Special Education in the Science Classroom: A Co-Teaching Scenario

By Dieker, Lisa; Finnegan, Lisa et al. | Science Scope, December 2013 | Go to article overview

Special Education in the Science Classroom: A Co-Teaching Scenario


Dieker, Lisa, Finnegan, Lisa, Grillo, Kelly, Garland, Dennis, Science Scope


Middle school students can be a challenging group to teach, as they are peer focused and see little connection between the textbook-driven instruction of school-related content and their future beyond attending high school. Add to the middle school classroom the potential dynamics of students with disabilities and the environment can become even more complicated. One way many schools support students with disabilities in middle school classrooms is through co-teaching, which is on the rise due to the culmination of many legislative influences. The 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that special education teachers be highly qualified and use evidence-based instruc tion (Solis et al. 2012), the 2001 No Child Left Behind (NCLB) legislation requires that students with special needs be evaluated with state and district assessments (Bouck 2007), and current teacher evaluation systems being executed in districts link student outcomes on state assessments with teacher raises and employment. Co-teaching offers a solution to the NCLB, IDEA, and other emerging mandates through effective collaboration between two teachers.

This article focuses on practical ideas for middle school science teachers to support students with disabilities in inclusive settings through co-teaching. It describes a scenario based on the authors' observations working with teachers in schools across the country. Practical ideas to make both co-teaching and, specifically, co-planning more effective are provided. Using the ideas presented for co-planning and carefully choosing various co-teaching structures can increase the equality of presence of the two teachers while benefiting learning outcomes of all students, especially those with disabilities.

The scenario

At a middle school in central Florida, the school year begins with general and special education teachers receiving their predetermined teaching assignments and schedule for the year. This year, however, is a little different. All teachers have been provided professional development on the art and science of co-teaching, which is intended to help them implement new co-teaching assignments, should they be given one. Sure enough, when Mr. Berg, the science teacher, and Ms. Hill, the special education teacher, receive their schedules, they see they are expected to co-teach a class that will include at least six students with disabilities. Mr. Berg will also have a second class with three students with disabilities supported by a paraprofessional instead of the special education teacher and a third class with one student with disabilities and no support from either a special education teacher or a paraprofessional. Mr. Berg is optimistically anxious about these new partnerships.

Mr. Berg's feelings are very common. As more and more general education and special education teachers work collaboratively through the practice of co-teaching, both groups of teachers need the opportunity to positively negotiate their roles, responsibilities, and relationships (Bouck 2007; Murawski and Dieker 2008; Scruggs, Mastropieri, and McDuffie 2007). As an example, let's take a look at these two teachers in action, as well as how their roles change when Mr. Stein, the paraprofessional who assists Ms. Hill, works in the classroom with Mr. Berg.

Planning

Mr. Berg and Ms. Hill are allotted only 50 minutes of co-planning time each week, during which they co-plan an entire week's lessons. At the start of their co-teaching, they established two clear rules that are essential to and practical for successful co-teaching. First, while co-planning across the three different classes, they focus on each day's lesson for 8 minutes to give equal time for well-developed co-taught lessons over the course of the week and so they can cover the "big ideas" and strategize instruction for their co-teaching to address all students' success. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Special Education in the Science Classroom: A Co-Teaching Scenario
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.