Collaborative Teaching in Secondary Schools: Making the Co-Teaching Marriage Work!

Books

Wendy W. Murawski

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  • Chapters
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
  • Subject Index
  • Part I: The Dating Scene

    Part II: The Engagement

    Part III: The Wedding

    Part IV: The Marriage

  • Copyright

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    Acknowledgments

    Corwin gratefully acknowledges the contributions of the following reviewers:

    Joyce Williams Bergin, EdD

    Professor of Special Education and Interim Assistant Dean for the College of Education

    Armstrong Atlantic State University

    Savannah, GA

    Margaret Blackwell

    Executive Director, Exceptional Children and Student Services

    Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools

    Chapel Hill, NC

    Gretchen Gall

    Instructor, Instructional Assistant Program

    Moraine Park Technical College

    Fond du Lac, WI

    Jo-Anne Goldberg, LCSW

    Director of Special Education

    Mainland Regional High School

    Linwood, NJ

    Teresa Hamm

    Director of Student Services

    Old Rochester Regional School District

    Mattapoisett, MA

    Richard Hanf

    Hearing Impaired Itinerant Teacher

    Mount Pleasant, SC

    Dana B. Leonard

    Life Skills Teacher

    Davidson County Schools, Ledford High School

    Thomasville, NC

    Sherry Markel, PhD

    Associate Professor

    Northern Arizona University, College of Education

    Flagstaff, AZ

    Gail McGoogan, MEd, NBCT

    Third-Grade Teacher, Lead Teacher Vertical Teaching Team

    Narcoossee Community School

    St. Cloud, FL

    Nancy Yost, PhD

    Professor, Special Education

    Indiana University of Pennsylvania

    Indiana, PA

    About the Author

    Dr. Wendy Murawski is an associate professor and graduate coordinator at California State University, Northridge, in the Department of Special Education. She is an experienced co-teacher (for K-12 and university, general and special education) and an accomplished presenter. She is often requested to work with state departments, districts, and schools; present keynote addresses at conferences; and provide training seminars. Wendy holds a master's degree in special education, an EdS in educational administration, and a PhD in special education with an emphasis in research, collaboration, and co-teaching. She has won prestigious awards including the Dissertation Award from the Division of Learning Disabilities and a Publication Award from the Division of Research for the Council for Exceptional Children, and she was the 2004 California Teacher Educator of the Year. Wendy's research in the area of co-teaching has been widely disseminated through her numerous publications. Wendy is the author of Co-Teaching in the Inclusive Classroom: Working Together to Help ALL Your Students Find Success, an extensive resource handbook on co-teaching, as well as the co-creator of the CTSS (Co-Teach Solutions System) software. Her educational consulting company, 2 TEACH LLC, was created to provide professional development specifically in the areas of inclusive education, collaboration, and co-teaching. Wendy is a dynamic speaker who utilizes humor, personal experience, and research-based methods in her seminars while keeping them in the context of practical, ready-to-use strategies for general and special educators to implement in their inclusive classrooms. Currently Wendy lives in southern California with her husband, son, cat, and a really mean fish.

    Introduction: Why This Book?

    This book is intended to be practical, easy to use, and easy to read for busy educators interested in jumping right into co-teaching. I will use humor and an informal tone to make the information interesting and personal. That said, however, it is critical that I first explain why you need this type of handbook, what precipitated the writing of it, and then introduce you to the concepts of inclusion and co-teaching so that we are all on the same figurative and, in this case, literal page.

    The advent of No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2001), with its mandate of more accountability for all children, including those with disabilities, and its emphasis on the need for “highly qualified” teachers, has greatly impacted the makeup of today's typical classroom. In addition, the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (2004) continues the emphasis on least restrictive environment for students with disabilities while supporting the need for access to the general education curriculum for all students. These laws have led to a complete paradigm shift in the way students with disabilities are educated and subsequently how teachers in schools are utilized to meet those needs in an inclusive environment.

    One of the key ways that schools are addressing these needs is through pairing general education teachers and special service providers in the general education classroom in a technique known as co-teaching. By pairing educators with differing areas of expertise, teachers are able to better collaborate and differentiate. This also ensures that students are exposed to the general education curriculum and higher academic standards. Co-teaching is considered a viable option for ensuring that students have a “highly qualified” teacher in the room for the content, while also ensuring that all students' individualized educational needs are met by having an instructor who is highly qualified in differentiation and individualization. Please note that while I will most frequently refer to the general education teacher co-teaching with a special education teacher, co-teaching can occur with any professional educators. Special service providers include special educators, Title I teachers, teachers of English language learners, teachers of the gifted, speech language pathologists, school psychologists, and so on. It does not include paraprofessionals, volunteers, or student assistants, for reasons I will explain later.

    You will notice the theme of marriage evident in the title and chapter names; this is for a very good reason. The concept of having two equal adults paired together for a lengthy period of time to share in the education and raising of children—to include behavior management, social skills, academics, and emotional support—sure does sound like another relationship we are all familiar with in one way or another, doesn't it? So, rather than focusing on how co-teaching is new and different in the educational arena, I have chosen to focus on how we can take what we know about successful, productive, and healthy marriages and relate that knowledge to the realm of co-teaching. Don't worry though—no ministers or field trips to City Hall are required for this particular arrangement.

    Despite the growing use of co-teaching, studies continue to reveal a lack of training regarding this service delivery model. Very little has been done in many districts to genuinely prepare teachers to collaborate in the same classroom. While many textbooks refer to collaboration and briefly address co-teaching, the practicalities of how to prepare for co-teaching and how to ensure that teachers have the strategies they need to do it successfully are lacking. Districts are clamoring for more information on how to use collaboration and co-teaching effectively, thus clearly demonstrating that this is an area of increasing importance. This text will address these needs by providing readers with a practical, easy-to-use manual on how to set up, conduct, and successfully maintain co-teaching at any school interested in supporting inclusive practices.

    My intent is to provide readers with a detailed, comprehensive treatment of co-teaching in a practical and easy-to-access format. The book is useful as a “Co-Teaching 101” reference for schools that have no experience with co-teaching and want to begin to set it up. At the same time, it provides sufficient practical differentiation and application strategies for districts that already have implemented co-teaching to help improve their current programs. Numerous templates and models are provided so that schools and districts can follow the steps to make co-teaching a feasible strategy for addressing diverse needs in the inclusive classroom. Each section has call-out boxes letting readers know where in the book they can go when they “want more on a topic.” There are “EZ Reference” pages that can be copied and shared to help remind educators of important topics. Each of the four parts also has a section titled “Self-Assessment” to aid in reflection and readiness evaluation, as well as a chapter titled “Matchmaker, Matchmaker” that is designed to provide administrators with helpful information regarding their role in creating, supporting, and evaluating co-teaching. In addition, a wide variety of resources and references have been provided throughout the text for those interested in reading further or learning about the theoretical and research base supporting the various sections. Because all organizations, districts, schools, and individuals are unique and have their own cultures, strengths, and needs, feel free to tweak and adapt as needed.

    This book has been divided into four major parts: Dating, Engagement, Wedding, and Marriage. Sorry, no honeymoon details here. Within each of the four parts, there are chapters related to improving co-teaching effectiveness. Each chapter's title relates to the marriage analogy and the subtitles clue you in as to its relation to co-teaching. Don't let the cutesy titles throw you; the information in each chapter is actually grounded in educational research and literature. You will find that the analogy works very well in taking a concept that is rather new and confusing (i.e., co-teaching) and putting it into a paradigm with which we are quite familiar (i.e., marriage). I have also found that humor encodes learning and this analogy invites a variety of comedic comparisons.

    While I have used the marriage comparison for years, and am certainly not the only one to do so (e.g., Wasserman, 2008), I would like to recognize the many co-teachers who routinely go above and beyond in their daily interactions with children and with each other. Many co-teachers gave me permission to come into their classes and to use their pictures—special thanks to those teachers at the CHIME Institute, Granada Hills Charter High School, and Montebello School District. Thanks to the many professionals who have contributed to the concept of co-teaching, but especially to those good friends who have helped me as I conceptualized my contribution to the field over the years: Lisa Dieker, Claire Hughes, Sally Spencer, Rachel Friedman Narr, Wendy Lochner, and Lynne Cook. In addition, I would like to thank Dr. Linda Hutchinson, my very first co-teacher. Not only did Linda give me a wonderful experience co-teaching, which has led to my focus and research over the past fifteen years, she also gave me her son in marriage. So, if you begin to doubt that successful co-teaching can exist, just remind yourself that I did it—with my mother-in-law, no less. (For those of you who are single and looking, I highly recommend finding a co-teacher who has an available and very good-looking son or daughter or friend. Whatever works for you.) Finally, I must also acknowledge my own family. My mother and sister have been my very own cheerleaders. My son, Kiernan, displayed a lot of patience as his mother was too often absent at dinner during the writing of this book—that's a big deal for a three- (and-a-half!) year-old. My husband, Christien, has always been my source for guidance, support, encouragement, and humor personally and professionally. Christien, you help me in so many ways, not the least of which by providing me with a solid, positive, and strong marriage to use as an exemplar to refer to as I wrote this book. Every day, we co-plan, co-instruct, and co-assess—some days better than others, but always with a common goal and vision. Our classroom may only have one student in it but I think we're doing an awesome job together. Here's looking at many, many more productive and happy years as a team!

  • Appendix

    Resources to Keep Fresh and Motivated

    Every couple has a time when they go through a rough or dry patch—a time when the relationship feels like there is nothing new or different. While I am definitely a proponent of keeping teaching teams together over the space of a few years so they can really get to know one another and hone their co-teaching skills, it is not healthy for any one teacher or teaching team to get complacent in their teaching. We need to always challenge ourselves to move with the times, to improve, to encourage one another, and to recognize that students have ever-changing needs. Too often, however, the common complaint is, “We've got no time for that. We are barely keeping our heads above water so when we have the opportunity to use materials or lessons we used last year (or for the last twenty years, in some cases), we do it.”

    Luckily for us all … there's the Internet. What did teachers do before it? I really don't know. The ‘net provides teachers with so many ways to learn, improve, and share with one another so we are not reinventing the wheel every time we teach or plan. I have done some preliminary searching to save you some time but I do strongly suggest that you both challenge each other regularly to find new, different, and exciting teaching ideas, strategies, materials, and technologies. Following are some Web sites I have found helpful over time.

    Now's the time to surf the Web! Also, there are so many Web sites available that provide excellent resources that I could not include them all. If you find more that you think are especially useful, please let me know about them and definitely share them among your colleagues at school. Collaboration is the name of the game and these Web sites will certainly aid you in your efforts to include, collaborate, differentiate, teach, guide, inspire, and avoid burning out while doing it all.

    Sites Related to Disability/Inclusion
    Web siteDescription
    http://www.inclusion.comWorkshops, books, media, links
    http://www.paulakluth.comArticles, resources, links related to inclusive schooling, especially for children with autism
    http://www.uni.edu/coe/inclusion/University of Northern Iowa Inclusion site
    http://www.inclusive-solutions.comServices, resources, links, materials
    http://www.inclusiveschools.org/Inclusive Schools Network—Web-based resource on inclusion
    http://www.landlockedfilms.comHas videos and documentaries related to disabilities
    http://www.kidstogether.org/Information and resources on disabilities
    http://www.disabilitysolutions.orgResources for individuals and families with Down Syndrome
    http://www.disabilityisnatural.comKathie Snow's Web site; resources, materials, staff development
    http://www.thenthdegree.comT-shirts, signs, pins, etc., related to inclusion
    http://www.wrightslaw.comWeb site on laws and policies related to disabilities
    http://www.marilynfriend.comDr. Marilyn Friend's Web site with books, videos, etc., related to inclusion/collaboration
    http://www.tash.orgInternational organization for persons with severe disabilities and their families
    http://www.cec.sped.orgLargest international organization related to disabilities (Council for Exceptional Children)
    http://www.tsa-usa.orgTourette Syndrome Association Web site
    http://www.ldanatl.orgLearning Disability Association national Web site
    http://www.ncld.orgNational Center on Learning Disabilities Web site
    http://www.ldonline.orgLD online Web site—resources for working with individuals with Learning Disabilities
    http://www.geocities.com/SEN_resourcesSpecial education needs resources site
    http://www.forumoneducation.orgInformation and videos on inclusive education
    http://www.aft.org/psrp/careeredpara.htmInformation for paraprofessionals in education
    http://www.nichcy.orgNational Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities
    http://www.nrcld.orgNational Research Center on Learning Disabilities
    Sites to Help Plan Differentiated Lessons
    Web siteDescription
    http://www.edhelper.comGames, units, lessons, printables, tons
    http://www.writedesignonline.com/organizersAll kinds of graphic organizers to download
    http://www.allkindsofminds.orgLessons, staff development, and resources related to neurodevelopmental constructs and different learning profiles
    http://www.azpromisingpractices.comArizona Dept of Ed Web site—links to teaching tools and lesson plans
    wvde.state.wv.us/teach21/West Virginia Dept of Ed Web site with tons of lessons, instructional guides, etc., related to twenty-first-century technology and skills
    http://www.rtinetwork.orgRTI Network—resources and links related to RTI
    http://www.jimwrightonline.com/php/rti/rti_wire.phpRTI Wire—tons of RTI resources and info
    http://www.ala.org/gwstemplate.cfm?section=greatwebsites&template=/cfapps/gws/default.cfmGreat Web sites for kids
    http://www.internet4classrooms.com/di.htmInformation on differentiated instruction, learning styles, multiple intelligences
    http://www.teachervision.fen.comTons of teacher lessons, printables, and more
    http://www.thegateway.org/Gateway to twenty-first-century skills and lessons
    http://www.ala.org/ala/aasl/schlibrariesandyou/k12students/k12students.cfmAmerican Librarians Association (ask a librarian almost anything)
    http://www.ipl.org/youth/projectguide/Guides for science projects and science fairs
    http://www.un.org/Pubs/CyberSchoolBus/History, international, and current events
    http://www.sitesforteachers.com/Hundreds of teacher Web sites listed
    http://www.abcteach.comTons of ideas and printables
    http://www.funbrain.comTons of ideas, games, and printables
    http://www.aplusmath.comMath-related games and lessons
    http://www.k12.aleks.comOnline tutoring in subject area content
    http://www.askjeeves.comTo find just about anything
    http://www.nationalgeographic.comNational Geographic videos, information, maps, etc.
    http://www.sparknotes.comStudy guides for literature and more
    http://www.specialneedsinmusic.comHelpful lessons for students who struggle in music
    http://www.lessonplancentral.com/Tons of lessons, Web links, ideas, and more
    http://www.timesaversforteachers.com/Some cost but many helpful forms
    http://www.chem4kids.com, http://www.physics4kids.com, http://www.biology4kids.com, http://www.geography4kids.com, http://www.cosmos4kids.com, and http://www.numbernut.comLook like elementary sites but could easily help make different content accessible for higher grades too
    Web siteDescription
    http://www.teachplanet.netPrintables, lessons, and links to other content sites
    http://www.tolearnenglish.com/For English language learners
    http://www.math-worksheet.org/Hundreds of free math worksheets
    http://www.fctd.infoHelpful resource on assistive technology and families
    http://www.historyforkids.org/Excellent resource for history information and links
    http://www.dy-regional.k12.ma.us/wixon/hotlist_ancient_civ.htmImpressive source of information and links related to ancient civilizations
    http://www.2TeachLLC.comDr. Wendy Murawski's Web site for professional development resources; also includes free co-teaching lesson database
    http://www.coteachsolutions.comFree 14-day trial of co-teaching software—CTSS teachers' Toolbox and Observation System
    http://www.pent.ca.govCalifornia Positive Environments Network of Trainers (behavior staff development)
    http://www.pbis.orgNational Technical Assistance Center on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
    http://www.tolerance.orgHelpful for teachers and students to learn about tolerance issues
    http://www.teachkind.orgHumane education materials and resources (e.g., social justice)
    http://www.stopbullyingnow.hrsa.govStuff for teachers and students to stop bullying in schools

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    The Corwin logo—a raven striding across an open book—represents the union of courage and learning. Corwin is committed to improving education for all learners by publishing books and other professional development resources for those serving the field of PreK–12 education. By providing practical, hands-on materials, Corwin continues to carry out the promise of its motto: “Helping Educators Do Their Work Better.”


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