Co-Teaching Embracing Change & Becoming Better Educators By: Drayton Shanks
Objectives • Understand what co-teaching is. • Learn how to begin the co-teaching process successfully. • Develop the knowledge base of what it takes to keep a co-teaching relationship functioning at a high level. • Understand that co-teaching is service delivery tool that administration must be highly involved in. • Realize how proper co-teaching will positively affect everyone involved.
What is Co-Teaching • Co-teaching is a collaborative effort between two or more teachers, usually a general educator and a special educator, on every intricacy in their shared classroom (Harbort, Gunter, Hull, Brown, & Venn, 2007).
There are many factors that go into making this style of teaching successful, and they must all be met with the utmost dedication by everyone involved. A general educator was quoted saying “I know how beneficial it (co-teaching) is to the students. It's not always easy to work with another adult, but because it is so powerful for the students, I think it's worthwhile, whatever the inconvenience it might be for the teachers" (Cramer, & Nevin, 2006). Co-Teaching
Co-Teaching • In many cases, a major reason for introducing co-teaching is to ensure students with disabilities are receiving the same curriculum and teacher time as other students within the classroom. • For this process to occur the educators involved must participate fully, but not necessarily in the same way, when developing and implementing classroom instruction (Friend, & Hurley-Chamberlain, 2009).
Co-Teaching • Although special education students and co-teachers are apparent within a single co-taught classroom, the students should be grouped heterogeneously as a class, and the teachers should work with all of the students in the classroom with the view of “our” students (Friend, & Hurley-Chamberlain, 2009). • By simply placing another educator in a single classroom, and telling the teachers involved to “co-teach,” does not mean this is what will transpire. • One teacher can not be involved to merely help the “main” educator when deemed necessary, nor can an obvious division between special education students and their peers be present.
Co-Teaching • A co-teaching pair must be both extremely cooperative and assertive at the same time, in order to be collaborating together properly. A lack of either of these two will result in a poor relationship.
Co-Teaching • Co-teaching can produce the ability to provide precise instruction and attention to students, at the exact time in which they need it (Murawski, & Hughes, 2009). • Co-teachers must develop a special bond with one another to be successful. • They must collaborate and consult with one another regularly on various topics and issues.
Co-Teaching • Co-teaching pairs should not be selected randomly by administrators. • These relationships should be founded on mutual areas of commonality, such as the desire to be a part of the co-teaching in the first place (Simmons, & Magiera, 2007). • It is ideal to have teachers volunteer for co-teaching, although it is inevitable this will not always be the case. But, just because teachers have not volunteered for this service, does not mean it is not important to place a high emphasis on ensuring they will make a successful co-teaching couple.
Co-Teaching • In a study done interviewing fifteen secondary teachers from suburban and urban areas in the Seattle area, each teacher was asked what the most important feature of a co-teaching relationship was (Kohler-Evans, 2006). • The number one answer was common planning time, followed very closely by having a positive co-teacher relationship (Kohler-Evans, 2006). • Teachers should have similar values and philosophies on teaching in order to produce a greater co-teaching combination (Kohler-Evans, 2006).
Co-Teaching • It has been shown that co-taught classrooms produce a superior consistency in behavioral and academic success (Murawski, & Hughes, 2009). • It is the proper foundation being laid by administration, and correct steps followed by educators that make these results possible.
Co-Teaching • Co-teaching involves a great deal of work for the educators involved, but for ultimate success there must also be a strong presence of administrative support in this area (Friend, & Cook, 2010). • It is the administration’s job to support planning/ scheduling time, as well as provide sufficient training for all teachers involved in the process of co-teaching (Cramer, & Nevin, 2006). • Teachers will embrace and succeed in co-teaching if they have a strong group of leadership (administration) guiding them along.
Co-Teaching • Along with support teachers must also have an unabated open line of communication with one another for co-teaching to succeed. • This communication has to be constant, honest, confidential, and produce growth (Kohler-Evans, 2006).
Co-Teaching • It is also important that if two teachers are brought together, and develop a successful co-teaching relationship with one another, that they are not separated (Simmons, & Magiera, 2007). • When co-teaching is done correctly the structure is seen as “team teaching”, which entails both teachers are involved in every aspect of the classroom equally (Harbort, et al., 2007). • Results of increased academic success and positive co-teacher relationships occur when the level of “team teaching” is reached.
Co-Teaching • Team teaching, or equal partnership, is the ideal way for a co-teaching relationship to work in the classroom. There are however six other ways in which the relationship can function within the classroom.
Co-teaching • A co-teaching relationship requires communication, dedication, knowledge, and desire. • Students, teachers, and parents all benefit from successful co-teaching. • Trying something new can be difficult, but co-teaching should be embraced by educators everywhere.
References • Cramer, E., & Nevin, A. (2006). A Mixed methodology analysis of co-teacher assessments. Teacher Education & Special Education, 29(4), Retrieved from http://ezproxy.twu.edu:2053/ehost/pdf?vid=2&hid=108&sid=100c7c0a-1876-4af6-aad5-7f58a577e860%40sessionmgr112 • Friend, M., & Cook, L. (2010). Interactions: collaboration skills for school professionals. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. • Friend, M., & Hurley-Chamberlain, D. (2009). Is Co-teaching effective?. Retrieved from http://www.cec.sped.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=Home&TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm&CONTENTID =7504 • Harbort, G., Gunter, P.L., Hull, K., Brown, Q., & Venn, M.L. (2007). Behaviors of teachers in co-taught classes in a secondary school. Teacher Education & Special Education, 30(1), Retrieved from http://ezproxy.twu.edu:2053/ehost/pdf?vid=2&hid=108&sid=100c7c0a-1876-4af6-aad5-7f58a577e860%40sessionmgr112
References Continued • Kohler-Evans, P.A. (2006). Co-teaching: how to make this marriage work in front of the kids. Education, 127(2), Retrieved from http://ezproxy.twu.edu:2053/ehost/pdf?vid=2&hid=108&sid=100c7c0a-1876-4af6-aad5-7f58a577e860%40sessionmgr112 • Murawski, W.W., & Hughes, C.E. (2009). Response to intervention, collaboration, and co-teaching: a logical combination for successful systemic change. Preventing School Failure, 53(4), Retrieved from http://ezproxy.twu.edu:2089/ehost/pdf?vid=6&hid=113&sid=b0d0457a-b3af-40dd-a34f-d3daad4bd212%40sessionmgr111 • Simmons, R.J., & Magiera, K. (2007). Evaluation of co-teaching in three high schools within one school district: how do you know when you are truly co-teaching?. Teaching Exceptional Children Plus, 3(3), Retrieved from http://ezproxy.twu.edu:2053/ehost/pdf?vid=2&hid=108&sid=100c7c0a-1876-4af6-aad5-7f58a577e860%40sessionmgr112