Co-teachingHello. Current Education Codes (laws), stemming from ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) have called for the free, appropriate,...

Co-teaching

Hello.

Current Education Codes (laws), stemming from ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) have called for the free, appropriate, public education of all students with learning disabilities in the least restrictive environment (LRE), preferrably among their General Education peers, i.e. full inclusion.  Of course, this is a complicated and touchy subject for many, as Gen. Ed. teachers often voice dissatisfaction with current laws.  It is highly difficult and sensitive work, creating quality, differentiated, integrated lesson plans that address every need of every student, in every class.  These teachers are hard-pressed by all of the mandates and directives upon them, and to have to include students with special needs into their classrooms, particularly when there are behavior problems involved, could be considered as asking (or demanding, as the case may be) too much. 

So, what is to be done?  The law is the law.  These students are guaranteed by these laws to have a place in the Gen. Ed. setting.  Which is why Special Education Teachers, of the full inclusion variety, are in those classrooms as well.  This brings up another problem, however: What exactly is the SPED teacher's role in the Gen. Ed. teacher's classroom?  If you have first hand knowledge, and are willing to share your responses, questions, and insight, please join this discussion.

Thank you.

Expert Answers
wannam eNotes educator| Certified Educator
The job of the inclusion teacher is supposed to be to help modify lesson plans and instruct students. At one school I worked at, inclusion went very smoothly. The SPED teachers met with the subject area teachers and helped create easily modified lesson plans. We worked as a group to try to make the modifications appropriate, but not call attention to the students who would be working on the modified plans. Behavior problems stemming rom these students were handled quickly and efficently. It was a wonderful experience. However, the other schools I have worked at did not follow this model. The SPED teachers were few and far between. A class that should have had an inclusion teacher for the entire block might only catch a glimpse of that teacher as they bounced from classroom to classroom. All modification fell to the subject teacher with no help from the SPED department. There were frequent clashes and arguments between departments over whether a student was getting too few or too many modifications. It was horrible. This is the type of situation I have seen at most schools. This is what caused regular ed teachers to be overwhelmed and complain.
pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I would love to work in a district that had enough money to send teachers in with the Special Ed students.  We typically have one IEP meeting per student per year where the Special Ed teacher tells us what the student's general abilities, etc are.  Then we go and do what we can to accomodate that without any further input from the Special Ed teacher.  I'd love to have what Post 3 talks about in her first anecdote.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think the best approach is for the SPED teacher and the regular teacher to be open and honest with one another.  Personally, I think it works best when the two can work together, but that does not always happen.  In this case, it's a balancing act.  Sometimes the SPED teacher gets her way, and sometimes the general ed teacher does.

ebojoy | Student
The job of the inclusion teacher is supposed to be to help modify lesson plans and instruct students. At one school I worked at, inclusion went very smoothly. The SPED teachers met with the subject area teachers and helped create easily modified lesson plans. We worked as a group to try to make the modifications appropriate, but not call attention to the students who would be working on the modified plans. Behavior problems stemming rom these students were handled quickly and efficently. It was a wonderful experience. However, the other schools I have worked at did not follow this model. The SPED teachers were few and far between. A class that should have had an inclusion teacher for the entire block might only catch a glimpse of that teacher as they bounced from classroom to classroom. All modification fell to the subject teacher with no help from the SPED department. There were frequent clashes and arguments between departments over whether a student was getting too few or too many modifications. It was horrible. This is the type of situation I have seen at most schools. This is what caused regular ed teachers to be overwhelmed and complain.

  Hello.  It is true that SPED teachers in the inclusion setting are to assist the Gen.Ed. Teacher with modifications to the lesson plans.  In addition, the SPED Teacher is to consult with Teachers on how to provide accommodations in the classroom, per students' IEP's (Individual Education Plans).  The SPED Teacher is also required to write IEP documents, which should contain, among many other things, measurable, attainable, and relevant annual goals and short-term objectives.

ebojoy | Student

I think the best approach is for the SPED teacher and the regular teacher to be open and honest with one another.  Personally, I think it works best when the two can work together, but that does not always happen.  In this case, it's a balancing act.  Sometimes the SPED teacher gets her way, and sometimes the general ed teacher does.

Openness and honesty is a good thing, which arguably can only come with time.  People need time to develop relationships that warrant open, honest communication.  Unfortunately, there may be no time for that in this context.  SPED and Gen. Ed. teachers need to be professional, doing what their job descriptions call for, all the while putting student needs first.

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