Using Lesson Study to Develop More Collaborative Relationships Between General Educators and Special Educators

Special education students often receive services through a resource model, in which the special educator provides support to students by pulling them out of class for remedial instruction or by pushing in to support individual students with classroom work. While this model provides some support to students, it does not provide them with full access to a coherent curriculum. To achieve this coherence, general education teachers and special education teachers must work together to collaboratively assess, plan for instruction, and teach. This action research project sought to increase collaboration between general education and special education teachers through an inquiry group lesson study process. The group, made up of six general education teachers and two special education teachers, collaboratively designed and implemented three co-­‐taught CCSS math lessons. Each lesson study cycle consisted of planning meetings, a lesson observation, and a debrief meeting, for a total of 10 sessions. Data collected included pre-­‐ and post-­‐surveys, meeting notes, transcripts of inquiry group meetings, and observation notes from the collaboratively designed lessons. All participants exhibited positive feelings towards the potential of co-­‐teaching and collaborative planning, and some began to test out new instructional moves in their classrooms. However, the group had difficulty moving beyond already established practices, and many participants identified institutional factors that are currently preventing them from implementing a more collaborative model for serving special education students.

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