Co-teaching1 is designed to promote full inclusion of children with disabilities. In the Write Start program, the teachers and occupational therapist share responsibility for instruction and intervention. Our model uses station teaching in which groups of children rotate through centers. We selected a station teaching model as it best aligned with our goals and the curricular focus of handwriting and writing.
Co-teaching consists of a common planning time, defined roles and responsibilities, high level communication skills and administrative support.2 In a synthesis of qualitative research studies, Scruggs, Mastropieri, and Mcduffle3 defined three characteristics of successful co-teaching:
- Planning together to coordinate teaching styles and goals
- Administrative support for teacher-OT planning time and training
- Flexibility and adaptability of the teacher and OT.
Benefits of co-teaching include:
- Students receive more individualized attention and benefit from having the input of a therapists and teacher.
- Teachers and OTs learn new skills from each other.
- Interventions and modifications that promote handwriting are embedded into the classroom.
- Students who are struggling with handwriting but not eligible for special education can receive OT services.
- All students receive comprehensive instruction for handwriting within the writing curriculum that enables them to link handwriting skills to writing and composition.
1Cook, L., & Friend, M. (1995). Co-teaching: guidelines for creating effective practices. Focus on Exceptional Children. 28 (3), 1-16.
2Arguelles, M.E., Hughes, M.T., & Schumm, J.S. (2000). Co-teaching: A different approach to inclusion. Principal, 79, 50-51.
3Scruggs, T.E., Mastropierei, M.A., & McDuffie, K.A. (2007). Co-teaching in inclusive classrooms: A metasynthesis of qualitative research. Exceptional Children, 73, 392-416