04 SES 02 D, Supporting Inclusive Education Through Effective Co-Teaching
The Finnish school system is based on the vision of inclusive education (Finnish Basic Education Act 1998/2010). Inclusive education focuses on the well-being of all pupils and aims at developing a classroom where all pupils can learn and participate together (Ainscow et al, 2006; Haug, 2017; Kiuppis, 2014). Co-teaching between special education teachers (SETs) and general education teachers (GETs) has been a topic in the field of inclusive education for decades and several researcher has pointed out co-teaching as a possibility in the development of inclusive education(Cook & Friend, 1995; Friend, Cook, Hurley-Chamberlain & Shamberger, 2010; Rytivaara, 2012,; Scruggs & Mastopieri, 2017; Scruggs, Mastopier & Duffie, 2007; Sundqvist & Lönnqvist, 2106; Takala & Uusitalo, 2012). Different possibilities to organize co-teaching is discussed in research so as assistant-teaching, team-teaching, parallel-teaching, and station-teaching (Friend et al, 2010; Villa et al., 2015).Assistant- teaching seems to be the most used model (Scruggs, Mastropieri & McDuffie, 2007).
Since the year 2011 special educational support in Finland is organized in terms of the so called three-tier support system which include support at three tiers labelled general, intensifiedand special support. Early support and support in the general education setting is highlighted (Finnish Basic Education Act 1998/2010, Finnish Natinal Borad of Education, 2016). In the Finnish educational policy documents co-teaching is mentioned as a possibility to deliver part-timed special education (Finnish National Board of Education, 2016). Finland is a bilingual country with schools serving both the Finnish-speaking population and the Swedish-speaking population. Approximately 6 percentages of the Finnish pupils receive their education in schools with Swedish as language instruction.The use of co-teaching has been examined in the Finnish-speaking areas in Finland, and the result indicate an increased use of co-teaching since the implementation of the three-tiered support system (Lakkala, S., Uusiautti, S., & Määttä,Rytivaara, 2012; Sirkko, Takala & Wickman, 2018; Takala & Uusitalo, 2012; Saloviita, 2018).According to Saloviita (2018), approximately 60 % of SETS in Finnish-speaking schools in Finland use co-teaching on a weekly base.Nevertheless, there is a lack of research concerning how special education teachers (SETs) in Swedish-speaking schools in Finland organize the special education support and how much they use co-teaching. In this study the aim is to deepen the knowledge regarding the use of co-teaching among SETs in Swedish-speaking schools in Finland.Two research questions serve as the starting point for this article, as follows:
- How common is the use of co-teaching among the SETs and does the use of co-teaching differ between different tiers in the three-tiered support system and in relation to certain school- and teacher-related independent variables?
- Which kind of co-teaching models is mostly used among the SETs and does the use of differnt co-teaching models differ in relation to certain school- and teacher-related independent variables?
The results presented in this article are part of a research project aiming to contribute to new knowledge about the implementation of the so called three-tiered support system and the SETs’ role in Swedish-speaking schools in Finland. The study has a quantitative design with a questionnaire as data collection instrument. A web-survey was sent out in October 2017 with the aim to reach all special education teachers (n=395) in Swedish-speaking comprehensive schools in Finland. We received answers from 158 SETs, which means that the response rate was about 40%. The questionnaire is a modified version of a questionnaire designed by Björn & Paloniemi at the University of Eastern Finland and consists of both multiple-choice and open-ended questions. The questionnaire consisted of 51 questions, with 10 concerning teacher background information and 9 dealing with information about the school. In addition, the participants answered a total of 32 questions regarding the SETS work tasks and role, the SETs collaboration with others and the three-tiered support system. For this study, three questions regarding the use of co-teaching will be analysed. The data will be analysed using SPSS. Different kind of statistical analysis and trend tests will be performed, so as cross-tabulation, independent sample T-tests, one-way ANOVA, Mann-Whitney U-test, Kruskal Wallis and Cohen’s d.
The preliminary results indicate that the SETs in Swedish-speaking schools use co-teaching, but to a minimum of 13 % of their total teaching time, which means an average on approximately three lessons a week. Parallel co-teaching is the most used co-teaching model. Approximately, 50% of the SETs use this co-teaching model on a weekly basis. Deeper analysis can give information about whether the use of co-teaching differ between different support tiers and between for example SETs in different age-groups or between SETs working at different school levels. The results are compared with results regarding the use of co-teaching in Finnish-speaking schools and discussed in the light of inclusive education and the SETs role. Implications for practise as well as future research is suggested.
Ainscow, M. (2005). Developing inclusive education systems: What are the levers for change? Journal of Educational Change, 6, 109–124. Cook, L. & Friend, M. (1995). Co-Te aching: Guidelines for Creating Effective Practices. Focus on Exceptional Children, 28(3), 1–16. Finnish Basic Education Act (642/2010). Retrieved from: https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2010/20100642 Finnish National Board of Education. (2016). National core curriculum for basic education 2014. Helsinki, Finland: Finnish National Board of Education Friend, M., Cook, L., Hurley- Chamberlain, D. and Shamberg, C., (2010). Co- teaching: An illustration of the complexity of collaboration in special education. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 20, pp. 9-27. Haug, P. (2017). Understanding inclusive education: ideals and reality. Scandinavian Journal of Disability Research, 19,( 3), 206–217 Kiuppis, F. (2014). Why (not) associate the principle of inclusion with disability? Tracing connections from the start of “Salamanca Process”. Internaional Jornal ofInclusive Education 18I7), 746-761. Lakkala, S., Uusiautti, S., & Määttä, K. (2016). How to make the neighbourhood school for all? Finnish teachers’ perceptions of educational reform aiming towards inclusion. Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, 16(1), 46–56. doi:10.1111/1471-3802.12055 Saloviita, T. (2018). How common are inclusive educational practices among Finnish teachers? International Journal of Inclusive Education, 22(5), pp. 560-575. Saloviita, T & Takala, M. (2010). Frequencies of co-teaching in different teacher categories. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 25(4), 389-396. Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A., & McDuffie, K. A. (2007). Co-teaching in inclusive classrooms: A metasynthesis of qualitative research. Exeptional Children, 73(4), 392–416. Scruggs, T.E. & Mastopieri, M.A., (2017). Making inclusion work with co-teaching. Teaching Exceptional Children, 49(4), 284-293. Sirkko, R. Takala, M. & Wickman, K. (2018). Co-Teaching in Northern Rural Finnish Schools. Education in the North, 25(1-2) ,217-238 Sundqvist, C. & Lönnqvist,E. (2016). Samundervisning som inkluderande arbetssätt i skolan. Nordic Studies in Education, 1. 38- 56 Takala, M., & Uusitalo-Malmivaara, L. (2012). A one-year study of the development of coteaching in four Finnish schools. European Journal of Special Needs Education, 27(3), 373–390. Villa, R. A., Thousand, J. S., & Nevin, A. I. (2013). A Guide to Co-Teaching. New Lessons and Strategies to Facilitate Stu dent Learning. Thousand Oaks: Corwin.
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