Team teaching play-by-play and color commentatorPart of what I do as I develop people is to try to involve them in some of the things I’m doing when possible. One such area is team teaching. I like to help people gain experience and move toward in developing their teaching skills.

The best way I’ve found to practice team teaching is to carve out two distinct roles. Instead of each of us doing independent presentations and taking turns, I like to do what I call play-by-play and color commentator. You’ve seen this approach in sports– watch for it if you see the big game. Usually there are two announcers. One person does the play-by-play, describing what’s happening on the field: “they gained three yards,” or “incomplete pass.”

Next to them is the color commentator, usually someone who’s had experience on the field, a former player or coach, who has behind the scenes insights as to why something worked or didn’t work: “did you notice _____? This is because ______?” They fill in some of the back story, making it a richer experience to listen to.

In this way, it’s one person’s job to get through the required material and the other person’s job to add stories and color, underscoring important points. “Did you catch what Bob just said? I can give you an example of what it looks like when you don’t follow that principle….” In this way the collective wisdom of the teaching team can be maximized, helping the teaching come alive. The secret is that you have to not care who gets credit: what’s important is the learners, not who says what or who gets the most airtime.