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  1. CO-TEACHING A Promising Practice Intended to Improve Learning Outcomes for All Students Presented by: Tracy Huckell Student Services Coordinator GSSD May 2010

  2. Overview of Presentation • What Co-Teaching Is • Benefits • Co-teaching Approaches • The Teaching Partnership • Stages of Co-Teaching • Other Considerations • Videos of Co-Teaching Partnerships

  3. What is Co-Teaching? • Involves two or more professionals delivering instruction to a diverse or blended group of students in a single physical space • A sharing of teaching responsibilities • A service delivery model that is based on the philosophy of inclusion and supports collaborative practices among professionals.

  4. Rationale for Co-Teaching “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.” Friend, 2007, p. 48

  5. Rationale for Co-Teaching • Promotes principles of inclusion and collaborative practice among teachers • Provides a number of benefits for students, teachers, and organizations “Educators must pull together by sharing their work through collaboration; too much knowledge and too many skills are needed for any single professional to keep up with and master all of them.” Friend & Pope, 2005, p.59

  6. Benefits to Students • Access to general education curriculum and classroom teacher • Increases individualized instruction and teacher attention • Enhances academic performance • Reduces stigma associated with the “pull-out” model • Stronger peer relationships and social skills • Better attitudes about themselves, academic performance and social skills • Increased participation of students with disabilities • Continuity of instruction during teacher absence • Students exposed to positive models of adult collaboration and team work • All students have the opportunity to gain an appreciation of diversity within their learning and social community

  7. Benefits to Teachers • Opportunity for professional growth through the sharing of knowledge, skills, and resources ie. teaching strategies, styles, ways to differentiate • Increases job satisfaction and decreases feelings of isolation • Reduces student-teacher ratio • Student support teachers increase their understanding of general education curriculum and classroom expectations • General educators increase their ability to adapt/modify lessons • Improves communication between special and general education teachers • Ability to intensify instruction • Second set of eyes valuable for difficult situations…extreme behavior, subtle bullying etc.

  8. Benefits to Schools and Divisions • Promotes and sustains inclusive practices • Enhances sense of community within general education classrooms when students with diverse needs are educated along side their non-disable peers • Fewer referrals for special education services…needs are better addressed in the classroom • Parent satisfaction • Staff more united…greater appreciation for the knowledge & expertise of others

  9. Co-Teaching Approaches

  10. Supportive Co-teaching • One teacher leads the instruction and the other observes or assists students…similar to teacher/EA partnership • Often overused as it requires the least amount of change • Does not capitalize on the expertise and talents of both teachers • It is important that the supportive teacher not become ‘velcroed’ to individual students • 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

  11. Parallel Co-teaching • Involves co-teachers presenting the same or different content to groups of students. • 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. • 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)

  12. Complementary Co-teaching • One teacher enhances the instruction of another. This can be accomplished by performing a demonstration or providing a mini-lesson within a lesson. • 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. • 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.

  13. Team Teaching Co-teaching • 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.

  14. Things to Consider • Each co-teaching approach is a valid option • Some partners evolve through the ‘stages’ and others try all approaches within a few weeks of working together • The best way to learn to co-teach is to co-teach and learn by doing

  15. Implementation Considerations for Teachers involved in Co-Teaching • The teaching partnership • Pre-planning • Selecting & scheduling teachers • Co-teaching approaches • Professional development • Common planning time • Assessment • Administrative support

  16. The Teaching Partnership “Partners much establish trust, develop and work on communication, share the chores, celebrate, work together creatively to overcome the inevitable challenges and problems, and anticipate conflict and handle it in a constructive way.” Villa, Thousand, & Nevin, 2004, p. 3

  17. Factors in Building and Maintaining Positive Relationships • Trust and respect • Commitment to team goals • Effective interpersonal, collaborative, and conflict resolution skills • Understanding of self and partner • Continuous investment of time

  18. Stages to Co-Teaching • Beginning Stage • Compromising Stage • Collaborative Stage

  19. Beginning Stage • Communication may be guarded • Often one teacher teaches and the other assists • One teacher is typically designated the behavior manager

  20. Compromising Stage • Communication is more open and interactive • Planning is shared • Both teachers are involved in the instruction through mini-lessons • There is a mutual development of rules and routines for students

  21. Collaborative Stage • Effective communication is modeled for students • Planning is continual both outside and during instruction • Both teachers participate simultaneously in presenting the lesson • The teachers have a co-developed classroom management system that includes individual behavior plans

  22. Obstacles/Barriers • Fear of conflict • Dealing poorly with frustration • Lack of a shared vision or an inability to work with colleagues possessing different personalities or philosophies • Poor communication among partners • Low self-esteem or a lack of PD – train as partners • Lack of teacher knowledge & skill in classroom management, research-based instruction & high quality assessment methods • Lack of willingness to invest the time or effort • Reluctance to ‘lose’ control of the classroom • Lack of administrative support or understanding

  23. Roles and Responsibilities “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.” Ripley, in Cramer, 2006, p.13

  24. Key to Successful Co-Teaching • The three ‘C’s of Co-teaching are: • Communicate • Communicate in a different way • Communicate again! “Do you see what I mean?” “Does that sound right to you?” “Can you share your thoughts about how we should do this?”

  25. Pre-Planning – 8 Components • Interpersonal communication • Physical arrangement • Familiarity with the curriculum • Curriculum goals and modifications • Instructional planning • Instructional presentation • Classroom management • Assessment

  26. Scheduling • Co-teaching can be used with any grade level - preschool to high school. • Co-teaching can be used with any subject area, although the literature refers most often to language arts and mathematics.

  27. Common Planning Time • 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

  28. Changing the Way We Think “The real issue is not just about adding or manipulating time, but changing the fundamental way that teachers do business when they do sit down face-to-face to plan.” Villa, Thousand, & Nevin, 2004, p. 80

  29. Professional Development Should Include: • An understanding of co-teaching • Development of interpersonal, collaborative, and conflict resolution skills • Instructional strategies • Knowledge and skills for differentiating instruction • Characteristics of learners with different learning needs

  30. What a Better Way to Teach “The practice of co-teaching has the potential to be a wonderful strategy for meeting the needs of all students. Working in partnership with another teacher, bouncing ideas off of one another, planning and orchestrating the perfect lesson, having two pair of eyes and four hands, creating something that is better than that which each partner brings alone…what better way to teach?” Kohler-Evans, 2006, p. 3

  31. Closing Thought “All students benefit when their teachers share ideas, work cooperatively, and contribute to one another’s learning. There is a growing research base to support this claim.” Villa, Thousand & Nevin, 2004, xiii