Team Teaching

March 11, 2009
Two pairs of hands clasped together.

I spent last week in Springfield, Illinois at one of our open Nonviolent Crisis Intervention® training programs. Had a group of thirteen. Two participants out of the group were Certified Instructors in good standing who attended to refresh their skills. They were from the same facility and worked at a detention center for young sex offenders. They had a security role at their facility. The rest of the participants were attending for the entire four days to earn their certification. Many that were present were from the same facilities. It seems that organizations see the wisdom in having more than one Certified Instructor to conduct the training process.

Those that were from the same organizations were eager to find out about teaching the program together. Something that is known as “team teaching.” Let’s start with what team teaching is. At the very least, team teaching is being in the same training room, at the same time, supporting one another. “Supporting one another” is open to interpretation but it could mean anything that a Certified Instructor finds useful in his or her efforts to conduct the training process. That could be something as simple as moral support to an Instructor who is anxious or nervous about standing in front of a group of people.

Sometimes we limit our definition of team teaching to thinking that it only means we each take different parts of the program and train our entire group in only those pieces. That is just one example of how to go about team teaching. Other examples include one instructor verbally lecturing while the other writes down key lecture points on the flip chart or whiteboard. Instructors who utilize the Electronic Presentation as their visual may find it helpful to team teach so one Instructor can take responsibility for assuring participant feedback is captured on a flip chart or whiteboard while the other focuses on the Electronic Presentation. This is a great thing to think about because it is easy to go on auto-pilot when using the Electronic Presentation (or any powerpoint presentation) and forget to use other visuals when facilitating group input/feedback. Team teaching allows for a different level of attention when conducting an exercise. Many exercises involve role-plays that may divide your class into two groups. With team teaching, both groups can have an Instructor available to provide direction and motivation.

Team teaching is limited to two to three Instructors. But even three Instructors can have their hands full during the course. Team teaching is a good idea for the same reasons that the Crisis Prevention Institute advocates for team response to any crisis situation; it is safer and could increase the professionalism displayed by those on the team. What’s more, the Instructors who team-teach each get credit for the time they spend training. Trainers do not have to limit their assistance to one another to the training room either. Instructors can work together to announce the training, prepare the training room, greet attendees at the door, help each other answer questions outside the training room and record and send in the appropriate documentation once the training is finished.

Why go it alone when you can work with others? If you plan to attend a course presented by the Crisis Prevention Institute, grab a coworker and come to the training together! You’ll be glad you did.

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