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Transformational Teaching: A Team Approach

Rachel Pleasants McDonnell

Helping the nation’s 36 million adults with low basic skills access economic opportunities requires innovative approaches to education and training—and we can’t do it alone. Every day, adults come to community colleges across the country to gain the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in their careers. Fortunately, faculty are ready, willing, and able to work together to provide these students with high-quality learning experiences. Matching a content instructor and a basic skills instructor to co-deliver instruction through team teaching is one potentially transformative strategy for student learning. Further, it supports college goals for student completion in efficient and effective ways.

Jobs for the Future’s Accelerating Opportunity initiative to promote postsecondary student success shows that team teaching, while highly challenging, is powerful for students, faculty, and the college as a whole. Team teaching is integral to the initiative, and represents a major change from the way education is usually structured, with one teacher per classroom covering one content area. This brief explores the power of team teaching in more detail, drawing on the experiences of team teachers from across the AO states as well as the implementation evaluation conducted by the Urban Institute and Aspen Institute.