Paired Teaching for Instructor Professional Development: Transferring Evidence-Based Pedagogies

Tuesday 4:30pm-5:30pm Red Gym
Poster Session


Tara Holland, Simon Fraser University
Paired teaching is 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. This model 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 professional development tool for Instructors, with the goal of disseminating 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.

This work presents preliminary evidence of pedagogy transfer, based on classroom observations of 10 Instructors in paired teaching arrangements. Analysis of data from semi-structured interviews and weekly reflections done by instructors reveals the most effective roles that each instructor in the pair can play to facilitate this transfer. Benefits and challenges of paired teaching for professional development, as identified by the instructors who have taken part in the project to date, are outlined. Based on two years of research, recommendations are presented for how to achieve a successful pairing.