Don’t Give Up! Practical Strategies for Challenging Collaboration Sharon Cramer Jan Stivers Presented by Vedia Page, Jennifer Humphrey & Suzy Flack
Objectives Provide • information about the primary goals of co-teaching and collaboration • tips and strategies for co-teaching • strategies on how to deal with difficult co-teaching relationships Increase • awareness of effective co-teaching characteristics
Case Studies in Co-Teaching in the Content Areas: Successes, Failures and ChallengesM. Mastropieri, T. Scruggs, J. Gretz, J. Norland, W. Gardizi, and K. McDuffie Primary Goals of Co-teaching and Collaboration Include: • Providing a wider range of instructional options for student with disabilities • Enhancing participation of students with disabilities in the general education classroom • Enhancing the performance of student with disabilities
Tips and Strategies for Co-Teaching at the Secondary LevelMurawski & Dieker 2004 “Co-teaching is a method by which educators can meet the needs of students with and without disabilities who are struggling…” Prepare to co-teach • Assess the current environment- What type of collaboration currently exists? • Move in Slowly- What is the joint understanding of co-teaching as a service delivery model? • Involve an administrator- Can the administrator be counted on for support? • Get to know your partner • Create a workable schedule
Once a team is formed • Cooperation in the planning stage • Get administrator support in scheduling common planning periods • If common planning is not possible consider meeting during: student activities, lunch, before/after school, early/late start school days, or request a substitute • Discuss what will be taught • Use a pre-made co-teaching plan book • Include days when the Special Education teacher will take the lead • Ask the general education teacher to provide an overview of content, curriculum, and standards
Instructional • Discuss learning style preferences • Develop unobtrusive signals for one another (general and special education teacher) to communicate • Give students short “brain breaks” to process information • Vary instruction practices • Create signals with students that are consistent • Post a structured agenda for the class • Use disagreements and discussions about content for modeling appropriate communication techniques
Characteristic of Successful Co-Teaching • Outstanding working relationships between special education and general education teachers • Strengths as motivators • Time allocated for planning • Appropriate curriculum • Effective instructional skills • Disability-specific teaching adaptations • Expertise in content-area
Scenario • Identify the problems that were inhibiting collaboration. • How did the individual adjust her thinking? • What would you do?
What would you do? When I started to work on improving our relationship, I decided to pick a problem I faced with my co-teacher. She loves to complain about the school administration. It makes me very uncomfortable: especially since I think her criticisms are exaggerated and sometimes unfair. But I didn’t want to do or say anything to alienate her, because she is a good teacher for my students. As I learned about collaboration, I realized that I couldn’t control her complaining, but I could control my response. I learned to avoid responding to her complaints as a result our prep period is less stressful for me. The change is that I don’t let it get to me anymore. I just accept it as part of her style, something I’m willing to accommodate in the interest of preserving a relationship that serve my students well. It was important to me to learn that we can work together, even if we are not completely compatible.
Assessment • Did you learn any new co-teaching “tips” or strategies today? • What are the top common three characteristics of effective co-teaching? • Identify one co-teaching “tip” or strategy discussed today that you believe you (or your teams or school) could begin implementing with ease. • Do you agree with the major goal of co-teaching and collaboration discussed today? Why or why not? • Think of a difficult co-teaching relationship that you were or are a part of, did you employ anything different from or in addition to the effective strategies discussed today? If so, briefly describe one.