In the inclusive environment employed by many school districts to include special education students in the same classroom, co-teaching is gaining popularity. A distressing amount of school districts are feeling the strain of the ever-growing shortage of special education teachers available.
With this reality, many are making attempts to make the most of the resources they have; co-teaching is one way to make it work. It could be what school districts will point to in the future for greater inclusion and less impact from paltry special education resources.
Whether a school district is adequately staffed or not, they are still responsible for carrying out the fulfillment of student IEPs and 504s. This puts many school districts without proper resources at risk for litigation by parents who are seeking to fix lack of compliance in court.
Co-teaching puts the student in the classroom with nuanced learning differences without the jar of having to shuffle them back and forth between special education classrooms and resource rooms unnecessarily.
Many students in need of accommodations in the classroom would rather stay with their peers rather than be separated, making this an amicable solution for all involved.
The Co-Teaching Model Takes Commitment From From Everyone
In order for the co-teaching model to work, a pledge to follow through from all levels has to be in place. If any one side is not committed, the whole thing falls apart. The administration needs to buy into the co-teaching model being the district’s choice for delivering curriculum to students with special education accommodations.
Teachers will need to be allowed to have time to plan lessons and classroom flow with their special education peers. So much of what makes co-teaching work is good teamwork. Everyone must understand what their part of the team is and what they will be responsible for on an ongoing basis. The best co-teaching outcomes come from teachers and special education professionals who understand how they best work together for the good of the students.
How The Best Co-Teaching Teams Work: Get Creative With The Curriculum Delivery
It would be easy to say that everyone on the co-teaching team has their role and they need to just stay in it but not every lesson plan is one-size-fits-all. Some ways of co-teaching certain things can be easily divided between the teacher and special education teacher to keep the class moving together. Other times they will need to put their heads together to figure out how to deliver a lesson to a wide variety of learners with scattered skill gaps.
Working closely together will go a long way in avoiding hiccups and frustrations in the team and from the students. The goal is to keep the students learning environment a positive one.
There are plenty of teachers figuring out what works and sharing it on the Internet with those who are curious or struggling to find the right rhythm for their co-teaching team to work. Reach out. Ask for help. Seek input from others. You might be surprised by what great ideas come about.
Great Co-Teaching Takes Noting What Works And What Doesn’t
It might surprise you to learn that while co-teaching is gaining popularity, one thing it doesn’t seem to be doing well at all is providing good data for others to get their heads around. Special education students are as varied as their IEPs. It might be hard to quantify for that reason. Another reason could be that there really isn’t any way to record it all and condense it down into metrics that can be measured. Or is there?
What if co-teaching teams could use a solution by which they had the special education students on their team and their paperwork at their fingertips, along with what is planned for the team and the individual students and any notes, questions or input from other faculty and staff? Wouldn’t that make a big difference in being able to understand not just whether or not co-teaching is working for a given student by why?
If we understand why something works then we can replicate the process. eCare Vault is the first solution of its kind specifically made for collaborating on a student by team that is unified around an outcome.
Student-centered collaboration with anyone charged with being part of making that happen. Co-teaching doesn’t have to be the Wild West anymore. eCare Vault will bring order to chaos and information to understand how to help their most vulnerable students achieve success.