GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., June 2, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Integrated Co-Teaching (ICT) can be more of a marriage than matrimony between spouses regarding time and coordination. In an ICT classroom, a general education teacher and a special education teacher jointly provide instruction to a class of students with and without disabilities, so teachers must coordinate expectations and establish a rapport to best suit the needs of their scholars.
Moira Bode is a former special education teacher who taught in an ICT classroom for two years with Rumana Rahman. Now, Bode and Rahman continue to work side-by-side in leadership positions at National Heritage Academies' Brooklyn Dreams Charter School as dean of intervention and K-2 dean, respectively. They remain proponents of ICT, with at least one such class in every grade at the school that allows for the use of methods such as parallel teaching (splitting the class into two groups with each teacher teaching the same information at the same time).
"You really get to have another perspective to things," Bode said. "I have taught alone and there are benefits to it, but I personally feel like it made me such a better teacher when I had someone there to give me that other kind of lens on things."
The benefits of an ICT classroom extend to teachers and students. For teachers, it gives them two licensed, certified teachers in one space. For students, instruction is planned in detail to make sure their needs are met and adjusted in real time.
"It's obviously a huge benefit and a need for the students with disabilities," Bode said. "For general education students, they still have that extra person there who if they didn't understand the math lesson yesterday, one of their teachers can work with them in the morning so they're ready. Even the students who don't have (Individualized Education Programs) have definitely benefited from the group work. It's wonderful for our families to see how that works in the collaboration."
An ICT classroom also gives students with and without disabilities more of a social boost. Bode pointed to one Brooklyn Dreams student on the autism spectrum who struggled with the return to in-person learning but controlled his impulses with the help of classmates.
"Other students are just so supportive of him. They lean in and help him if he needs help," she said. "It just makes our students much more empathetic. In terms of the general education students, they are more aware of disabilities, and then for our special education students, they have that positive peer role model. Being able to see certain social situations that maybe they wouldn't if they were in the different setting is really wonderful."
About National Heritage Academies:
NHA is a network of 98 tuition-free, public charter schools across nine states, serving more than 60,000 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. For more information, visit nhaschools.com.
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SOURCE National Heritage Academies