Co-Teaching for Children with Disabilities

Rural Special Education Quarterly

Purpose or Problem Statement

There have not been sufficient research publications on the use of co-teaching as an approach to assist students with disabilities in classroom work. Most of the documentaries are either anecdotal reports or mere technical guides (Wischnowski, Salmon & Eaton, 2004).

Fuchs and Fuchs (1996) argue that there is also an insufficient database in support of the efficacy of co-teaching. The purpose of this article is to describe how Geneseo District School managed to implement co-teaching successfully as part of the requirement for individuals with disability act. The research consists of highlighting the evaluation approaches, the implication for future practices, and their effects on learners, teachers as well as parents.

Design/Procedure

This study is about an evaluation of one district school to describe and implement co-teaching strategies for students with disabilities. This research aims to establish how co-teaching methods affect disabled students learning outcomes. As a result, the study adopts an evaluation research design. Data is collected by the research team within two years between elementary and middle-level colleges.

The rationale for this research is based on the enactment of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Independent variables that are measured include students’ self-concepts, student achievements and performance, application of classroom and test modification, and teachers-parents relationships. The dependent variable in the article was considered as co-teaching approaches.

The initial objectives that were included are the following: special education students should be successful, the students in co-taught schools would have access to the education program, the students with disabilities would demonstrate appropriate behavioral responses, and there would be both a positive and negative impact. Data collection techniques include the use of observations and questionnaires which were administered

Data Analysis

The raw data were subjected to scrutiny, requiring both quantitative and qualitative analysis. Co-teachers are expected to assist in co-planning, joint evaluation, and assessing the student’s overall performance. The analysis is based on the predetermined scale of evaluation on the key variables

Conclusions/Implications

Data on students’ performance from the evaluation revealed no significant relationship between students with disabilities on co-taught learning approaches, as opposed to restricted environment teaching. It was also noted that the personal development of general teachers and special education teachers enhanced their performance ((Wischnowski, Salmon & Eaton, 2004). The article recommends the use of test modifications.

In the student’s self-concept test, there was no significant relationship between students in co-taught schools and general schools. However, significant differences were noted between students in elementary schools and middle-level schools. The evaluation on the perception of parents and teachers on co-teaching highly supported the program as being significant to the disabled students in enhancing their learning. Parents were happy with the student-teacher ratio in co-teaching schools.

Critique/Evaluation/Comments

The researchers have laid a pure foundation for co-teaching as a basis to support students with disabilities. Geneseo Central School gives a model for implementing and evaluating the co-teaching approach for such students with special needs.

However, there is not much literature on the concept of co-teaching for students with disabilities. This article adds to the body of knowledge in this area. The entire article provides a practical basis on how a rural school can act as a model to be emulated in the adoption of inclusive approaches in classroom instructions for disabled students. However, the co-teaching method, as a method of instructional design for disabled students, is not popular. The school provides a sample case that can be used by other research or government agencies spearheading inclusion as a method of learning for students with disabilities.

Remedial and Special Education

Purpose or Problem Statement

This article is about the effects of training in Universal Design for Learning on lesson plan development. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) can be defined as an educational learning approach based on cognitive neuroscience. The approach is used to increase learning outcomes and reduce the learner barriers. UDL approach caters to the individual differences of the learners. The adoption of UDL is useful since it leads to inclusion practices in a classroom environment.

Despite the UDL popularity among disability professionals, government educational agencies, and educators, there has not been sufficient research to evaluate its effectiveness as an instructional methodology. The article gives a comprehensive view of the use of UDL, its principles, and its adoption in a classroom situation. This research will provide additional knowledge for most researchers. Historical information is narrow and focused specifically on basic descriptions and principles of UDL (Spooner et al., 2007).

Design/Procedure

The researchers adopted the use of experimental research design which was supported on grounds of its ease of use and ability to offer practical self-learning outcomes. For example, in-classroom situation, teachers are expected to practice different methods of dividing students into groups to evaluate which method works best. The research begins with a one-hour intervention on the use of UDL on lesson plan development for general and special education teachers to prepare a lesson for severe cognitive disability students.

Both experimental class and control groups are used. The independent variable is the effects of training, while the dependent variable is UDL lesson plan development. The dependent variables for the study are total test scores, representation as well as engagement and expression scores. These were subjected to lesson plan pre-test and post-test scores. The control groups were assigned randomly.

Data Analysis

A three-factor analysis on each dependant variable was completed. Differences were found for special groups and general groups teachers.

Conclusions/Implications

The lesson plan pre-test and post-test found that teachers in the experimental group after one-hour intervention improved considerably in their lesson plan development. The basis for this UDL concept is that teachers should plan instructional support during lessons and assessments of the extra session on how the three components of UDL can be used to make curriculum accessible for students with disabilities.

Through an experimental design, it was discovered that when general education teachers are taught UDL, they can develop lesson plans involving expression, representation, and engagement. This is in contrast to the different authors who hold that teachers are unable to use UDL in planning their lessons (Spooner et al., 2007)

Critique/Evaluation/Comments

This research explores the use of UDL for both general and special education cases. The results suggest that the use of UDL can assist teachers in lesson plan development which, in turn, would make the instruction process more effective for both general teachers and teachers handling students with disabilities.

References

Spooner, F., Baker, J. N., Amber, A., Ahlgrim, L., Browder, D. M. (2007). Remedial and Special Education. Summer, 28 (2), 108-116.

Wischnowski, M.W., Salmon, S. J., & Eaton, K. (2004). Publication info: Rural Special Education Quarterly. Summer, 23 (3), 3-14.