The sheer complexity of the classroom setting can make teaching an overwhelming experience. In an inclusive learning environment, a teacher faces the challenging task of ensuring that students with and without disabilities demonstrate desired learning outcomes. However, this goal is often elusive for a single instructor, demanding collaborative teaching. Three co-teaching models – one teaching, one assisting, station teaching, and team teaching – can be implemented to teach our small group of learners with diverse needs.
The first teaching model that would suit the lesson is One Teaching, One Assisting. This approach involves the full participation of a special needs teacher and general education instructor, both with equivalent licensure or status. During the instructional process, the primary instructor specializes in teaching while the other circulates, observing specific characteristics in the learners and offering required assistance (Friend & Cook, 2017). The two teachers then meet after the class session to analyze the information gathered and use it to plan the next class and delivery tactic. As Farrand and Deeg (2021) model, the lead instructor will guide instructional activities while sitting in front of the learners. Meanwhile, the assisting teacher will sit with the learners, modeling desired teaching outcomes and redirecting learner behavior.
This model hinges on effective collaboration to allow students with disabilities to learn. For example, the co-teachers would collaboratively plan content, lesson timing, and key behaviors to focus on during the teaching session. This teaching model would allow students with disabilities to learn because their unique needs would be attended to without necessarily segregating them. The one teaching, one observing approach would further benefit the small group by enabling real-time assessment of the evidence of learning.
The next teaching model that would suit the small group in question is station teaching. This framework typically involves a special education and a regular instructor sharing classroom responsibilities. However, the teachers involved approach the teaching session by distributing the instructional material into at least two sections and instructing simultaneously to small units of learners (Cook & Friend, 2017). In the present case, students will be divided into two groups; each presided over by a teacher. This model’s success will require the co-teachers to exploit the elements of effective collaboration in jointly planning, instructing, and assessing the diverse group.
Station teaching is perhaps one of the most beneficial instructional frameworks. It permits splitting the class into small groups that allow students to learn a specific section of the material before advancing to the next. Cook and Friend (2017) observe that students with disabilities stand to benefit most from this model because it reduces students to teacher ratio and promotes integration between the disadvantaged learners and their high achieving peers. Additionally, this co-teaching model would benefit students in this small group because, as Ruoff (2019) observed, station teaching improves academic performance, increases attention/engagement, and is enjoyable to learners.
Finally, the team teaching model will be highly useful in the present case. In the classroom setting, the framework would see two teachers work together to deliver content simultaneously (Cook & Friend, 2017). For example, a general teacher may deliver content while the special needs expert adds emphasis and clarifications in ways that learners with disabilities can easily understand. It helps students gain skills they require while promoting teacher’s professional development. Accordingly, it will benefit the students that make up the small group since research shows that team teaching promotes dialogue, cooperation, and feedback, hence creating a dynamic that enhances quality of learning (Murchú & Conway, 2017). Cooperation is particularly useful in enabling students with disabilities to grasp teaching content by allowing them to enjoy support from more than one teacher and their gifted peers.
In conclusion, three co-teaching models would be most suitable for the unique composition of our small group of student: one teaching, one assisting, station teaching, and team instruction. The benefits of the third framework will be most pronounced when used to complement the first two models. Jointly, the three approaches will help the co-teachers to stimulate discussion, optimize learning, and influence the learners to view them as equals.
Cook, L., & Friend, M. (2017). Co-teaching: Guidelines for creating effective practices. Focus on Exceptional Children, 28(3).
Farrand, K. M., & Deeg, M. T. (2021). Implementing co‐teaching with paraprofessionals to provide pre‐Kindergarten students with special rights access to dual language. British Journal of Special Education, 48(3), 282-300.
Murchu, F. O., & Conway, P. (2017). (Re) Positioning team teaching: The visibility and viability of learning in classrooms. Education research and perspectives, 44, 43-69.
Ruoff, K. A. (2019). The effects of the station teaching model of co-teaching on students with learning disabilities.