District Implements Co-Teaching

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Journal Times, Wisconsin- Schools in Racine, Wis., are using co-teaching to implement the district’s move toward inclusion classrooms for students with and without disabilities. The approach, which has a special educator splitting time between two classrooms to be on hand for core subject lessons, is being used in all of the district’s elementary schools this year. A class that implemented co-teaching last year saw improved test scores and social skills among students with special needs. “I would not go back,” one of the teachers said.

In many respects, co-teaching is seen as one of the most beneficial forms of collaborative teaching. For example, Hunt et al. (2003) explain that the ‘collaborative teaming process offers ongoing opportunities for general and special educators’…to share knowledge’…to generate new and novel methods’ (p. 317). In other words, both teachers are able to share their personal wealth of knowledge in order to develop instruction that helps all students achieve their highest potential.

Co-teaching can support and increase a student’s ability to complete academic activities, which in turn increases their success. In terms of academic performance during co-teaching, a study conducted by Rea, McLaughlin, and Walther-Thomas (2002) researchers concluded that students with disabilities who were taught in a co-teaching environment had significant gains in academic achievement across all content areas. Additionally,  in a study conducted by Hunt et al., five third grade students labeled at-risk because of their economic, ethnic, or disability status were placed in co-taught environments for six weeks (2003). Researchers found that students increased their level of engagement in academic activities by 40%, as well as initiating engagement more than before the implementation of the teaching strategy (Hunt et al., 2003). Moreover, they found that all students in the study showed significant increases in the following areas: academic productivity, persistence to tackle difficult tasks, motivation to participate in academic activities, and pride in academic accomplishments.

Hunt, P., Soto, G., Maier, J., & Doering, K. (2003). Collaborative teaming to support students at

risk and students with severe disabilities in the general education classrooms. Council for

Exceptional Children, 69, 315-332.

Kavale, K. A. (2002). Mainstreaming to full inclusion: From orthogenesis to pathogenesis

of an idea. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 49, 201-

214.

Rea, P.J., McLaughlin, V.L., & Walther-Thomas, C. (2002). Outcomes for studenst with learning

disabilities in inclusive and pullout programs. Exceptional Children, 85, 353-389.

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