Pros & Cons of the One Teach, One Drift Co-Teach Model


There are 5 models of co-teach that are used in class. I combine the one teach, one observe model with the one teacher, one assist, and I will call this the one teach, one drift model. This blog will focus on this most popular model.

In the one, teach, one drift model, the content teacher leads the whole class lesson while the co-teacher moves around the room providing support and observing to gather data as needed.

Due to difficulties in ability to co-plan lessons, this model is the most popular. However, it is cautioned against using too frequently. The following are some pros and cons of using this model.


1.The co-teacher is able to  redirect and address  behavior issues, while the general education teacher instructs.

  • Without a co-teacher in the room, the general education teacher will have to manage the classroom behavior, which interrupts instruction.
  • The teacher often resorts to calling the misbehaving students out in front of the class, which is not good for rapport.
  • The co-teacher can address behaviors by quietly redirecting students who are talking during instruction. If the student becomes more disruptive, he can be pulled into the hallway for a private talk.
  • This allows the content teacher to lead the lesson and focus on delivery.

2.Monitor and assist with student work without interruption.

  • If the students are supposed to be following along with the lesson and taking notes or completing a worksheet, he can get help if he is doing the assignment wrong or be provided with a copy of the notes if falling behind.

3.Monitor and collect data on participation.

  • The co-teacher can keep track of how many times each student is called on or raises his hand to answer questions or contribute in some way.
  • When students are not doing their work, it can also be documented as not participating.
  • This information can help inform instruction for the next class period.

4.The co-teacher is able to collect data on students’ academic behaviors and progress.

  • It can be noted what types of problems, concepts, etc. the student struggles with, as well as any strengths observed. This information can be used to make goals.

5.The co-teacher can assist with students who are not following directions or do not understand.

6.The co-teacher can clarify vocabulary or complex concepts while instruction is taking place.

  • Often times students are afraid to ask questions in front of the class because they will feel dumb.
  • Having a teacher there to check for understanding and reteach is very helpful.

7. Easier to effectively administer accommodations and modifications according to each student’s IEP.

  • This is very difficult to do, especially when there are several different students with various disabilities.

8.Students receive individualized instruction.

  • When needed, the co-teacher can sit side-by-side and provide one-on-one assistance temporarily.

9.Keeps students focused and quiet due to constant proximity

  • Since the co-teacher is constantly walking around the room, students tend to stay on task more.

10.Requires little to no planning on the part of the co-teacher

  • The co-teacher can just walk in the room and learn what the lesson is as the students do.
  • This is necessary when there is no time for planning.

11.Saves time,  and helps with transitioning smoothly by distributing materials

  • The co-teacher can pass out materials or pick up papers while instruction is going on so that students are immediately ready for the next part of the lesson.

12.The lead teacher can benefit from feedback on instruction.

  • After class, the co-teacher can share any positive observations or constructive criticism to the lead teacher.


1.The lead teacher may be disturbed by any conversation needed between co-teacher and student.

  • When the co-teacher is clarifying instruction or dealing with behavior, the teacher leading instruction may have a hard time focusing.

2.Does not make full use of both instructors.

  • The co-teacher is a teacher with her own strengths that may compliment the general education teachers methods.

3.Establishes a lower level of respect for the co-teacher if the general educator delivers all whole class instruction and the special educator serves as an assistant.

  • Often students see the co-teacher as the helper and the teacher leading the lesson as the “real” teacher.
  • The co-teacher has to not let their ego get in the way, which can be hard!

4.Having a teacher walking around constantly during a lesson may be distracting to some students.

5.Students expect immediate one-on-one assistance.

  • Students may become spoiled with the one-on-one attention and overuse this aid.


The one teach, one drift model of co-teach has its place in the classroom, but most experts caution on using it often due to many of the cons. However, as you can see, there are more positive things than negative when it comes to using this model. In some co-teach situations, this is the only model that is reasonable due to the co-teacher and general education teacher not meeting to co-plan.

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Pros & Cons of the Co-Teach Model- One Teach One Drift