school leaving, disability, social disadvantage and identified disability) and opens up classrooms with the potential to open up dialogue and advance 'learning in the workplace' and the 'quality of learning in the work place'.
As well as addressing the learning and life chances of their students, team teaching offers supports to teachers that address their professional development, and in more demanding circumstances, their own retention in school.