Difference between teaching for a moment and a lifetime


“If you give a starving man a fish you feed him for a day. But if you teach the man how to fish, you feed him for a lifetime. If you teach a student with learning disabilities a fact, you help the student for the moment. But if you teach that student how to learn, you help the student for a lifetime”.

-Deshler, Ellis and Lenz (1996)

Co-teaching Strategies in Mathematics

Sileo, Jane.,Garderen, Delinda (2010). Creating Opportunities to Learn Mathematics: Blending Co-Teaching Structures with research-based practices. Teaching Exceptional Children, Vol 42 (No. 3), 14-21.

This article focused on integrating co-teaching and research-based mathematics strategies in classroom instruction. The authors questions how to create an effective learning environment while using instructional strategies and pratices that are effective for studetns with learning disabilites. Prior research suggest that students with disabilities tend to struggle with mathematics, which is why the authors aim to design lessons and activites that give all students equal opportunity. Special educators and general educators need to meet the needs of each student to ensure that all students learn. It is imperative for teachers to create optimal learning opportunies based on research-based instructional practices.

Two teachers, Ms. Thomas (the general educator) and Ms. Merced (the special education teacher), were observed as they planned to co-teach mathematics classes the upcoming school year. The two authors of the article observed the pre-planning and the actual class time the two teachers co-taught. The authors observed, synthesized, and then anaylzed their findings. The article does not specify the grade the two teachers taught nor the school/location.

According to Friend (2005), there are six basic co-teaching structures: 1). One teach, one observe, 2). Team teaching 3). Althernative teaching, 4). Parallel teaching, 5). Station teaching, and, 6). One teach, one drift. Each of these structures are modified depending on the academic subject and grade. Teachers may modify instructional pratices to complement students’ needs and adapt special education research-based pratices from other content areas when teaching mathematics. Teachers may also use general mathemetics education researched-based practices to supplement their classroom needs. Teachers should also incorporate instructional strategies, within different co-teaching sturctures, that have been documented to work with children with disabilites. Some of these pratices include: teacher modeling, providing opportunites for pratice and review, offering immediate and corrective feedback, continuous monitoring of student performace, and promoting the use of dialouge and cooperative learning. The authors’ purpose was accomplished since the article clearly describes co-teaching strategies, based on research, that were found successful in the mathematics classroom. The only limitation to the study was that only two teachers were observed and analzyed using the stratgies. The article did not indicate the grade nor the type of students these teachers were teaching. A more indepth analysis of the actual class would have been interesting.

This article was helpful as a future educator. The strategies discussed are useful if one is lucky enough to work with a co-teacher. Research based strategies are always a reliable resource teachers should pay attention to. One limitation I see to co-teaching is the time it takes to plan between two people. Although allocating time is the biggest challenge to co-teaching, I think it can still be successful if two people are committed to a common goal. Teachers must always implement different teaching structures as they develop collegial relationships. The more comfortable two teachers are with each other, the better their co-teaching will be. Teachers should always be on the lookout for articles as such that explore the latest research-based strategies.