Meeting the Needs of Students with Special Educational Needs

Contributed by:
Jonathan James
The objectives of this presentation are:

1. Define team-teaching
2. Define teachers’ roles
3. Outline benefits for schools, students, and teachers;
4. Potential challenges for schools;
5. Importance of Co-planning/Model

1. Meeting the needs of students
with special educational
needs through team teaching.
Fiona Kearney
Assistant National Co-ordinator
Special Education Support Service (SESS)
2. Aims
Rationale for teacher collaboration
Guiding principles of teacher
collaboration in the form of team-
3. Objectives
 Define team-teaching ;
 Define teachers’ roles
 Outline benefits for schools, students
and teachers;
 Potential challenges for schools;
 Importance of Co-planning/Model
4. Rationale for teacher
‘ Collaborative approaches to educating
learners with special educational needs
are becoming increasingly embedded in
educational systems around the world.
Although many aspects of collaboration
are still to be researched there is sufficient
empirical evidence in support of its
underlying philosophy to justify its
implementation’. D. Mitchell. (2008)
5. Rationale
The Guidelines on the provision of
special education at post primary level
(2007) and the N.C.C.A. documents on
the same topic (2006) recommend the
provision of support within the regular
6. Rationale
 1970s: shared areas
 DES Circular 24/03: “wherever possible, schools
should provide additional help for children in the
mainstream classroom….”
 SEN teams
 EPSEN 2004: inclusion wherever possible, with
 DES Circular 02/05: Co-teaching specifically
recommended as inclusive model
7. Placing students with SEN in
mainstream classes
 ‘children with special needs cannot simply be
placed in mainstream settings in the hope
that normality will rub off on them’ Mc Namara and
Moreton (1993)
 Schools have to prepare
 The employment of team-teaching takes the
stigma away from any one student and
provides a better learning and teaching
environment for all.
8. PROS of placing students with
SEN in mainstream classes
 All children learn from each other
-Typical children become more accepting of
individual differences
Improved self-esteem
Acquire leadership skills/empathetic
exposure to a variety of teaching styles
-SEN students have role-models
 Can be cost effective
 Natural Environment-world is inclusive
9. Team Teaching
Team teaching occurs when two or
more teachers jointly deliver
instruction to a diverse group of
students in a single physical space.
(Cook and Friend,1995: 1)
10. Team Teaching
 Teachers share responsibility for planning
and instruction
 Teachers work collaboratively on
delivering content, developing skills,
clarifying information, facilitating learning
and classroom management
 Requires mutual trust, respect and
empathy between teachers.
11. Strengths of team-teaching at Post-
primary level:
 Inclusiveness
 Helpful academically, but not a substitution for
any necessary modifications/accommodations
 Raises issue of inclusion amongst general
student populous
 Offers a less fragmented education
 All pupils have equal access to the curriculum
12. Considerations
 Teachers need to volunteer and agree to team-
 Gradual implementation
 Attention needs to be given to planning to
enable desired learning outcomes for all
students to be achieved
 Continuity of scheduling
 Careful timetabling in advance
 Flexibility of teachers involved – compatibility
 Common approach to discipline
13. Guiding Principles for team-
 Teachers who are comfortable taking the
initiative, self confident in their knowledge
and in their abilities and who are committed
to their profession fare well in this
 There needs to be some compatibility of the
team-members educational philosophies and
professional attitudes
 The teachers need to develop a working
friendship but do not need to become
14. Personal Attributes for team
teaching I
 To be trustworthy
 To have a flexible, friendly personality
 To be able to create a positive
atmosphere in the classroom
 To be able to negotiate
 To have a good personal attitude and
positive self esteem
15. Personal attributes II
 To have a sense of humour
 To be able to promote equality and sharing
 To be a facilitator, rather than an instructor
 To have a dedication and a commitment to
the job of teaching
 To be willing to try and learn new things
 To have a child-centred, or a curriculum-
centred philosophy of teaching
16. It need not be an “all-or-nothing”
 Teachers do not have to commit to only team-
teaching as an approach;
 Team-teaching is not the only option for meeting
the needs of SEN students;
 Team-teaching may not be appropriate in some
subject areas;
 SEN students will typically be in a team-teaching
classroom for only part of the day.
17. What are the benefits for
the school?
1. Allows for greater inclusion of SEN students in the mainstream.
2. Allows for collaboration between all teachers.
3. Allows for the promotion of models of good practice.
4. Additional support is made available to a whole class group while
monitoring and supporting individual students.
5. Promotes a positive relationship between student and teacher(s)
6. Allows for modelling of positive behaviour in classrooms.
7. Allows teachers to differentiate programmes of work and support
initiatives within the school
18. What are the benefits for
the student?
1. Increased teacher time for the students due to 2 adults
working together either inside or outside the classroom.
2. Allows Target students to be grouped
3. Supports inclusion through access to the curriculum
without stigma of withdrawal.
4. Provides differentiated learning experiences for all
learning styles and abilities e.g. additional material etc.
5. Allows for greater variety – skills and modes of working.
19. What are the benefits for the
1. Allows for the Learning Support and Resource Teacher to deal with
larger numbers of pupils than if they were working solely on their
2. Avoids teacher isolation.
3. Provides opportunities for shared decisions.
4. Planning is supported because it it shared.
5. May be a rewarding experience.
6. Sharing of workload and materials to be produced.
7. Behavioural problems may be more easily diffused.
8. Sharing ‘good practice’ ideas.
20. Potential Challenges
• Not easy to maintain in schools
• Teachers may not work well together
• May be a disproportionate no. of SEN
students in co-operative taught
• SEN teachers can function as more of a
SNA than a co-teacher.
21. Teachers’ Reservations to team-
 Specific subject knowledge
 Power relations
 Time-table issues
 Examinations
 Student preference
 Systemic approach?
22. What happens when team teaching
doesn’t work ?
 What do you do?
23. Collaboration on Curriculum
‘Moving the collaboration away from
teachers problems (where it often is)
to the curriculum has a positive
impact on classroom instruction and
generally improves the educational
(Montague and Warner, 2001)
24. What happens when team
teaching does not work ?
 Have an agreed mechanism for ending
arrangements e.g. end of 1st term. This
avoids bad feelings, feelings of
 Be non-judgemental, sensitive and
 Problem usually between people rather
than within any 1 individual.
 Take a professional approach
25. Final thoughts on what team-
teaching can offer?
 Improve educational for the whole class;
 Share the load of classroom management;
 Provide specific expertise/knowledge to the
mainstream teacher from the specialist teacher;
 Time can be devoted to modifying teaching
materials/ differentiating;
 Facilitates the maintenance of detailed records
and observations;
 Builds trusting relationships between colleagues.
26. References
 Bauwens, J., Hourcade, J.J. and Friend, M.M. (1989)
Cooperative Teaching: A model for General and special
education integration. Remedial and Special Education,
10(2), pp. 17-22
 Clark,C.,Dyson,A., Millward,A. and Robson, S.
(1999),’Theories of Inclusiion, Theories of Schools:
Deconstructing and Reconstructing the Inclusive
School’,British Educational Research Journal, Vol.(2),
pp. 161-177.
 Day, T. (2005) In-class Support for Children with Special
Needs in Mainstream Schools, Reach, Vol. 18, (2), pp.
79 – 87
 Department of Education (1976). ‘Co-operative teaching
in Irish Primary Schools’Government Publications.
27. References
 Department of Education and Science (DES)
(2003),Circ.24/03: Allocation of Resources for Pupils with
Special Educational Needs in National Schools, Dublin:DES
 Department of Education and Science (DES) (2005), Circ
02/05: Organising of Teaching Resources for Pupils who
need Additional Support in Mainstream Primary Schools,
 Dieker, L. (1998) Rationale for Co-Teaching. Social Studies
Review, 37 (2), 62-65
 Friend, M. Cook, L. (1996) Interactions: Collaboration skills
for school professionals. White Plains. Longman.
28. References
 Gately, S.E.,and Gately, F.J. (2001) Understanding co-
teaching components. Teaching Exceptional Children, 33 (4),
40 – 47
 Hourcade, J.J. and Bauwens, J. (2002) Cooperative
Teaching: Rebuilding and Sharing the Schoolhouse. Second
edition. Pro-ed. U.S.
 Lawton, M. (1999) Co-teaching: Are two heads better than
one in an inclusive classroom? Harvard Education Letter,
March/April 1999. Harvard Education Publishing.
 Mitchell, D. (2008), What Really Works in Special & Inclusive
Education: Using Evidence Based Strategies,Routledge.
29. References
 Rice, D., and Zigmond, N. (1999). Co-teaching in
Secondary Schools ; Teacher Reports of developments
in Australian and American Classrooms
 Santamaria, L. J. and Thousand, J.S. (2004)
Collaboration, Co-teaching and Differentiated Instruction:
A Process-Oriented Approach to Whole Schooling,
International Journal of Whole Schooling, Vol. 1, (1), pp.
1 – 33.
 Villa, R.A., Thousand, J.S. and Nevin, A. I. (2004) A
guide to co-teaching: Practical tips for facilitating student
learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press
30. SESS Contact Details
Special Education Support Service
C/o Cork Education Support Centre
Western Road,
Tel: 1850200884
E-mail: [email protected]
Web address: