ISLAMIC AZAD UNIVERSITY
Central Tehran Branch
Faculty of Foreign Language – Department of English
On Teaching English
The Effect of Alternative Teaching Model on EFL Learners’ Grammar Achievement
Dr. Sholh Kolahi
Dr. Nasim Shangarf Fam
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Teaching is one of the complicated processes taking place in the schools and educational institutions. In traditional teaching model, one teacher is responsible for supervising all tasks of lessons over a specific time. The arrival of new strategies of teaching, issues of motivation, the satisfaction of students, academic needs and other factors contributing to successful teaching activities all are looking forward into the creative genius of a single teacher. The seemingly difficulty of addressing all these elements simultaneously by a single pedagogue appeals for a new alternative in the method of teaching (Keefe & Moore). Since the last two decades, alternative teaching has gained a great deal of importance.
One of the recently suggested methods for accelerating and facilitating the education process is co-teaching model. The concept of co-teaching got emerged about several years ago through the works of scholars such as Walther-Thomas (1997). However, it was initially introduced to call for issues of teaching handicapped students in an exclusive class (Cook & Friend, 1995; Dieker, 2001; Dieker & Murawski, 2003; Gately & Gately, 2001; Keefe & Moore, 2004; Stanovich, 1996; Tobin, 2005; Vaughn, Schumm, and Arguelles, 1997). There exists a variety of definitions for co-teaching. Cook and Friend (1995), for example, state that co-teaching is “two or more professionals delivering substantive instruction to a diverse or blended group of students in a single physical space” (p. 14).
Similarly, Angelides (2006, p.1) defined co-teaching as “two teachers are jointly responsible for a class and plan teaching together, plan instruction together, share teaching duties and design collectively all teaching aids.” Finally, according to Wenzlaff et al. (2002, p. 14), co-teaching is “two or more individuals who come together in a collaborative relationship for the purpose of shared work for the outcome of achieving what none could have done alone.”
Co-teaching is a way in which educators can meet the needs of students both with and without disabilities. The term co-teaching was initially cooperative teaching, and then shortened to co- teaching and sometimes is referred to as team teaching.
Cooperative teaching, team teaching, and co-teaching all refer to a similar instructional delivery system. The emphasis on the co-teaching relationship, which pairs a special educator with a regular educator within the regular education classroom, is based on the principle that students with identified disabilities are best served when they are in the regular education classroom with their non-disabled peers (Murawski & Swanson, 2001).
In a high school or junior high school class, the regular education teacher is expected to have specialized training in her content area with little or no training in meeting the specific needs of students. On the other hand, the special educator brings to the classroom in-depth knowledge of the individual student learning styles, writing and following a student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP), and accommodations that can or must be made, but with limited knowledge of the subject matter content. Both teachers are expected to blend their areas of expertise to provide instruction to all students while meeting the needs of the learning-disabled student (Magiera, Smith, Zigmond, & Gebauer, 2005). “This method of instruction is likely to increase the outcomes for all students in the general education setting, while ensuring that students with disabilities receive necessary modifications yet are provided instruction by a content expert” (Murawski & Dieker, 2004, p. 64) .
Regular and special educators can embrace the different learning needs of all students using a co-teaching model. School populations today are becoming more and more ethnically diverse. As diversity within the classroom increases, so must the educator’s awareness of the need for accommodations for students with different languages and cultural backgrounds. General education teachers are often ill–prepared to deal with students’ diverse learning needs as well as those of students whose unique learning needs stem from a disability. Team teaching will enable teachers to collaborate on the best ways to accommodate the learning needs of both of these student populations. A special educator who is prepared to work with such diversity can assist the general educator in meeting the needs of students from diverse cultural backgrounds as well as with different learning disabilities (Dieker and Murawski, 2003).
Meeting the needs of all students in the classroom requires a cooperative teaching relationship that is well-defined and well-planned. “Critical issues for teachers are clustered around three major areas: the nature of collaboration, roles and responsibilities, and outcomes” (Keefe & Moore, 2004, p.77).
There are five variations of the co-teaching model. The first variation has one teacher, usually the general educator, taking the instructional lead while the other moves around the room assisting students and answering questions. The second variation involves actually changing the physical arrangement of the room, dividing the room into two stations, with each teacher working with a segment of the curriculum and having students rotate from station to station. The third variation finds both teachers jointly planning the instruction but dividing the classroom into two heterogeneous halves, with each teacher working with just one-half of the class. The fourth variation involves dividing the class into one small and one large group; one teacher provides instruction in the form of pre-teaching, guided practice, or review to the smaller group. The fifth variation finds the teaching model characterized by each teacher taking turns in leading discussions or having both teachers take part in demonstrations (Welch, 2000).
The general education teachers as curriculum experts were most frequently the dominant member of the partnership. It was rare to find the special educator delivering instruction to the entire class, most frequently performing tasks such as recording homework, writing on the blackboard, or conducting short oral reviews (Mastropieri et al. 2005).
Co-teaching should not be just a chance for one educator to get coffee or run copies. “Teachers must also avoid relegating the special education teacher, especially, to a role of glorified aide” (Lawton, 1999, p. 2).
There are other problems that can arise in a co-teaching situation. Most common of those is the lack of common planning time. Many schools are unable to give collaborating teachers time to plan together, forcing the teachers to plan on their own time or to not plan together at all. This puts the burden of planning on the shoulders of one teacher, usually the general educator.
Another problem is the pairing of two teachers together who did not voluntarily choose to teach together. Clashing personalities and differences of opinions about educational philosophy can make the co-teaching pairing ineffective for the students and professionally frustrating for the teachers (Murawski& Swanson, 2001).
There are many different ways to utilize co-teaching relationships. Co-teaching is becoming more prevalent in schools as educational requirements and high stakes testing make the way schools have always addressed students with diversity, whether cultural or learning, obsolete. Although research shows that there are many benefits to having both a regular educator and special educator in the same classroom, there are many factors to be considered in working collaboratively with another teacher. Which factors enhance the relationship, and which factors hinder it? It is not fully reported what makes the most successful partnerships. Therefore, there is a need to further investigate the co-teaching relationship. In order to help educators maximize their time in the classroom and most benefit both students with special needs as well as students without special needs(Bauwens & Hourcade, 1995)
Although co-teaching is represented as a relatively new approach, its practicality has not been certified for a number of reasons. As far as its application is concerned every co-teaching model may not be suitable in all educational settings because students and teachers do not possess similar features. Its adaptability is another concern. For example, in Japanese classrooms not all models of co-teaching are employed except team teaching (Macedo, 2002; Tajino & Larry, 1998; Tajino & Tajino, 2000).
The different possible types of co-teaching can be categorized by imagining a continuum of collaboration. At the low collaboration end are courses planned by a group of faculty and later taught individually by members of the group. They might plan the general content of these related courses, but would teach and evaluate the courses separately; they would not observe each other’s classes. At the highest level of collaboration are courses that are co-planned, co-taught and evaluated by a pair or group of teachers. These courses are self-contained with instructors working simultaneously in the classroom. In other words, all aspects of the course, including instructional time, are collaborative. Teachers trade off lead and supporting teaching roles as they orchestrate instruction. It is likely that most team-taught courses fall somewhere between these extremes. In the literature, is found documentation of team teaching in single courses (Davis, 1995); across a program (Katsura and Matsune, 1994; Rosenkjar, 2002); and institution-wide (Stewart et al., 2002).
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