Special Education in Collaborative Classrooms

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Collaborative Teaching in Special Education Programs:

Collaboration means providing special education in regular education classrooms. Today, more special education students are taught in regular classrooms, and collaboration is increasing. Collaboration helps to ensure children with learning disabilities get a free appropriate public education, including specialized instruction, in a regular classroom.

There are several ways to ensure students get the instructional support they need. Collaboration provides options to allow students to be educated in the least restrictive environment.

Collaboration Models - The Lead Teacher Model:

In classrooms with a lead teacher, often the regular classroom teacher delivers the instruction in the subject area. The special education teacher is an observer who works with children after instruction to provide specially designed instruction, ensure understanding, and to provide adaptations and modifications.

Collaboration Models - Stations or Centers:

Each teacher is responsible for instruction in a specific area of the room. Students are assembled into groups that rotate through the centers for instruction. Special education teachers may deliver instruction in areas of their certifications and may also serve as support to other teachers without special education background.

Resource Services, or Alternative Collaborative Setting:

This involves pulling students with disabilities aside from the group or into a resource classroom where they work one-on-one or in small groups with a special education teacher and possibly with instructional assistants for part of the instructional day.

Even when students are placed full time in special education classrooms, teachers may communicate with each other to ensure students' programs include appropriate instruction. Separate settings are typically used with students who have more significant need for direct instruction.

Collaboration Models - Team Teaching:

This involves both teachers simultaneously working together to teach a classroom of students. Either teacher who has the necessary background knowledge in the subject introduces new concepts and materials to the class. Both teachers work as a team to reinforce learning and provide assistance to students as needed. Special education teachers provide specially designed instruction to students with IEPs, and regular education teachers can assist with this as well.

Consultation Models of Collaboration:

A special education teacher may provide some instruction to students, but the majority of service is indirect. The special education teacher mostly provides guidance to the regular education teacher on how to modify instruction to meet the student's needs.

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