04 SES 01 C, Cooperation Between Regular and Special Teachers
The focus of this paper is on co-teaching conceived as a practice shared between two teachers working together with a diverse group of students (Friend & Cook, 2007; Friend & Bursuck, 2009, Friend et al. 2010; Villa et al. 2004) with the aim of creating a stimulating inclusive context in which students can foster creative competencies and innovative skills (UNESCO, 2009; Ghedin, 2009). Promoting inclusion means motivating discussion, encouraging positive behaviors and improving educational and social models in order to face new requests in education including also the acquisition of values, behaviors, knowledge and skills required to face the challenges of the modern societies (Booth & Ainscow, 2002; Ainscow e Miles, 2008). In educational contexts, this has led teachers, to develop new approaches to teaching, such as co-teaching, in order to support them in their two main tasks: to teach and to create an orderly learning environment to ensure that children can play a role in their school life and pursue the wished outcomes in their educational experiences (Rytivaara, 2012). Shared goals, teaching methods, planning and evaluation, are some of the fundamental points of a teaching model which involves curricular and special teacher, defined as co-teaching (Ghedin, 2009, p. 142). A successful co-teaching practice needs an active involvement and a cooperation in working of both teachers in teaching, by raising questions about teachers’ different point of views about aspects concerning the direction of the classrooms (Rytivaara, 2012; Rytivaara & Kershner, 2012). In the Italian context where those paper’s data were collected, the co-teaching among a curricular teacher and a special teacher to ensure a better education for all students, can be considered an example of actions dedicated to create an inclusive process because it promote creative and active learning for students and because of the presence of two teachers (general and special ones) in inclusive classrooms (Rytivaara, 2012). The purpose is to offer an adequate answer to every single student and to reduce the environmental factors which are real obstacles to activities and participation of all children (International Classification of Functioning-CY, 2007). In this inclusive context the curricular and special teachers are seen as teachers of the classroom and, so, teachers for all the students (L. 104/92). Such an awareness legitimise the co-teaching approach as a teaching strategy allowing teachers to put together their teaching skills, their strategies and skills in order to give a better answer to the needs/aspirations of the several different students, guarantying to all pupils equal opportunity of learning.
Research questions: According to this preamble, the research questions are: “Is the co-teaching an approach which finds a place in our nowadays school reality?” “How does it work?” “Which opportunities offers to teachers?” “Which are the obstacles to its realization and how can they be got over in order to implement this approach?”.
Objectives: These will be the focus investigated in this paper: finding teachers beliefs referring to the co-teaching; analyzing the obstacles which keep teachers from implementing successfully this didactical approach and finding strategies which can empower teachers’ efficacy and let the co-teaching becoming a favorable chance for the development of every student’s learning potential.
Booth, T and Ainscow, M (2002). Index for Inclusion: developing learning and participation in schools. CSIE: UK. Ainscow M., & Miles S., (2008). Making Education for All inclusive, Prospects, 38, pp. 15-34. Cook, L., & Friend, M. (1995). Co-Teaching: Guidelines for creating effective practices. Focus on Exceptional Children, 28(3), pp. 1-16. Friend M. (2008). Co-teaching: A simple solution that isn’t simple after all, Journal of Curriculum and Instruction, 2(2), pp. 9-19. Friend M. & Bursuck W. D. (2009). Including Students with Special Needs: A Practical Guide for Classroom Teachers (5th ed.), Columbus, OH: Merrill. Friend, M., & Cook, L. (2007). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals (5th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon. Friend, M., Cook, L., Hurley-Chamberlain, D. A., Shamberger, C. (2010). Co-teaching: an illustration of the complexity of collaboration in special education. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 20(1), pp. 9-27. Ghedin E. (2009). Ben-essere disabili. Un approccio positivo all’inclusione. Napoli: Liguori. Ghedin E., Caserotti C. (2012). Does Co-Teaching Work? Views on Co-teaching practice in inclusive Classrooms, in Biennial Meeting EARLI SIG 15 Special Educational Needs, 29th - 30th of August 2012 Utrecht University The Netherlands, pp. 53-54. Rytivaara A., & Kershner R. (2012). Co-teaching as a context for teachers’ professional learning and joint knowledge construction. Teaching and Teacher Education, 28 pp. 999-1008. Rytivaara A. (2012). Collaborative classroom management in a co-taught primary school classroom. International Journal of Educational Research 53, pp. 182–191. Rytivaara, A. (2012). ‘We Don’t Question WhetherWe Can Do This’: teacher identity in two co-teachers’ narratives. European Educational Research Journal, 11(2), pp. 302-313. UNESCO (2009). Policy guidelines on inclusion in education, Paris: UNESCO. Villa R.A., Thousand J.S. & Nevin A.I., (2004), A guide to co-teaching: Practical tips for facilitating student learning, Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press, p. 61. WHO (2007). International Classification of Functioning - CY, Geneve:WHO.
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