Co-Teaching Strategies in the Collaborative Classroom.
Why I Chose to Create a Framework to Implement a Co-Teaching Plan.
What I found out was that they used co-teaching strategies. Not just one or two but at least four. And they utilized all faculty in the school. From the content teachers, special education teachers, instructional aides, and even the principal. They all were active facilitators in the classroom. So I knew there were more effective strategies that our school could implement to increase student gap scores but also increase student learning across the board. I also found out that there are more factors that contribute to student learning besides implementing a framework. It involves a lot of work and cooperation.
This was a good idea in theory but how would I convince all stakeholders to buy in to this idea? I had a discussion with my principal about this theory before school started. He loved it but neither of us had a clue on how to implement it. Then, one day I saw a former colleague share a link, on Facebook of all places, to write a proposal for leadership project that would provide a solution that addressed a need at your particular school. Thus, began my journey through CTEPS which not only assisted me with this project but also helped me grow as a teacher leader in my school. I was way outside my comfort zone.
1. One Teach-One Assist: This method usually has the content teacher instructing the students as a class while the special education teacher monitors and assist students that are obviously struggling.
2. One Teach-One Observe: This method involves one teacher who is the main instructor, while the other teacher observes and gathers information on what data needs to be gathered to assess student learning.
3. Parallel Teaching: Each teacher divides the class and teaches simultaneously.
4. Station Teaching: Classes are divided into two or more stations, students rotate the stations while the each teacher repeats the instruction to each group that rotates to each station.
5. Alternative Teaching: One teacher takes responsibility for large group instruction while another takes a smaller group to for more specialized attention.
6. Team Teaching: This is when both or all teachers deliver the instruction as a pair of teachers.
Most co-teaching involves two teachers but after having implemented this plan, I have found that any adult that is in the room, should be a facilitator of learning. Therefore, any of these strategies should include instructional aides or other adults that are frequent in the classroom whether it's a true collaborative class or just a class in which an instructional aid is in the classroom for one particular student. They can contribute as well as be a facilitator in the classroom.
Initial Survey, Results and Professional Development
This led to conducting a PD on six co-teaching methods. I used the links above to explain why using a model for co-teaching is beneficial to all students as well as explaining the six co-teaching methods. As we discussed each co-teaching method, I also showed a video that demonstrated each method. It was very eye-opening for me as well as the teachers.
I discovered several factors that I hadn't accounted for such as time for planning due to scheduling conflicts. Because of the way our special education teachers are scheduled, this limits what they can do in the collaborative classroom. We have 3 and 2/5 special education teachers at our school and all of their caseloads are at maximum or beyond capacity. Also, each special education teacher has to collaborate between at least 4 different teachers each day. It doesn't leave a lot of time and energy to use a variety of co-teaching strategies. So we discussed the most efficient methods to plan and implemented strategies among the grade level teachers and their special education collaborators. We all decided co-collaborators would meet regularly to discuss content. The content teachers will write their content, goals and assessments on monthly calendar and the special education teachers can choose a minimum of two different strategies per month that they can co-plan, implement and assess along with the co-collaborating teacher. We all agreed that this was doable for all participants involved and would be most efficient.
Initial Survey and Results
Co-Teaching in a Collaborative Classroom-Station Teaching
One Teach-One Observe
Main Teacher teaching while other teacher observes.
Students are in the hallway working on independent work while teacher is monitoring. Teacher is there for assistance.
Small Group Instruction
Students are resourced in the collaborative classroom for small group instruction.
Analyzing Student Data
Survey- Teacher Response to Use of Co-teaching Strategies
I have been teaching at Morgan County Middle school for 17 years. I have taught 6th grade for 16 of those years. I love teaching 6th graders and I love teaching math!
Admin, SERC Web. "Six Approaches to Co-Teaching." SERC RSS. State Education Resource Center, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.
"Six Co-Teaching Strategies." YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.
Natalie Marston, Elementary Special Educator, Charles County, Maryland. "6 Steps to Successful Co-Teaching." NEA. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Apr. 2017.