Investigating A Paired Teaching Model for Transfer of Evidence-Based Teaching Practices

Monday 11:30am-1:30pm UMC Aspen Rooms


Tara Holland, Simon Fraser University
The term "co-teaching" has many meanings and is implemented in higher education in numerous ways, each of which may be characterized by differing levels of shared involvement in the class by the instructors. The scale of shared involvement can range from "serial teaching", where instructors independently teach a section of course material, to "paired teaching", where instructors share the teaching of each class. In this research, the focus is on paired teaching, defined as a model of co-teaching in which the teaching team consists of two or more instructors sharing the planning, delivery, and assessment of instruction, as well as the physical space in the classroom.

Paired teaching has been used with success in teacher education and social work education settings, where an explicit benefit is modeling and developing collaborative skills for learners. There is limited literature on co-teaching in geoscience education, but a paired teaching model can potentially be used as a means to disseminate effective, evidence-based teaching practices between faculty members.

Multiple courses in the Earth, Ocean, & Atmospheric Sciences department at the University of British Columbia have been "transformed" through the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) to incorporate best practices in instruction strategies; however, it is unclear to what degree these practices are transferred to instructors who were not a part of the course transformation team. We are investigating the potential of a paired teaching model (where an instructor who actively uses evidence-based practices is paired with either a new instructor, or one who has had limited exposure to such teaching practices) to achieve this dissemination. Preliminary findings reported here are based on semi-structured, in-depth interviews conducted before and after a semester-long paired teaching experience, with nine instructors from three paired teaching teams. Recommendations for how to develop a successful paired teaching team are presented.