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Co-Teaching & Special Education

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    Inclusive Education is a philosophy of education that brings students of all backgrounds with each other to create a class or classroom environment based on acceptance, belonging, and respect for human diversity. Inclusive education is concerned with preserving the educational rights of disabled students, who are frequently the most neglected within educational systems and society in general. They have traditionally been excluded, discriminated against, and segregated from the mainstream and their peers.

    Children with disabilities face challenges in the educational system. They may struggle to comprehend a portion of a curriculum, evaluate oral or written education, or gain access to school buildings. Instead, it is the flaws in the educational system that are generating ‘barriers to learning’ for these youngsters, such as poorly-designed curricula, poorly-trained teachers, inadequate medium of instruction, inaccessible facilities, or whatever.

    Current Issues & Challenges in Inclusive Education

    The following are the major obstacles and issues in the secondary education of CWSN in the country with relation to the education of children with special needs in different states:

    • Insufficient number of resource teachers and therapists
    • A scarcity of qualified teachers who are knowledgeable about all types of disability
    • There is a gap between children graduating from elementary school and enrolling in secondary school.
    • A child tracking system must be created.
    • CWSN Girls enrolment is low.
    • Inadequate and unsystematic oversight and monitoring
    • States have a scarcity of professionals and therapists.
    • States are developing Inclusive Model Schools at a snail’s pace.
    • Barrier-free environments are not appropriate or in accordance with the rules.
    • In the SMDC, CWSN parents and Special Teachers are not represented.
    • A scarcity of well-equipped Resource Rooms.

    Co-teaching

    When two educators collaborate to plan, arrange, instruct, and assess the same group of students in the same classroom, they are known as co-teaching. This strategy can be seen in a variety of ways. Teacher aspirants are required to co-teach with experienced associate teachers in order to share classroom responsibilities and learn from the associate teacher. Co-teaching connections between regular classroom teachers and special education teachers can assist students with exceptional needs.

    Co-teaching at the secondary level was examined by Dieker and Murawski (2003). They stressed the necessity of teacher preparation, adequate planning time, and special education teachers’ grasp of the curriculum, and they cited big class numbers and high-stakes testing as significant hurdles to co-teaching effectiveness. They advocated for proactive communication, a diversity of instructional approaches (such as class-wide peer tutoring), teacher training, a variety of co-teaching models, voluntary engagement, shared planning periods, and flexibility.

    Secondary co-teachers should gain knowledge of themselves, their co-teachers, and their students, as well as applicable information and practices, according to Keefe, Moore, and Duff (2004). According to their findings, secondary instructors lack training and competence and have more negative attitudes toward co-teaching.

    Communication, content understanding, planning, classroom management, and assessment were all significant aspects of the co-teaching partnership, according to Gately & Gately (2001).

    There are various co-teaching models:

    1. One teach, one support

    One teacher gives instruction, while the other assists students who require further assistance or enrichment, collects observation data, or manages the classroom.

    2. Parallel Teaching

    Each teacher, or instructor and student-teacher, works together to organize lessons, but they teach the same material to different sides of the classroom at the same time.

    3. Alternative teaching

    The majority of the class is managed by one teacher, while the other works with a small group inside or outside the classroom. The small group isn’t required to participate in the current lesson.

    4. Station Teaching

    The instructional content is divided between the two teachers, and each is responsible for planning and teaching a portion of it. The classroom is organized into numerous teaching centers in station teaching. The teacher and student-teacher are assigned to specific stations, while the remaining stations are managed by students or a teacher’s aide.

    5. Team Teaching

    Both teachers are in charge of planning and sharing all of the kids’ lessons. The classes are presented by two teachers who actively engage in conversation rather than lecturing in order to foster student discussion. Both teachers take a hands-on approach to lesson planning and discipline.

    Co-teaching has been demonstrated to be very beneficial for kids with special needs, particularly those with lesser disabilities such as learning difficulties, according to research. Co-teaching, when done correctly, maybe a very effective technique to teach all kids in a classroom. Uninformed teachers, on the other hand, may implement this paradigm ineffectively, resulting in negative outcomes for children.

    To prepare for a co-teaching experience, take the following six steps:

    1. Develop a rapport:

    Even before the pupils enter the building, the regular classroom teacher and the special education instructor form a bond. Make an effort to get to know one another on a personal level. The youngsters feel more at ease in the classroom when the two teachers have a good working relationship and rapport. Within the learning environment, students may detect both tension and harmony. A positive connection will reduce misunderstandings and inspire you to handle issues before they become more serious.

    2. Recognize and employ teaching styles in order to establish a unified classroom:

    Teachers must assess both their instructional and discipline techniques in order to combine the best of each to build a unified classroom. Both teachers must strike a balance that is pleasant for everyone. Both can use their two skills to complement one another in lesson planning and so improve the lessons and delivery of instruction.

    3. Talk about your strengths and weaknesses:

    Teachers should develop a list of their student’s strengths and shortcomings, as well as their likes and dislikes. Then compare the lists and highlight the skills that one instructor possesses, allowing that individual to be the lead teacher in those areas.

    4. Discuss IEPs (Individualised Education Plans) and general education objectives:

    The special educator must involve the regular educator in the special education process in order to establish Individualised Education Plans. Students in special education are assigned to both teachers, therefore the general educator must be aware of each child’s IEP. Otherwise, the teachers will be unable to carry out the plans efficiently.

    To ensure student success in the classroom, it is critical to address the changes and accommodations, as well as the goals and objectives. The special and normal education teachers can then collaborate to help the kid achieve his or her goals and make acceptable development. Similarly, the regular education teacher should discuss his or her goals for ordinary pupils with the special education instructor. Similarly, the normal education teacher should share his or her goals for the regular students with the special education teacher, as the regular education students are also the responsibility of the special education teacher. The goals, objectives, and obligatory curriculum for that grade level should be addressed by both educators.

    5. Create a plan of action and work together as a team:

    Create a plan of action at the start of the year to ensure minimal disruptions. The following points should be included in your action plan:

    • Scheduling
    • Behaviours that are expected in the classroom
    • Classwork and homework policies, as well as handing in work, are all examples of classroom practices.
    • Consequences of not adhering to procedures and guidelines
    • Grading
    • Home-school communication is essential.

    6. Take chances and learn from them.

    Co-teaching has the advantage of allowing both teachers to take risks, learn from one another, and grow as professionals. When teachers take chances in the classroom, co-teaching provides a safety net.

    Also read: Student-Led Planning to Promote Independence in Special Education

    FAQs:

    Q1. What is co-teaching?

    Answer. When two educators collaborate to plan, arrange, instruct, and assess the same group of students in the same classroom, they are known as co-teaching.

    Q2. Explain one teach, one support model of co-teaching?

    Answer. One teach, one support

    One teacher gives instruction, while the other assists students who require further assistance or enrichment, collects observation data, or manages the classroom.

    Q3. Explain the alternative teaching model of co-teaching?

    Answer. Alternative teaching

    The majority of the class is managed by one teacher, while the other works with a small group inside or outside the classroom. The small group isn’t required to participate in the current lesson.

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