Monday, November 28, 2011

Integrating our Teachers

Previously, I wrote about our self-contained classes, and today I'm going to give you a peek at the other special education program housed in my building: Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT). ICT goes beyond the typical consultant teacher or resource room programming, where students with disabilities are removed ("pulled out") from the classroom to receive special education services. The ICT model has two teachers in the classroom full-time, one general education and one special education, to service the needs of all students. Both teachers equally teach lessons and curriculum, and both teachers help to differentiate instruction. The special education teacher is not viewed as an aide or helper only for "those kids," but as a teacher of all students.
Integrated Co-Teaching has a huge amount of potential. I highly recommend Dr. Marilyn Friend's DVD The Power of 2, which gives a great overview of the benefits of ICT and provides training on six different models of how two teachers can work together to instruct their class. It also has a lot of testimonials of co-teachers who love the model (a great plug for the system, eh?).

In my building, we have one Integrated Co-Teaching classroom each in third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grade. This is our first year with this many classes in a full ICT model. At any given time in our ICT classes, you can see either teacher doing a lesson, one teacher with a group of students (while the other teaches the rest of the class) reinforcing skills, pre- or re-teaching materials, providing advanced work, or giving curriculum based assessments, or both teachers teaching together. In our seventh and eighth grades, the ICT teacher travels with the students from subject to subject, teaching lessons, reinforcing concepts, and working alongside students or in small groups. In eighth grade, we also have a resource room period at the end of the day, where the ICT teacher can go over skills, assist with assignment completion, and do post-secondary preparation work (filling out job and practice college applications and do transition planning).

Do you have Integrated Co-Teaching in your building? How is it working? What benefits or challenges are your teachers reporting?

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  1. Lovelovelove integrated co-teaching. Thank you so much for the resource and information. I've been eager to learn more about inclusiveness in special education practices and in particular, the school psychologist's role in it. I really think it's important from a social justice perspective to move special education in this direction. Great post, as usual, Aimee!

  2. I'll dig through my file cabinet of books, I know I have some other co-teaching resources in there. I'll get titles and get back to you!

  3. Yay! Thank you!! I'll read anything you want to recommend. Trying to fill all the gaps in my understanding is a large task. :)

  4. Dr. Marilyn Friend mentioned above also as a book called Co-Teach! A Handbook for Creating and Sustaining Effective Classroom Partnerships in Inclusive Schools. Never read it, but just flipped through it and it looks like an informative "how-to" book.

  5. My child is not a special needs student, however he has been placed in an ICT class, My child exceeded expectations on last years report card. I would like to have my child removed from ICT and placed in GE, how can I go about doing this if the principal gives resistance.

    1. Hi Omar! If your child is not a special education student but is placed in an ICT classroom, he is not being penalized in anyway and is indeed a general education student. ICT rooms are just like any other classroom with the exception of there being a special education teacher there to help instruct all students. If you are unhappy with your child's teachers, I would imagine simply requesting another teacher should solve the problem. If you find resistance from the school, contacting a local parent advocacy group should help.

    2. Thank you for your insight, we were never informed about such a placement and I feel as a parent that I should have a choice whether my child should participate in a program that is catered to bring more academically challenged students up to par. Funny the BOE offers so much assistance and mediation help for the parents of students that require help in these classes, however for GE students it is basically you have no outlet, just voice messages and emails that fall on def ears and blind eyes.


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