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Facilitating Student Learning:<br />Co-Teaching English Language Arts<br />Villa, R., Thousand, J., Nevin, A. (2008) A guide to co-teaching: Practical tips to facilitate student learning. Corwinn Press, Thousand Oaks.<br />What is Co-Teaching?<br />Involves two or more professionals delivering instruction to a diverse or blended group of students in a single physical space <br />A sharing of teaching responsibilities<br />A service delivery model that is based on the philosophy of inclusion and supports collaborative practices among professionals.<br />“Co-teaching arrangements … are one promising option for meeting the learning needs of the many students who once spent a large part of the school day with special educators in separate classrooms.” <br />Friend, 2007, p. 48<br />What benefits are there for students?<br />Access to general education curriculum and classroom teacher<br />Increases individualized instruction and teacher attention<br />Enhances academic performance<br />Reduces stigma associated with the “pull-out” model<br />Stronger peer relationships and social skills<br />Better attitudes about themselves, academic performance and social skills<br />Increased participation of students with disabilities<br />Continuity of instruction during teacher absence<br />Students exposed to positive models of adult collaboration and team work<br />All students have the opportunity to gain an appreciation of diversity within their learning and social community<br />What benefits are there for teachers?<br />Opportunity for professional growth through the sharing of knowledge, skills, and resources ie. teaching strategies, styles, ways to differentiate<br />Increases job satisfaction and decreases feelings of isolation<br />Reduces student-teacher ratio<br />Student support teachers increase their understanding of general education curriculum and classroom expectations<br />General educators increase their ability to adapt/modify lessons <br />Improves communication between special and general education teachers<br />Ability to intensify instruction<br />Second set of eyes valuable for difficult situations…extreme behavior, subtle bullying etc.<br />What does co-teaching look like?<br />There are four approaches to co-teaching:<br />
Supportive Co-Teaching - One teacher leads and the other observes or offers assistance
Parallel Co-Teaching - Teachers work with groups and present the same information.
Complimentary Co-Teaching -A teacher enhances the instruction provided by the other teacher (i.e., mini lesson)
Team Teaching- Both teachers share the planning and the instruction in a coordinated fashion.
Supportive Co-Teaching:<br />One teacher leads the instruction and the other observes or assists students…similar to teacher/EA partnership<br />Often overused as it requires the least amount of change<br />Does not capitalize on the expertise and talents of both teachers<br />It is important that the supportive teacher not become ‘velcroed’ to individual students<br />Should take place most often in the classroom, but may have short periods of time with a child or group outside the classroom if necessary<br />Parallel Co-Teaching:<br />Involves co-teachers presenting the same or different content to groups of students. <br />In one variation, called “Station Teaching”, co- teachers presents different content to small groups of students. Students rotate through the classroom stations. One of the stations may require students to work independently. <br />This approach provides more individualized support and allows students to receive content from two different teachers using different strategies. (ie. same concept introduced in different ways in order to reinforce)<br />Complimentary Co-Teaching:<br />One teacher enhances the instruction of another. This can be accomplished by performing a demonstration or providing a mini-lesson within a lesson. <br />Capitalizes on the teaching strengths of both teachers, but requires more planning time, more flexibility, and a higher degree of trust than the first two approaches. <br />A variation of this approach is what is called “alternative teaching” where one teacher teaches the whole class, while the other pre-teaches, re-teaches, or enriches the lesson to a small group of students. This approach can provide greater individualized instruction.<br />Team Teaching Co-Teaching:<br />
Involves both teachers sharing in the planning and the delivery of the instruction in a coordinated fashion.
Lessons could be divided based on each teacher’s strengths or both teachers could instruct simultaneously in an almost conversational manner.
This approach requires a good working relationship between the teachers and a high level of trust.
Considerations for success:<br />
Joint planning time – mandatory, regular, scheduled, priority
Schedule co-teachers prep time together
Provide substitute coverage a few times during the year
Use school-wide activity days
Plan before and after school
Combine two classes and release teacher
Release teachers from some committee responsibilities
Administration cover classes from time to time
Classroom management – routines firmly in place
Curriculum outcome knowledge – planning with the desired results in mind
An understanding of co-teaching
Development of interpersonal, collaborative, and conflict resolution skills
Knowledge and skills for differentiating instruction
Characteristics of learners with different learning needs
The three ‘C’s of Co-teaching are:
Communicate<br />Communicate in a different way<br />Communicate again!<br />“Do you see what I mean?”<br />“Does that sound right to you?”<br />“Can you share your thoughts about how we should do this?”<br />Building and maintaining positive relationships:<br />Trust and respect<br />Commitment to team goals<br />Effective interpersonal, collaborative, and conflict resolution skills<br />Understanding of self and partner<br />Continuous investment of time<br />Beginning Stage:<br />Communication may be guarded<br />Often one teacher teaches and the other assists<br />One teacher is typically designated the behavior manager<br />Compromising Stage:<br />Communication is more open and interactive<br />Planning is shared<br />Both teachers are involved in the instruction through mini-lessons<br />There is a mutual development of rules and routines for students<br />Collaborative Stage:<br />Effective communication is modeled for students<br />Planning is continual both outside and during instruction<br />Both teachers participate simultaneously in presenting the lesson<br />The teachers have a co-developed classroom management system that includes individual behavior plans<br />Obstacles and Barriers:<br />Fear of conflict<br />Dealing poorly with frustration<br />Lack of a shared vision or an inability to work with colleagues possessing different personalities or philosophies <br />Poor communication among partners<br />Low self-esteem or a lack of PD – train as partners<br />Lack of teacher knowledge & skill in classroom management, research-based instruction & high quality assessment methods<br />Lack of willingness to invest the time or effort<br />Reluctance to ‘lose’ control of the classroom<br />Lack of administrative support or understanding<br />Roles and Responsibilities:<br />“The biggest challenge for educators is in deciding to share the role that has traditionally been individual: to share the goals, decisions, classroom instruction, responsibility for students, assessment of student learning, problem solving, and classroom management. The teachers must begin to think of it as our class.” <br />Ripley, in Cramer, 2006, p.13<br />