The term co-teaching refers to a teaching practice whereby two or more professional teachers are involved in delivering substantive instructions to a group or class of students, who are diverse and blended. The delivering of instructions by the teachers occurs in a single physical space. In this arrangement of teaching, the regular and special educators (co-teachers) are involved in teaching students who belong to the same class. In some cases, co-teachimg is done in order to assist students with disabilities or those with learning difficulties, as compared to other students in the class (Brooks, V.2004).
The two educators in co-teaching are referred to as the regular and the special educators. The responsibility of a regular educator includes the preparing of the general class content as well as the lesson plan. The special educator on the other hand is responsible for adapting the content of what is to be taught to the students. In addition, the special educator presents the class content in a manner that meets the needs of the students especially those who may have learning difficulties.
It is therefore important to note that in co-teaching, the special and the regular educators have their different responsibilities and roles. However,the teachers are expected to work together in harmony so that each individual student ‘s learning needs are catered for. Co-teaching is one of the ways through which collaborative teaching can occur (Adams, L. et al. 1993). Collaborative arrangement based on co-teaching brings together two educators (regular and special) and the related personnel in order to ensure that students with disabilities have all their learning needs met.
This requires the teachers to spend some reasonable amount of time in a regular class so that students are provided with the appropriate support. A teaching program that adopts co-teaching as a teaching practice should always be effective for both the teachers and the students. This ensures that the objectives of co-teaching are achieved. The concept of co-teaching has existed in the education system for some time now. This method of teaching has been growing very fast in schools due to the important role it plays on student achievement.
Though effective as a teaching tool, co-teaching has faced some challenges when it comes to evaluation as well as supervision. Just like in the other teaching practices, co-teaching requires the teachers to prepare a co-teaching module in order to increase the success of the education programs. Thesis Statement Co-teaching has now become a very popular method of teaching in many schools. As a concept, the teaching arrangement aims at meeting the needs of all students, including the disabled and those with learning difficulties.
This aims at boosting the students’ achievement. The objectives of the education programs that are used in class can be easily achieved through effective co-teaching. This will involve the adoption of good co-teaching relationships as well as skills. Co-teaching has some impact on the student achivement. In this paper, both the lesser and the greater impacts of co-teaching on the student achievement will be discussed. Discussion Co-teaching increases student achievement by developing a good learning environment.
Having a good classroom environment enables students to perform well, because it ensures that factors that increase the students’ achievement are always present. The students show poor performance when the classroom environment hinders their proper concentration and understanding in their learning (Cowley, S. 2006). Therefore, a good learning environment improves the performance of the students and vice versa. A good example of a good classroom environment that improves student performance is the one that is heterogeneous.
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style="text-align: justify;">The co-teaching programs are very instrumental in creating a heterogeneous classroom environment (Cook, L. 2004). This discourages monotony in learning, hence learning becomes exciting and enjoyable for the students. When students enjoy learning, they become more engaged in learning and they are ready to work hard in order to perform well. The increased participation of students in learning promotes a healthy teacher-student relationship, which is very important when it comes to effective teaching and good performance in students.
Co-teaching creates more room for learning and sharing for both the teachers and the students, which is a great step towards positive achievement in students. Co-teaching facilitates positive achievement in students through improved instruction. Through the co-teaching programs, the teachers are able to deliver improved instruction to the students. Due to the students’ different academic abilities, the teachers have a great responsibility of ensuring that the students achieve their learning objectives despite their different academic abilities (Kyriacou, C. 2000).
The differences are used to determine what needs to be done so as to assist a particular student. For instance, while some students are academically gifted, the others have average ability. In addition, some students are always at the risk of failing in class due to their low academic ability and lack of effective teaching methods by the teachers. It is only by identifying the individual students’ academic abilities that teachers can offer the necessary assistance to students who need special attention. For example, the ability of the disabled students to perform well depends on how well their special needs are met in class.
There is need for teachers to ensure that all students learn well, despite the differences in their academic abilities. This can be done by assisting the students to maximize their potential in class. This is what co-teaching does through improved instruction. The needs of the students based on their different academic abilities are well addressed in co-teaching. This improves the achievement of the students, since their learning needs are addressed on time and in the right manner. The problems that are faced by the students can always be solved at the right time to promote good student achievement.
In any profession, having unique professional relationships encourages commitment and dedication of the workers. In the teaching profession, teachers who have unique professional relationships are able to work together in a complementary manner. Because professional relationship has to be built on trust, communication, parity, and respect, the co-teachers integrate these values in their teaching (Richard, A. et al 2008). When the teaching is based on positive values, the students are able to learn properly.
This increases the students’ ability to adopt learning based on values that maximize their potential, hence they show a high level of achievement. Creating a sense of belonging and support in the classroom encourages the sharing of learning experiences between the teachers and the students (Rosenberg, M. 2003). This means that all learning experiences, whether good or bad can be shared. For instance, co-teachers who have been involved in teaching programs have clearly stated that they have enjoyed a sense of support fostered by the teaching programs.
Therefore, teachers are always able to share a spectacular lesson with the students. On the other hand, whenever a lesson is challenging, the teachers are able to share their experiences. When students feel that they need to share their learning experiences with the teachers, they are able to appreciate learning. Since the students feel obliged to participate in the learning process, they can perform well to achieve what is expected of them. This increases the students’ achievement. Co-teaching is an innovative approach in teaching, which has both the conceptual and operational aspects.
There is need to develop and adopt co-teaching programs through proper planning, implementation, and also evaluation. One of the impacts of co-teaching on student achievement is closely related to solving the problem of stigmatization of the students with disabilities. In a regular class, students with disabilities are sometimes faced with learning difficulties due to being perceived as “different”. This means that the students tend to be disadvantaged when it comes to learning because of their nature of being disabled.
The other students in class may stigmatize the students who are disabled because they consider them as lacking something. Consequently, the students with special needs may be treated unfairly by the others due to their special needs. By being stigmatized, students with special needs may tend to show poor performance in class. They fail to meet the goals of the courses that they are taught in class. In order to improve the performance of these students and to increase their achievement, co-teaching can be used (Marston, N. Accesed on October 9, 2008). This is very beneficial to the students.
The teachers who are involved in co-teaching programs are able to deliver their services effectively to the students who are disabled, and therefore have special needs. The stigmatization of the students is greatly reduced, a situation that has been proved to improve the performance of the students. Through the co-teaching programs, the teachers increase understanding of the students about the content of the courses that the students are taught. This motivates the students to learn, as well as to share what they have learned in class with the others.
In addition to increasing the students’ understanding, co-teaching advocates for respect towards the disabled children from the fellow classmates. The fact that the disabled students have special needs means that they may require some special attention from the others, a situation that the fellow students may try to ignore. When co-teaching promotes respect for the disabled and minimizes their stigmatization, the student achievement in learning increases. It is very important to note that, co-teaching takes care of the students’ and teachers’ needs.
For instance, co-teaching advocates for a teaching approach that minimizes transitions when students show the tendency to disrupt transitions. At the same time, co-teaching approaches create room for frequent changes so that the students’ needs for extra motivation are encouraged. Co-teaching approaches promote the addressing of the teachers’ needs. The approach can either allow independent teaching for teachers with different teaching styles, or working together within a shared approach. The most appropriate approach can then be adopted depending on the teachers’ and students’ needs.
The student achievement is increased when the most appropriate approach in co-teaching is adopted. For instance, a student can be able to have a more detailed observation in the learning process. A teaching approach, “One teach, One Observe” has teachers decide on the type of observational information that needs to be gathered during instruction in advance. The teachers can then easily agree on the best gathering data. The co-teachers are then able to analyze information, which they can use constructively in the classroom. Instructional fragmentation in learning affects the performance of students negatively.
This often occurs when service delivery options are offered to students in the learning process. This requires the students to leave the classroom so as to receive the services, a situation that promotes instructional fragmentation. This can be well minimized when students do not have to leave the classroom in order to receive instructions. When students receive instructions through the co-teaching programs, the instructional fragmentation is minimized. This is because, the students do not necessarily leave the classroom to receive the services.
Well referred to as the co-teacher, the special service provider improves student learning by their good understanding of the class curriculum. This means that the curriculum is well developed and implemented to suit the needs of the students (Moran, G. 1997). In addition to this, a special service provider is empowered by the co-teaching programs to understand well the academic expectations. By understanding the curriculum, the teacher concentrates on issues that aim at ensuring that the performance of the students is always improving.
Co-teaching encourages the development of a teaching model that promotes positive achievement in students. The teaching models used in co-teaching require individual teachers to always bring certain characteristics and knowledge voluntarily in class. This is further complemented by skills that the teachers voluntarily use in class. Since teachers have special personal charateristics, bringing their characteristics in class voluntarily enable them to work effectively with the other teachers. By working together in harmony, the teachers are able to strengthen each other in teaching (Jill, A. ET al.
2007). A co-teaching model requires teachers to have sets of common skills as well as common knowledge. Furthermore, the teachers show knowledge that is specific to discipline. Through the models, teachers are able to coordinate classroom activities to suit the needs of the students, and to facilitate learning in a good classroom environment. Since teaching becomes voluntary for teachers, they are able to fully maximize their potential in teaching. When the teachers deliver their best, the students on the other hand receive the best. This no doubt improves the performance of the students in class.
The classroom dynamics based on co-teaching models make the classroom interactions very unique. Having well defined classroom responsibilities and duties allows the teachers to specialize on particular classroom topics (Gail, E. et al. 2001). These topics can be taught intensively such that the students’ understanding about a particular topic is increased. The teachers are then able to provide support to individual students by ensuring that a whole class instructional flow is successfully maintained. A co-teaching curriculum is very instrumental in reflecting the students’ needs.
By so doing, the curriculum is then implemented with the aim of addressing the compensatory, developmental, and academic skills. The student achievement is boosted when skills are improved based on how the co-teaching curriculum is implemented. The students’ efforts are easily monitored by the teachers in a co-teaching program. The students’ performance can be improved when the curriculum and the teaching techniques are reviewed (Ellis, V . 2004) this calls for appropriate teaching measures based on the weaknesses and the strengths of a co-teaching curriculum.
Another co-teaching approach, “One Teach, One Drift”, allows teaching by one teacher while the co-teacher at the same time assists students in class without disrupting the one who is teaching. The student supervision by the teachers is important in good student perfomance. This is what the “Parallel Teaching” co-teaching approach does. Through such an approach, the students who have been involved in co-teaching have had their class achievement increased greatly. Other approaches that can be used in co-teaching include Station Teaching, Alternative Teaching, and Team Teaching.
The diversity of teaching approaches offers teachers an opportunity to adopt the best and the most appropriate teaching approach based on the different and diverse student needs. This encourages proper matching of a given particular approach with the needs. The students’ achievement is increased when proper teaching approaches are adopted in teaching (Curren, R. 2006). Students in a co-teaching program are able to develop a comfortable relationship with the teachers through the well-built relationship between the two parties. The students can express themselves freely, sense harmony, and tension that may exist in a learning environment.
A positive relationship can easily be established between a teacher and students in a co-teaching program. Through the relationship, misunderstandings that may arise in class are minimized (Capel, S. , and Turner, T. 2005). The problems that may arise in a class room environment are then resolved before they affect the students’ performance negatively. Co-teaching creates a cohesive classroom where the teacher and the students are able to work together towards achieving the goals of the courses taught in class. While they appreciate the strengths of what they experience during the learning process, they also recognize the weaknesses.
By recognizing the weaknesses, the teachers and the students strive to turn the weaknesses into opportunities of improving learning. Furthermore, learning that integrates Individualized Education Plans can be developed. The plans are very important in ensuring that the needs of the students are well taken care of. Through co-teaching, the teachers are able to take risks . This means that new methods of teaching can be explored. This makes it easy for teachers to learn from each other, and hence they can grow as professionals. Conclusion Learning is very important in any society, whether formal or informal (Cohn, L.
1976). The teaching methods in formal and informal education differ, but the two shares certain priciples. In formal education, co-techinh has bee used as one of the most effective teaching practices when it comes to assisting the students to improve their perfomance. This increases the students’ achievement. The impact of co-teaching in student achievement varies. Co-teaching uses different approaches. Despite the differences, the most important thing in co-teaching is to ensure that the students’ needs are appropriately addressed in a class environment. References
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Special Education Teachers, Grades 6-12. Corwin Press Kyriacou, C. (2000). Stress-Busting for Teachers. Nelson Thornes Publishers Marston, N. Six Steps to Successful Co-teaching www. nea. org/teachexperience/spedk031113. html Accessed on October 9, 2008 Moran, G. (1997). Showing How: The Act of Teaching. Continuum International Publishing Group Richard, A. , Jackqueline, S. , and Anne, N. (2008). A Guide to Co-teaching: Practical Tips for Facilitating Student Learning. Corwin Press Publishers Rosenberg, M. (2003). Life-Enriching Education. Puddle Dancer Press
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