"We Considered Ourselves a Team": Co-Teaching from the Perspective of Graduate Teaching Assistants

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Previous research has explored the influence of co-teaching models on student learning in the K-12 grade curriculum. However, little research explores the effects of co-teaching models implemented in higher education among graduate teaching assistants (GTAs). This case study examines the benefits and drawbacks of co-teaching models in higher education classes for GTAs. Two sections of the basic communication course (one for international students and one for American students) at a mid-sized Midwestern university were combined for 50% of the semester classes. Lessons with a focus on intercultural communication were co-constructed and co-taught by two GTAs. Based on this experience, a reflexive journal was used to identify emerging themes pertaining to the benefits, drawbacks, and student learning outcomes of co-teaching by GTAs in higher education. In addition, in-depth semi-structured interviews were used to gather the perspectives of three GTAs with co-teaching experience. Results reveal variety of teaching approaches, wealth of instructor experiences, instructor chemistry, and instructor approachability as benefits of co-teaching. Perceived drawbacks include power distances and lack of familiarity with pedagogy and co-teaching models. Implications for GTAs and students in higher education are explored.


Communication Studies

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The Online Journal of New Horizons in Education