TMC6 Loertscher

Coteaching Revisited: The Replication Study

By Dr. David V. Loertscher

This article is a report of the second study conducted by Dr. Loertscher into the effects on student achievement when teachers and teacher-librarians engage in teaching partnerships. Simply expressed by Loertscher, “If a classroom teacher teaches a unit of instruction alone in the classroom, one can foresee about half of the students to meet or exceed the teacher’s expectations. However, if the classroom teacher coteaches a unit of instruction alongside the teacher librarian, 70–100% of the students can be anticipated to meet or exceed both adults’ expectations. In research language, the practical significance of coteaching far surpasses what a single adult teaching a typical classroom can achieve.” Previously published in Teacher Librarian.

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David V. Loertscher has degrees from the University of Utah, the University of Washington and a Ph.D. from Indiana University. He has been a school library media specialist in Nevada and Idaho at both the elementary and secondary school levels. He has taught at Purdue University, The University of Arkansas, The University of Oklahoma, and is presently a professor at the School of Library and Information Science at San Jose State University. He served as head of the editorial department at Libraries Unlimited for ten years and is President of Hi Willow Research & Publishing (distributed by LMC Source at www.lmcsource.com). He has been a president of the American Association of School Librarians.

11 comments:

  1. David, thank you for documenting not only the value of co-teaching but also the process of micro documentation. As an elementary teacher librarian who has been out of the university classroom for many years (other than additional qualification courses), conducting research into the work I do in the library learning commons can feel daunting. It’s always evident to me that collaboration with classroom educators and their students has a positive impact on student learning but finding a method to gather that data in a measurable fashion has been a challenge. Staff and students often share their appreciation and feedback but the direct link to student success is sometimes less obvious. I greatly appreciate how the article addresses the limitations of looking at the correlation between having a school library professional and school/district wide standardized testing results. Helping decision-makers to look more closely at this form of micro documentation and the impact on student learning can only lead to more student focussed conversations and, hopefully, funding access.

    Thank you again,
    Jenn Brown

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    1. Yes, knowing how to measure impact of coteaching is a major challenge. If you or anyone else would like a free copy of my latest book: We Boot Teaching and Learning, it has probably a hundred different measures. Just email me with a request at reader.david@gmail.com and I will send you a free copy.

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  2. David, it's so important to be able to replicate research findings, to show that it's not a one-time thing, or a fluke. This topic could have been a very tricky one to replicate, as the lessons and units taught from class to class and school to school would have been very different. Still, with the clear measurement tool you used, you and your research assistant (credit to Jaclyn Zepnik too) were able to notice similarities between your first and second study. Micro-documentation can be challenging for some academics to accept but you make a good case for it. You established the baseline, asked the same questions of all participants, and (I presume) used the same methodology to examine the survey results.

    I like how you define co-teaching as co-planning, co-teaching and co-assessing. I would prefer not to be a "parachute partner" (dropping in to help teach without having had the chance to formulate the content or evaluate it afterwards) but sometimes I have to take what I can get.

    Thanks again for reminding us about triangulation (albeit in your case it's organizational measures / teaching level measures / learner level measures).

    I'm curious about the differences between elementary to middle to high school. In the elementary school, the lowest satisfaction was 66% (and just 1). In middle, it was 1 at 50%. In high school, there were 3 reports at a low of 50-68%. Why the change? Which of the 7 challenges (listed on page 6 of your article) would you say were more apparent or impactful in the high school collaborations?

    I'm not sure if we'll get to see you at TMC6 in Toronto - I hope so. Despite "passing on the baton" of TM (which I had the great fortune to attend in Phoenix, AZ), I see you are still active in school librarianship and grassroots research - thank goodness!

    Diana M

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    1. Yes, there are variabilities in the various levels. In the first study, I noticed that elementary folks were more critical of their performance than secondary folks. My initial guess is that many secondary folks have a bit higher ego, but hjow doew one ever verify that? If I had a large grant where I could go through the major process of querying students in those same learning experiences, even with a very few questions about that experience on a Google form, it would add a tremendous new source of information to fill in the gaps Perhaps that is something to do in the individual school. Carol K.and I wrote a whole book on The Big Think that recommends that after the leanring experience is over, the two adults conduct a reflective conversation with the leaners on What did I learn? What did we learn? How did I learn? How did we learn? And, So what? And, how could we all get better the next time. Such simple and non-intrusive major assessment instruments I think go along way in informing adults and learners to keep getting better and better across time. Quick, simple, but powerful.

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  3. I am very interested in the relationship between the TMC6 paper by Gini-Newman and Gini-Newman and this article by Dr. Loertscher. The Gini-Newman paper described the kind of strategies for assessment as learning that can be effectively embedded into the kind of collaborative teaching that Dr. Loertscher describes. Makes me wonder about the potential creation of a resource to help make this happen in Canada's school libraries...

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  4. I appreciated the breadth of this study in that it addressed Elementary, Middle School, and High School. It is also of note to me that although there have been changes in technology since the first study was conducted, the effectiveness of co-teaching has not changed. As always, it is a pleasure to read your work, and I appreciate your efforts in replicating this study. Thank you!

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    1. And, I hope all readers will take a second and third look at simple ways to guage their impact on teaching and learning. It is the only way I know to become visible and indispensable in the school learning community.

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  5. So often I forget to document my co-teaching experiences. In the article it is pointed out that librarians need to “Build a track record of your coteaching experiences and tuck them in a part of the library website/ virtual learning commons. “. I wonder if you have any tricks for making this a daily part of practice.

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    1. On the Virtual Learning Commons website, you need a tab that lists the current units of instruction that you are coteaching.. Then as you conduct the Big Think about the unit with the teacher and students, that is added to the Knowledge Building Center url for tht unit. The unit is then archived. Periodically, you can pull up the units and do an analysis and a report to admin, boards, and parents. If you are as good as I thin you provably are, every time you stic your finger into a half full glass of water, the water level will rise. We will think about this more in the final Big Think of TM6.

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  6. I have always known the value of co-teaching, but truthfully haven't revisited the research in quite some time. Wow! I often reflect with teachers after a unit and tweak lessons for next time, but often do this informally. I love the idea of including this with the unit and having it publicly available (thanks for asking the question, Alanna). Appreciate all of your work!

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