Pushing In: A Guide to Enhancing Co-Teaching in the Inclusion Classroom With ESL Students

Pushing In: A Guide to Enhancing Co-Teaching in the Inclusion Classroom With ESL Students

Joy Cowdery (Muskingum University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3955-1.ch003
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This chapter examines the research that encourages co-teaching between the content specialist and the ESL teacher as a delivery model. Many schools are making a shift from ESL pull-out to ESL – mainstream co-teaching, or pushing in, because research suggests that co-teaching can be one of the most effective ways to meet the needs of the growing ESL population (Causton-Theoharis, 2008; Honigsfeld & Dove, 2008; Young, Smith, 2006). Collaborative teaching relationships are productive and rewarding, but of greater importance, ELL student achievement increases substantially in co-taught classes. Suggestions for enhancing the co-teaching experience for teachers and students is disseminated and analyzed.
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In a co-taught classroom, ELL students and their English-speaking peers both learn required curriculum together. When the classroom remains heterogeneous, ELLs are given the opportunity to work with a variety of students with different skill sets and with students who can model English language fluency. This is contrary to the idea that ELL need remedial or pullout programs. Pull out programs force ELLs to be grouped with other youngsters who are struggling and have little English language proficiency (Honigsfeld & Dove, 2008). This makes both language and social growth difficult.

Co-teaching research is very new in the ESL field, but the results of research are promising. While the research on the effects of co-teaching in ESL/ content classes is sparse, there are a few studies that show success in the use of co-teaching as a successful method of delivery. Pardini (2006) reported on the experiences in the St. Paul, MN Public Schools in moving services for students who are English language learners from separate settings to inclusion classes. With the largest populations of Somali and Hmong in the United States and a rapidly increasing Hispanic population, the district was offering ELL services in almost every school in the district. As a means of increasing the efficiency of delivery and the effectiveness of the students’ learning, the district carefully constructed co-taught inclusion classes. The results of their decision to employ co-teaching are evident in the achievement data for the ELL student group. During 2003-2005, the co-taught time period covered by the report, the gap in reading achievement between other students and ELLs fell from 13 percent to 6 percent on high stakes testing; the gap in math fell from 6.7 percent to 2.7 percent (Pardi, 2006, 25). The results achieved by the district are among the best in the country for this student group. English-language learners in St. Paul are catching up to native English-speakers on key measures of academic achievement (Zehr, 2006).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Asynchronous: The ability to work to together but not at the same time and place.

Co-Teaching: Two or more teachers teaching the same group of students, at the same time, in the same space.

ELL: English Language Learners. Students whose first language is other than English.

EBP: Evidence based Practice: use of current best evidence and data in making decisions about student learning.

Pull Out: A program that separates ELL students from the mainstream classroom and educates them separately in speaking English.

Push In: A program that includes ELL students in the mainstream classroom to learn content and language simultaneously.

English First Students: Students whose first language is English.

ESL: English as a Second Language: A method of teaching ELL students English.

Collaboration: The idea that teachers, parents, and administrators work as a team to provide education to students.

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