Monday, June 30, 2008

Topic: Co-Teaching

Title: "Sharing Command of the Co-Teaching Ship: How to Play Nicely with Others.” Emily Sims. English Journal (May 2008), 58-63. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE). The audience for the journal is secondary schools.

Summary: “Co-teaching is an excellent method of serving the needs of all students in the English classroom; however, lack of training, lack of planning time, and lack of choice in co-teachers can lead to disaster.”

The purpose of this experiment in co-teaching was to create “inclusive” classrooms of special ed and average students; one of the co-teachers was a special-ed teacher.

On the one hand, this article is a case study in how NOT to implement change. On the other, when the co-teachers worked well together, the system worked well. The author suggest the following if you are assigned to co-teach:

Both teachers have responsibility for all kids in the classroom.
Spend time with your co-teacher.
Be ready and willing to share.
It will take a while to get it right.
The relationship between the two co-teachers will be a model for your students.
Devise signals for each other that can be used during class.
Both teachers must be familiar with all materials being taught every day.
Both teachers must be aware of students’ special needs.
Attend all parent-teacher conferences together.
Use rubrics to standardize grading.
Find time to plan.
Work out the small stuff. If you can’t stand students sharpening their pencils, your partner needs to know.

Comment: Incredible that this co-teaching venture was launched two weeks before school with no training, planning or time for planning. A case study in how not to effect change. RayS.

The purpose of this blog is to share interesting ideas I have found in recent American professional publications dealing with the teaching of English at all levels, elementary, secondary and college.

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