Thinking Outside the Box: Using Virtual Platforms to Collaboratively Co-Plan Effective and Engaging Instruction

Thinking Outside the Box: Using Virtual Platforms to Collaboratively Co-Plan Effective and Engaging Instruction

Sara Scribner (Syracuse University, USA) and Megan E. Cartier (Syracuse University, USA)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7703-4.ch004
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At its core, inclusive education takes a great deal more than educators who follow a checklist of best teaching practices and procedures. It requires professionals philosophically committed to inclusion who effectively and efficiently co-plan and co-teach instruction to a diverse group of learners. Co-planning is one of the most important elements of co-teaching and inclusion, yet one of the hardest things to make time for amongst a busy school week. Within this chapter, the authors will discuss and analyze their co-planning and co-teaching models across two semesters of teaching a differentiation methods course to pre-service undergraduate teachers, specifically sharing about their successful utilization of a virtual platform for co-planning. The chapter will conclude with the positives and challenges of using a virtual planning platform, as well as specific recommendations for how to use one.
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According to Norman Kunc (1992), inclusive education means,

…valuing of diversity within the human community. When inclusive education is fully embraced, we abandon the idea that children have to become “normal” in order to contribute to the world...We begin to look beyond typical ways of becoming valued members of the community, and in doing so, begin to realize the achievable goal of providing all children with an authentic sense of belonging (pp. 38-39).

At its core, inclusive education is more than just teaching practices and procedures. Inclusive education centers on the philosophy that all students belong within the (general education) classroom. An inclusive classroom is not merely a ‘melting pot’ of differences where assimilation is the goal. Inclusion is about all children belonging and participating- not just those with a label. While inclusive classes are not yet the norm, both within the US context and abroad, there is a body of literature that suggests that inclusive classrooms not only benefit students with disabilities, but all students (Burstein, Sears, Wilcoxen, Cabello, & Spagna, 2004; Giangreco, Dennis, Cloninger, Edelman, & Schattman, 1993; McGregor & Vogelsberg, 1998; Soto, Miiller, Hunt & Goetz, 2001). The term inclusion captures, in one word, an ideal that is all embracing. Despite the global push for inclusion, there is still resistance to inclusive practices in schools around the world (O’Rourke, 2015, p. 532). Inclusion calls for a respect for differences.

Key Terms in this Chapter

One Teach, One Assist/Float: One teacher assists in a specific way or floats around the room to provide support and extra help to individual students while the other teacher is providing instruction to the whole class.

One Teach, One Make Multisensory: One teacher is talking, and the other teacher is working to represent that information in another way (think example up on the chalkboard) visuals, charts, graphs, and lists up on the board.

Virtual Platform: A free or subscription web-based applications that allow multiple users to add content, edit, and embed files all in one space across multiple devices.

Duet Teaching: Two teachers who plan, share, and teach together, simultaneously, class content with no members of the class removed from the classroom or in an alternate location.

Collaboration: When professionals actively engage with one another with students’ best interests in mind, working together to create engaging, inclusive instruction.

Station Teaching: Students rotate through a variety of stations. Teachers might stay in the same group or might float between stations. All students work with all teachers (in different activities), but each station does not need to have a teacher.

Co-Teaching: When two, or more, professional lead instruction, together, that has been co-planned, for a diverse group of learners.

Parallel Teaching: Each teacher takes half the class and teaches the same material at the same time teaching the content parallel to each other. Task cards are used to make sure both groups are following the same agenda and are accessing the same content.

Co-Planning: When two, or more, professionals plan, together, instruction for a diverse group of learners.

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