Friday, November 20, 2015

What is pair teaching? What are its benefits and drawbacks?

 Index Terms—Pair teaching, pair lecturing, team teaching, reflective practice, reflection-in-action, constructive alignment, teacher development.
Pair lecturing enables a more thorough reflection-on-action since the teaching experience is shared with a pair professor. It also allows deeper reflection-in-action, incorporating student interaction into the lecture plan while keeping the assessment methods and the teaching activities affiliated with the course objectives.
A quick search on the phrase “pair teaching “using Google or Scholar gives many definitions.

According to Pair Teaching – an eXtreme Teaching Practice by Roy Andersson and Lars Bendix

Pair Teaching, is working with a partner who can help and support you during some or all of four fundamental values: Feedback, Communication, Respect, and Courage.
Pair Teaching is highly repetitious or frequentative and covers some specific practices. The objective of cooperation is to support the improvement of student learning.
The partner is supposed to help verify the whole process of going through all of the stages of the learning cycle – and carry on doing it.
In the general remarks, we read about the eXtreme Programming concept.
The Pair Programming practice of eXtreme Programming uses the model of a driver, who does the work and takes care of the details, and a navigator, who observes, comments, asks questions, makes suggestions and, in general, takes care of the big picture. Additionally, it recommends switching between the roles of driver and navigator within a pair. There is also the suggestion that taking turns should apply to the practice of Pair Teaching.
The considerable standard definitions of Pair Teaching have absolutely nothing to do with the real setting of teaching in pairs (some of the hits deals with teaching pairs). Pair Teaching is not a well-known and well-defined concept. Searching instead for “team|group|collaborative teaching” gives the impression that these are the words or phrases that are frequently used because of its recurrence popularity.
However, by insisting on the use of Pair, we want to stress the difference between two people solving a task and a group of people building a product (student learning) and for which they might make use of PT or collaborative teaching.
The cost-effectiveness of Pair Programming is observable, in part, because the two activities (writing the code and reviewing the code) are carried out in parallel. In point of fact that there is no tradition of accurate reflection on teaching in PT, we have to rely more on the benefits to justify the added costs of two people presence. Furthermore, the pair will also be able to take care of larger groups than one person.
Teaching a course together seems to have more benefits than drawbacks.
In conclusion, teaching should not be a solitaire activity, but something that is done in pairs. Done the right way, Pair Teaching can bring many benefits that compensate the additional costs.
Some of these benefits are immediate and explicit – like having someone to brainstorm with, someone who can help “sort out” your ideas, the possibility to handle larger groups of students and the ability to step in for each other in the case of absence. However, most paybacks are more long-term benefits.
Alternatively, “hidden” glitches – like communicating information, assuring quality aspects, educating colleagues are significant. It is important to put an accurate value also to these benefits when judging if Pair Teaching is cost-effective or not.
  • Andersson, R., Bendix, L., eXtreme Teaching, in proceedings of 3: ePedagogiska Inspirationskonferensen, LTH, Lund, May 31, 2005.
  • Andersson, R., Bendix, L., Towards a Set of eXtreme Teaching Practices, in proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Computer Science Education, Koli, Finland, November 17-20, 2005.
  • Andersson, R., Bendix, L., eXtreme Teaching – a Framework for Continuous Improvement, to appear in Journal of Computer Science Education, 2006.
  • Beck, K.: Extreme Programming Explained – Embrace Change,  Second Edition, Addison-Wesley, 2005.
  • Boyer, E., L., Scholarship Reconsidered. Priorities of the Professoriate, The Carnegie Foundation, 1990.
  • Hedin, G., Bendix, L., Magnusson, B., Teaching eXtreme Programming to Large Groups of Students, Journal of Systems and Software, January 2005.
  • Kolb, D. A., Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning, Prentice-Hall, 1984.
  • Pair teaching in preservice teacher education P Medgyes, E Nyilasi - Foreign Language Annals, 1997 - Wiley Online Library
  • Medgyes, P. and Nyilasi, E. (1997), Pair Teaching in Preservice Teacher Education. Foreign Language Annals, 30: 352–368. doi: 10.1111/j.1944-9720.1997.tb02358.x