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Supervising Co-Teaching Teams: Whose Line is it Anyway?

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  1. Supervising Co-Teaching Teams: Whose Line is it Anyway? Your name here Date, location, etc.

  2. Presentation Overview • Introduction to national assistance centers and the Access Center • Introduction to co-teaching • Planning for & scheduling co-teaching • Suggestions for administrators • Observing & evaluating co-teaching teams • Co-teaching Rating Scale (CtRS) • Case study

  3. Access Center Mission To provide technical assistance that strengthens state and local capacity to help students with disabilities learn through general education curriculum.

  4. What is “Access”? • Active learning of the content and skills that define the general education curriculum • Supports to Improve Access • Instructional and Learning Goals • Research-based Instructional Methods and Practices • Research-based Materials and Media • Research-based Supports and Accommodations • Appropriate Assessment and Documentation

  5. Where to begin: building bridges Walking across the bridge, leaving the familiar ground of working alone, is the first act of collaboration. All parties are on neutral territory, with the security of knowing they can return to land better, stronger and changed. And perhaps they will return to the same side of the bridge even though they started from opposite sides.

  6. Collaboration won’t just happen • Deliberate • Structured • Systematic • Ongoing

  7. Why won’t it just happen? • Some findings… • General educators begin with the curriculum first and use assessment to determine what was learned • Special educators begin with assessment first and design instruction to repair gaps in learning • No wonder we are talking different languages

  8. How can we work with this? • Provide purpose and structure • Create baseline and a plan for scaffolded change • Provide a visual map to guide discussion • Keep discussions objective and data driven • Allow many issues to be put on the table for consideration

  9. What we have learned… General educators are more receptive to change when they have background knowledge and a chance to participate in the decisions rather than being given a special education mandate to follow.

  10. What we have learned… • Parent concerns decrease when special and general education practices are aligned, data is shared and is used to identify how students are progressing in the general education domain first.

  11. Aligning Practices through Co-Teaching • Co-teaching is becoming one of the fastest growing inclusive school practices • Despite this rapid increase in popularity, co-teaching remains one of the most commonly misunderstood practices in education

  12. Defining Co-Teaching • Co-teaching occurs when two or more professionals jointly deliver substantive instruction to a diverse, or blended, group of students in a single physical space (Cook and Friend, 1995, pg 1)

  13. Three Major Models • Consultant model • Coaching Model • Collaborative (or Teaming) Model

  14. Most Common Approaches • One Teaching, One Drifting • Parallel Teaching • Station Teaching • Alternative Teaching • Team Teaching

  15. One Teaching, One Drifting • One teacher plans and instructs, one teacher provides adaptations and other support as needed • Requires very little joint planning • Should be used sparingly • Can result in one teacher, most often the general educator taking the lead role the majority of the time • Can also be distracting to students, who may also become dependent on drifting teacher

  16. Parallel Teaching • Teachers share responsibility for planning and instruction • Class is split into heterogeneous groups and each teacher instructs half on the same material • Content covered is the same, but methods of delivery may differ • Both teachers need to be proficient in the content being taught

  17. Station Teaching • Teachers divide the responsibility of planning and instruction • Students rotated on pre-determined schedule through stations • Teachers repeat instruction to each group that comes through--though delivery may vary according to student needs • Approach can be used even if teachers have very different pedagogical approaches • Each teacher instructs every student

  18. Alternative Teaching • Teachers divide responsibility for planning and instruction • The majority of students remain in large group setting, while some students work in a small group for pre-teaching, enrichment, re-teaching or other individualized instruction • Allows for highly individualized instruction to be offered • Teachers should be careful that the same students are not always pulled aside

  19. Team Teaching • Teachers share responsibility for planning and instruction • Teachers work as a team to introduce new content, work on developing skills, clarify information, and facilitate learning and classroom management • This requires the most mutual trust and respect between teachers, and that they are able to mesh their teaching styles

  20. Benefits of collaboration • Shared responsibility for educating all students • Shared understanding and use of common assessment data • Supporting ownership for programming and interventions • Creating common understanding • Data driven problem solving

  21. Sounds good…now what? Getting co-teaching started at the building and classroom levels

  22. Considerations • Teachers need to volunteer and agree to co-teach • Gradual implementation • Attention needs to be given to setting changes that an inclusive classroom may invoke • Goals and support services need to reflect the new learning experiences that students will receive in general education classes

  23. Not an all-or-nothing approach • Teachers do not have to commit to only one approach of co-teaching • Teachers do not have to only co-teach • Co-teaching is not the only option for serving students • Some students with disabilities may be in a co-taught classroom for only part of the day

  24. Limitations and Potential Drawbacks • Not easy to maintain in schools • May not be enough special education teachers to go around • Co-taught classrooms may be disproportionally filled with SWDs • Special educators can function as more of a teaching assistant than a co-educator

  25. Benefits of collaboration • Shared responsibility for educating all students • Shared understanding and use of common assessment data • Supporting ownership for programming and interventions • Creating common understanding • Data driven problem solving

  26. Action Steps • Administrators should provide information, encourage proactive preparation from teachers • Assess level of collaboration currently in place • Pre-plan • Implement slowly…baby steps!

  27. Planning and Scheduling • Requires thoughtful planning time • Administrative support is essential • Here is where the alignment of special and general education occurs, as well as the alignment of assessment and instruction • School-level scheduling should be done after student needs have been identified

  28. Perspective Matters Depending on the orientation of supervisor, the same co-taught lesson could be viewed in diametrically opposing ways

  29. The two teachers looked at each other in disbelief. One was a tenured secondary English teacher who had taught for 6 years in this large middle-class, suburban high school. The other was a first year special education teacher who recently received her master’s degree. They had been co-teaching a ninth grade English class for 4 months, and although the beginning weeks were a bit overwhelming, they were rather proud of their cooperative and respectful relationship. They had been co-planning, co-grading, and co-teaching, and they were certain the class would go well. The students responded to the co-teachers’ combined efforts, and both social and academic progress was noted for all students in the class. The teachers were looking at their observation reports. The special education and English chairpersons had decided to observe the co-teaching class at the same time. The special education teacher read her report: it was glowing. Her supervisor recognized the adaptations that were made in the materials, saw that she worked with individual students, observed her contribution to the teaching of the mini-lesson, noted the parity she enjoyed with her co-teacher, and acknowledged the acceptance and respect of her students. The general education teacher held back tears as she read her write-up. How could this be? She had never received an unsatisfactory observation, and prided herself on her competency in the classroom. Her supervisors had repeatedly recognized her skills as a teacher. She read through the comments—her chairperson thought there hadn’t been enough time spent developing the content of the lesson and that the student group work detracted from more formal delivery of content. The chair also felt the general education teacher had relinquished too much of her role as content specialist to the special education teacher and noted there was too much interaction between the co-teachers.

  30. District Level Planning Issues • District-level planning helps reduce duplication of effort • Facilitates communication within the system and in the larger community • Fosters better cooperation and collaboration among schools

  31. District Level Planning Task Force • Administrators • Teacher leaders • Related services professionals • Families • Other appropriate community agency representatives

  32. District Level Planning Task Force (cont’d) • District level planning ensures that potential consequences are considered before new programs and services are implemented. • The effect of one seventh grade team initiating co-teaching on the other 7th grade teams • How will it impact the elementary and high school programs?

  33. Building-Level Planning Issues • Communicate Administrative Support and Leadership • Select Capable and Willing Participants • Provide Ongoing Staff Development • Establish Balanced Classroom Rosters • Provide Weekly Scheduled Co-Planning Time • Develop Appropriate IEPs

  34. Suggestions for Administrators Regarding Co-teaching

  35. Communicate Administrative Support and Leadership • Principal support, understanding, and involvement serve as pivotal factors in lasting success (Barth, 1990; Pugach & Johnson, 1990) • Effective principals provide vision, recognition, and encouragement during the implementation process (Adams & Cessna, 1991; Barth, 1990; Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; Fullan, 1993)

  36. Select Capable and Willing Participants • Teachers viewed as leaders by their colleagues • Willing to make the commitment of additional time and effort • Select capable volunteers for co-teaching assignments • Both members of the team must be capable contributors • Participants should make a good faith commitment to work together for a minimum of 2 years

  37. Provide Ongoing Staff Development • 3-5 days of preparation before classroom implementation • Sessions should provide instruction related to • Effective co-planning • Co-teaching models • Student scheduling • Instructional considerations • Ongoing performance assessment • Interpersonal communication • Time for partners to discuss concerns, solve problems, and formulate initial implementation plans

  38. Provide Ongoing Staff Development • Ongoing skill development and support should be provided • Participation in college courses, summer workshops, and professional conferences should be encouraged • Site visits to model programs • Monthly problem-solving meetings with other co-teachers • Building administrators should participate with co-teaching teams in staff development events

  39. Establish Balanced Classroom Rosters • School teams need to carefully assess student needs and available resources • In a class of 25 students, no more that 6 class members should have identified disabilities in the mild to moderate range

  40. Provide Weekly ScheduledCo-Planning Time • Co-teaching teams should have a minimum of one scheduled planning period (45-60 minutes) per week • 10 minutes per lesson – for experienced teams (Dieker, 2001)

  41. Develop Appropriate IEPs • Attention needs to be given to setting changes that an inclusive classroom may invoke • Goals and support services need to reflect the new learning experiences that students will receive in general education classes

  42. Observing and Evaluating Co-teaching Teams

  43. Critical Components for Evaluating a Co-Taught Classroom • What makes a good lesson? • Are there components of a co-taught lesson that require unique perspectives in order to be evaluated effectively?

  44. What Makes a Good Lesson? • Lessons are student-centered • Recognition of diverse learning styles of students • Questions tap high-order thinking • Engagement of students and evidence that students are not on task

  45. A Good Lesson… • Makes use of materials that are useful and available • Pays attention to motivation • Incorporates awareness of transitions • Contains aims that are open-ended

  46. A Good Lesson… • Summation at the middle and end of the lesson • Activities that apply the information • Connections made to students’ experiences • Positive student-teacher relationships

  47. A Good Lesson… • Appropriate use of technology • Adherence to state standards • Reinforcement of previously learned and new material • Positive teacher-teacher relationships