Reflection on Co-Teaching and Differentiation

Entry #1: Co-Teaching- Share your thoughts about the co-teaching model? What impact does the upgrade of curriculum for the 21st century have on co-teaching? As a curriculum supervisor or leader, what challenges would you have supervising and evaluating a co-teaching team, and how might supervisors address these challenges?

I actually have had the pleasure of co-teaching multiple times in my career, and have greatly benefited from the experience. My experience has always shown that the two teachers can use each others strengths to design lessons and units that are more engaging more successful than what a single teacher can do. The benefits to classroom management are also numerous since two sets of eyes in the classroom are definitely better than one. Co-Teaching is something that I think would strengthen the introduction of new and emerging technologies in the classroom.

With two teachers in the room, it would be considerably easier to monitor the technology in use and engage students in the learning. Within my classroom, for example, I have a software program that allows me to monitor what students are working on at each individual computer. Unfortunately, I cannot access that display remotely and must be at my desk in order to identify what students are working on. With two teachers in the room, one can monitor student progress and work, while the other answers questions and facilitates the lesson. I think that we must be cautious in this implementation to make sure that the teachers share roles and responsibilities in the classroom so that both teachers can learn from the experience.

Supervising a Co-Teaching team from a strictly observational perspective would be difficult. In order to fully gauge the effectiveness of a team, I would use the team to help guide observations and data collection. Similar to our own team observations in this course, I would ask that the teachers self-report their own contribution into the classroom environment, and I would try to observe and evaluate those actions when I visited the classroom. I also feel that it is important to be involved in the planning process with teaching teams to determine how lessons are developed and work is distributed. Each team is different and would need more observations to ensure that they are equally contributing and sharing in the preparation and facilitation of lessons.

Entry #2: Individualizing the Curriculum- Select one model or individualized program from Chapter 15 of the Glatthorn text that you think would work best.  Explain your choice and reasons supporting it.  What, if anything, would need to change in your school or district to adapt it, and how as a curricular leader would you make those changes?

Of all the models introduced by Glatthorn, I feel that the Self-Paced Instructional Model is one that has the most potential for change in my current school. In my research after the introduction from Glatthorn, I found an article by Angela Vaughan titled “The Self-Paced Student” (Education Leadership, 2005). Angela starts by explaining that she taught in a diverse, at-risk population and was teaching remedial math. Like most of the teachers in my school she reported, “There was no time to explore concepts beyond the minimum course objectives or to reteach material that the students didn’t understand. I found myself repeating examples five or six times because students simply stopped listening after the first 10 minutes of class… Providing individualized instruction to students who had widely varying skill sets was also a real challenge.”

In my school, we have the same reports coming from many of the staff members. Our students disconnect easily, but also have a hard time motivating themselves to engage in the content in a productive way. Vaughan outlines a method of teaching and empowering learners to take charge of their own learning to engage in the curriculum. By empowering students, we can make a larger impact on how those students approach learning and provide essential skills to allow those students to succeed in the 21st century.

At work, we already have a significant amount of resources developed to allow students to work at their own pace. Unfortunately we are tied down by time limitations imposed by external reviewers. The most significant barrier to adoption of this model is the current semester and unit based design of classrooms across the district. If we could break this mold to allow students to engage in the learning throughout the year and master subjects at their own pace, we will greatly increase the value of the education we provide.

Source: A. Vaughn. Educational Leadership, April 2005, Vol 62 Number 7, pg 69-73

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