We are delighted to be in a position to offer Co-Teaching as an approach to Additional Teaching Support in Scoil Chormaic this year.
What is co-teaching?
Co-teaching provides specialised services to individual students in a generally shared space (the classroom). It is one of the fastest growing inclusive practices in school. It involves two or more teachers working together to teach the students. In this environment, teachers blend their expertise, share materials and develop common teaching goals.
What does it mean for the children?
It means there will be two or three teachers in their classroom for defined periods of the day delivering instruction. It means withdrawing children from their classroom for additional teaching support will be limited to the minimum need. It means all children will avail of additional teaching support and will have contact with an Additional Needs Teacher.
What are the benefits?
- Co-teaching allows children with additional support needs to be educated in the least restrictive environment possible;
- There is a reduced pupil-teacher ratio during co-teaching;
- Support teachers can access and target a greater number of children;
- The stigma attached to withdrawal is reduced or removed;
- Classroom teachers have a greater role in addressing differentiated needs;
- It improves access for students with additional educational needs through collaborative teaching;
- Teaching takes place in a single physical space and children are not separated from their peers;
- Teachers work as a team to introduce new content, work on developing skills, clarify information, and facilitate learning and classroom management;
- There are fewer classroom behavioural concerns;
- There is a shared understanding and use of common assessment data among teachers;
- Planning for learning is more effective and more focused;
- Children have a stronger system of support and decreased levels of stress and anxiety, including greater support from peers;
- Children have greater levels of self-efficacy and self-esteem as well as improved academic progress;
- Children have more contact time with a teacher;
- All children will avail of additional teaching support and will have contact with an Additional Needs Teacher;
- Co-teaching is ideal for targeted teaching interventions;
- Co-teaching provides an effective way to strengthen the instruction-assessment link;
- Children can access the knowledge and strengths of two or three teachers in the classroom.
Why adopt co-teaching?
The National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA) says that class and support teachers should be in ‘regular communication’ and use a ‘joint programme’ when supporting a child’s overall learning and ‘participation in whole class work’ (NCCA, 2002). Co-teaching is also called for in the EPSEN Act, 2004; the SERC Report, 1993; by the NCSE, 2014; by NEPS, 2010 and in Circulars 24/03 and 02/05. Schools and teachers must respond to this.
Are students happy with co-teaching?
Research shows that students with and without additional support needs were strongly in favour of/highly satisfied with co-teaching. Student surveys indicated a preference for co-teaching lessons to single-teacher lessons. And students with and without additional support needs believed that they received better grades in co-taught classes compared with single-teacher classes and that they experienced a greater rate of skill development in literacy.
If you have any questions regarding any element of co-teaching or your child’s teaching supports in school, you are more than welcome to come in and discuss any aspect of this with us.