Teacher Talks: The Benefits of a True Co-teaching Model

In this edition of Teacher Talks, April Peng, the Yew Chung International School of Beijing’s Primary Chinese Curriculum Coordinator, gives an in-depth introduction and explanation of the benefits of YCIS Beijing’s unique and fully rounded bilingual co-teaching model.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on April 8, 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.


The Yew Chung International School Statement of Educational Philosophy and Aims lays the framework for several unique features of Yew Chung Education. One of these unique features is the concept of Co-teaching.

For many parents, the concept of co-teaching can be hard to visualize. A real co-teaching classroom does not simply mean one English teacher with a Chinese-speaking assistant or vice-versa. True Co-teaching means one Chinese- and one English-speaking teacher for each Primary class. In each class, these two teachers share all of the class management, planning, and decision-making responsibilities.


Maths and topic (combined Science, Geography, and History) classes are taught co-operatively. Co-teachers jointly plan lessons together ahead of time. According to the learning objectives, co-teachers will select from a number of different effective co-teaching modes, including one teaching - one supporting, station teaching, parallel teaching, alternative teaching, and team teaching, to maximize learning efficiency and meet the learning needs of students. This allows teachers to respond to the diverse range of needs of their students, lowers student/teacher ratio, and expand each teacher’s professional expertise.

One of the more entertaining aspects of this bilingual and bicultural programme is comparative study. During these units, students compare all kinds of Chinese and Western counterparts, such as Zheng He and Magellan, courtyard dwellings and European houses, traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine, China's aviation history and Western aviation history, etc. Students move back and forth between different times, spaces, and cultures, exploring and enjoying the moment of learning while becoming fully rounded and bilingual learners.


In Years 3-5, flexible Learning Communities set the stage for the next step in the evolution of co-teaching, with as many as six co-teachers managing an entire grade level together. Teachers have the freedom to pursue a wider variety of teaching objectives and lesson models thanks to being able to shift student group size and makeup as needed.

Co-teaching aims to promote international understanding, respect for all, and a sense of support and care in a multinational and multilingual classroom community. This also supports a bilingual programme that emphasizes both English and Chinese languages and cultures and blends tradition with modernity to reap the harvest of both past and present. 

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