How Many Co-Teaching Lessons Do You Need to Plan and Present with Your Mentor Teacher for Your Portfolio?

  • joub
  • Jun 25, 2024

Co-teaching has become a crucial component in teacher education programs worldwide, including in South Africa. This essay aims to explore the requirements for planning and presenting co-teaching lessons with a mentor teacher as part of the portfolio development process in South Africa.

Co-Teaching Lessons

Introduction to Co-Teaching in Teacher Education

Co-teaching involves collaborative teaching between a mentor teacher and a student teacher (pre-service teacher) as part of the teacher education curriculum. It provides an opportunity for student teachers to apply theoretical knowledge in real classroom settings under the guidance and support of experienced educators. Co-teaching is not only about sharing teaching responsibilities but also about learning through observation, reflection, and active participation in the teaching-learning process.

Importance of Co-Teaching in Portfolio Development

Co-teaching plays a pivotal role in the development of a teacher’s portfolio, which serves as a comprehensive record of their teaching experiences, achievements, and growth. By engaging in co-teaching lessons with a mentor teacher, student teachers can demonstrate their pedagogical skills, instructional strategies, and ability to effectively manage classroom dynamics. These experiences are documented in the portfolio to showcase readiness for professional teaching roles.

Requirements for Co-Teaching Lessons in South Africa

Minimum Number of Co-Teaching Lessons

In South Africa, the specific requirements for the number of co-teaching lessons vary depending on the teacher education program and institution. Typically, student teachers are expected to plan and present a series of co-teaching lessons throughout their practicum or teaching internship period. The minimum number of co-teaching lessons required for the portfolio may range from 5 to 10 sessions, depending on the program’s guidelines and accreditation standards.

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Collaboration with Mentor Teacher

The co-teaching process involves close collaboration between the student teacher and the mentor teacher. Student teachers work alongside their mentors to plan lessons, develop instructional materials, and implement teaching strategies aligned with curriculum objectives and learner needs. The mentor teacher provides guidance, feedback, and constructive criticism to support the student teacher’s professional development and growth.

Documentation and Reflection

Each co-teaching lesson is documented in the portfolio, which includes detailed lesson plans, instructional materials, assessments, and reflections on teaching practices and student learning outcomes. Reflections provide insights into the student teacher’s pedagogical decisions, classroom management strategies, and instructional effectiveness. They also demonstrate critical thinking, self-awareness, and continuous professional learning.

Co-Teaching Requirements at a South African University

To illustrate the application of co-teaching in teacher education in South Africa, let’s consider a case study based on a hypothetical teacher education program at a university:

Program Overview

The Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) program at University X requires student teachers specializing in Foundation Phase Teaching to complete a practicum period, which includes co-teaching with mentor teachers in primary schools.

Co-Teaching Requirements

  • Number of Lessons: Each student teacher is required to plan and present a minimum of 8 co-teaching lessons with their mentor teacher.
  • Lesson Planning: Student teachers collaborate with mentors to develop lesson plans that integrate curriculum objectives, teaching strategies, and assessment methods tailored to the needs of Foundation Phase learners.
  • Implementation: Student teachers actively participate in delivering lessons, engaging with learners, and adapting instructional strategies based on classroom dynamics and student responses.
  • Reflections: After each co-teaching session, student teachers write reflective journals or reports that analyze their teaching experiences, highlight successes and challenges, and propose strategies for improvement.
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Mentor Teacher Role

  • Guidance and Support: Mentor teachers provide ongoing support, guidance, and feedback to student teachers throughout the co-teaching process.
  • Modeling Best Practices: Mentors demonstrate effective teaching practices, classroom management techniques, and strategies for differentiated instruction.
  • Assessment and Feedback: Mentors assess student teachers’ performance, provide formative feedback on teaching practices, and collaborate on identifying areas for professional growth and development.

Benefits of Co-Teaching in Portfolio Development

Enhanced Teaching Skills

Engaging in co-teaching allows student teachers to develop and refine their teaching skills, including lesson planning, instructional delivery, classroom management, and student assessment. By actively participating in co-teaching lessons, student teachers gain practical experience and confidence in their ability to facilitate meaningful learning experiences for diverse learners.

Professional Growth and Development

Co-teaching promotes continuous professional growth by encouraging student teachers to reflect critically on their teaching practices, seek constructive feedback from mentors, and implement evidence-based strategies to enhance instructional effectiveness. Through reflective practice, student teachers cultivate a commitment to lifelong learning and professional development.

Preparation for Professional Practice

By meeting co-teaching requirements and compiling a comprehensive portfolio, student teachers demonstrate readiness for professional teaching roles in South Africa’s education system. The portfolio serves as a valuable tool for job applications, interviews, and professional certification processes, showcasing evidence of teaching competencies, pedagogical knowledge, and commitment to student-centered learning.


In conclusion, co-teaching plays a vital role in portfolio development for student teachers in South Africa, providing opportunities to apply theoretical knowledge in real classroom settings, collaborate with mentor teachers, and document teaching experiences. By planning and presenting a series of co-teaching lessons, student teachers demonstrate their readiness for professional teaching roles, cultivate essential teaching skills, and contribute to ongoing professional growth and development. Co-teaching serves as a bridge between teacher education programs and the realities of classroom practice, preparing student teachers to make meaningful contributions to educational excellence in South Africa.

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