What type of training programs could be created for regular education teachers in order to meet the learning requirements to work and engage students with disabilities?
The current trend in education is co-teaching. Co-teaching avoids the division of students into "regular" and "special ed". The routine is:
- Classroom teacher and SPED teacher plan together
- Both teachers will take turns teaching different subjects
- Students are differentiated and each teacher will lead a group
- The teachers will train students in the expectations of each small group.
- A student leader is trained, and leaders will train others so that every student has a chance to lead.
This being said, the best training program that could be created is novice, apprentice, proficient and expert co-teaching. The reason for this is that teachers that are not trained in co-teaching by phases could not only ruin the teaching process, but also the professional relationship with the co-teaching colleague.
Once teachers are expert level co-teachers, the second implementation is LASW (Looking at Student Work) following the "legal" protocol. This protocol is sometimes called "legal" because the process is similar to how lawyers and prosecutors present a case:
- Teacher who has an issue with data brings the student work to the table. She explains what she did, what assessment it was, and how the student performed. Usually this takes 5-10 mins.
- A group of colleagues will sit and listen to the teacher without asking questions until the teacher's time is up.
- The question/answer period starts where teachers specifically ask questions about approaches, interventions, methodology, data collection, and data analysis. The teacher answers questions. (around 10-15 minutes)
- Cold feedback- Colleagues will give feedback about the student work; no feedback is given about the teacher, just the student.
- Warm feedback- Colleagues will suggest methodologies.
- Teacher paraphrases the feedback and makes a list of improvements base on the conversation.
Therefore, phased co-teaching and LASW are the most important trends in current educational settings and special attention must be paid to conduct the process properly. Otherwise, the student will be the most affected party.