I have read about co-teaching, team teaching, consultative teaching, and other similar terms. What is an effective way to work with the special education teacher(s) assigned to my students' who have disabilities?

A variety of approaches and styles exist regarding how a general education teacher and a special education teacher can collaborate to provide appropriate services for a student who has a disability. Because many terms are used to describe these approaches, no common language can be found among the resources in collaborative teaching. In addition, many aspects of collaboration to serve students with Individual Education Plans (IEPs) such as evaluating, planning, instruction, and monitoring progress should be considered.

Factual Information

To collaborate to deliver instruction in the classroom, the IEP team has most likely determined the student's needs, where and how instruction is to occur, and who is responsible for providing the instruction. For example, it may be appropriate for the student's instruction to occur in your math class. The student's instructional needs and accommodations also require the presence of the special education teacher to deliver instruction during the math class. This collaborative teaching model might resemble what is commonly referred to as co-teaching or team teaching. In these models both you and the special education teacher will have shared responsibilities for instruction and monitoring student progress.

In a different context, a student with low vision has educational needs requiring accommodations to access instruction in your math class, such as a specialized assistive technology device to access text presented on a white board. A consultative teaching model may be appropriate in this situation. The teacher for students who have visual disabilities provides periodic consultation and works collaboratively with you to ensure the student is accessing instruction and making appropriate progress.

Regardless of the model used for collaborative teaching, determining effective ways to work together may depend on a variety of factors such as communication, time, availability, and schedules. Your local school district or specific site may have strategies built into the structure of routines that assist with collaborative teaching practices. Resources on collaborative teaching practices are available to help you work together with your colleagues in an effective manner.

Classroom Activities

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No collaborative activities are available at this time.