Team Teaching

Team Teaching involves a lot of factors even when both of the co-teachers are from the same culture. When you add culture into the mix, things get crazy, but not to fear, you should be able to find useful advice on how to successful overcome challenges to effective team teaching.

Goals of Instruction

Working with a Co-Teacher

ALT's Responsibilities (JHS)

  • Establish personal relationships with students with the help of the JTE (i.e. learn student's names (don't be afraid to ask your students what their names are as many times as it takes), interests (make an effort to find out what students like to do and try to participate in those activities), strengths and weaknesses, take advantage of free time in the classroom to observe which students are actively engaged in the lesson and which are not, then find out why by asking questions).
  • Plan activities that provide students with the chance to apply their knowledge of English (take advantage of the free time available to customize JTEs activities, add extra pictures, modify the dialogues to reflect the school that the students attend, etc.)
  • Provide students with simple real life situations that require a level of English within the students' ability. (Greeting students in the hall, asking simple questions around school, joining various school related activities, asking students to teach Japanese, providing a weekly PA system broadcast during lunch)
  • Inspire in the students an interest in connecting Japan to the outside world (use experiences and pictures from your own life to bring reality to your students images of abroad).

JTE's Responsibilities (JHS)

  • Ensure students have mastered the requisite knowledge to communicate using basic English, both written and oral.
  • Inspire in the students an interest in connecting Japan to the outside world.
  • Act as a bridge to facilitate communication using an appropriate combination of English and Japanese between students and ALTs.

Having Effective Meetings

Find a time to meet with your JTE. Probably around 8:00 in the morning as JTEs tend to be free at this time of day.

  • Print a copy of Junior high school activities for reference when your JTE asks for activity ideas.
  • Explain that is important for you to plan some activities each week.
  • Refer to the this page for the general order in which grammar points are taught at JHS. Perhaps your JTE teaches everything in a different order, but these pages will give you a starting point to discuss things.
  • If your JTE follows the textbook in order, see the following.
  • Try to make an outline for the week's lessons on Monday morning.
  • Use a flow plan to keep track of the lessons for each day. When you are in charge of planning an activity, write the title of the activity on the flow plan.
  • Make a plan for who will serve as lead teacher and who will serve as supporting teacher in each activity.
  • Arrange a time after the lesson to discuss briefly what went well and what went badly.


  • Planning. If you don't plan ahead, you can't work together seamlessly. Even 2 minutes talking while walking to class can make your lesson much smoother. Planning a day or more in advance is much much better.
  • Eye Contact. In team teaching, eye contact is extremely important. If you and your co-teacher have a solid lesson plan, you will be able to communicate a great deal by simply catching the other teacher's eye at moments when you have something to say.
  • Positioning. As you teach with a co-teacher you will begin to recognize certain positions. To list a few examples, when having a demo conversation, one teacher tends to stand on one side of the classroom while the other stands on the other side of the classroom. After the demo conversation, one teacher moves to the center area of the front of the classroom and assumes the roll of main teacher. The other teacher might go out into the class and help students who are struggling. If one of the teachers becomes lost during the lesson plan, and doesn't know what is going to happen next, there is a strong tendency to migrate to the back of the classroom. Of course, everyone has their own unique patterns of positioning, and it is something that tends to happen naturally rather than as the result of conscious thought, but it is a good thing to keep in mind.
  • Main Ideas. Write the main points of the lesson on the board. That way, both teachers can keep a good idea of how closely to plan the lesson is going without having to constantly refer to a piece of paper.

Articles About Team Teaching

See also