Inclusive Education and Co-Teaching

One way that some schools create inclusive programs for students with disabilities is by assigning co-teachers to classrooms. This has the potential to help with planning and classroom management, but teachers can benefit from learning a few useful techniques to get the most out of having a co-teacher. Sue Land, MEd, has outlined several of these strategies in an article on the William & Mary School of Education’s website.

When planning lessons with a co-teacher, teachers should also make sure to use other professional resources available, including special education teachers and assistants. Co-teachers should plan together at least once a week, and can use methods including interactive teaching (teachers take turns presenting), parallel teaching (students are divided into mixed-ability groups), and station teaching (small groups rotate through stations where they may receive instruction, review, or practice time.)

Classroom management techniques that can be used by co-teaching teams or individual teachers in inclusive classrooms include displaying classroom rules and daily schedules, providing opportunities for movement, using organizational systems with folders and checklists, and planning for transition times.

To incorporate universal design for learning into inclusive classrooms, lessons should involve a variety of ways of representing content (visually, orally) and students should be also be able to express their understanding in different ways (writing, drawing, speaking). Working in small groups and pairs can be enriching, but there should be a reason that the task needs to be done in a group and collaborative strategies should be taught.

Clear expectations and memorable lesson plans help all students in inclusive classrooms to learn, and dividing classroom management and teaching duties can help co-teachers be effective. To read the full article, click here.

The William & Mary School of Education (in Williamsburg, Virginia, in the US) has published many other articles on inclusive classrooms, available here.