December 3

Chapter 3-Supporting Inclusion in the Classroom

Supporting inclusion in the classroom is super important.  It can be done in numerous ways- with the support of other teachers, paraprofessionals, family volunteers and peers. Having the ability to collaborate with another teacher would be absolutely wonderful-seemingly a pipedream in my school. There are so many opportunities that are missed because we do not have ample time to collaborate with each other.

 

The EAs in my school are scheduled into classes and then either given information and a program by me or the classroom teacher. Again, we do not have much time to collaborate, as they are scheduled from 9-3 and very rarely do they stick around outside those hours. They also do not attend the staff meetings, making it even more difficult for them to get the needed information.

 

Social-emotional development seems to be a much needed piece in our system today. We are seeing huge numbers of students coming without manners or knowing how to interact with their peers.

 

Does your school have opportunities to collaborate with each other on a regular basis? How is this scheduled?

What do you notice about the social emotional development of your students- have they changed over the years?

 

 

 


Posted December 3, 2018 by tiebcmembers in category Inclusion in Action

13 thoughts on “Chapter 3-Supporting Inclusion in the Classroom

  1. Vanessa

    When my daughter was born, we volunteered to be part of the Roots of Empathy program. It was a fun experience for us and the Grade 1 class we visited.
    At our school, we have the Big Buddies program. It’s been great to see the different grades interacting and forming relationships. My daughter, who is now in Grade 2, still plays with her big buddy from kindergarten and Grade 1.
    I am also a big fan of Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking curriculum. Since last year, I started running Social Thinking groups using the WeThinkers curriculum. In about 40 min sessions of about 8 students, we read the story and then play games and watch video clips that teach about empathy, perspective taking and emotional regulation. It’s been a successful program and I really enjoy running the groups. This is currently for students in Grade 1-3 and I am hoping to run a similar program for middle school students. Can anyone recommend a good social emotional development curriculum for older students? I haven’t hear of The Leader in Me program or the Tribes Learning Communities program. Does anyone use that in their schools?

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      I wish I could help you! We use the Spotlight on Social Skills program which is not the best but works 🙂 sounds like you have a great program going. I have a large number of students who would benefit from a program like this. The students I am currently working with have major behaviours such that more than 1 other student does not work for them.

      Reply
    2. Carla Lowther

      Tribes has been used in SD#60 for years. In fact, the teacher training program run at the local college used to teach it religiously, and those in training HAD to use it whether they believed in it or not. Right now (2018/19) our district has a Aboriginal Dept presenting it in stages throughout the year on specific Pro-D/NID days. People had to sign up for it in Sept and commit to the entire year. Those who use it here really like it.

      Reply
  2. Ann Pimentel

    One quote that profoundly made me reflect was ‘There is a fine line that exists concerning how much assistance and guidance the students needs, and too much or too litter can limit a student’s growth’ (page 26). This is definitely a fine line and from my experience I have realised that the line is different everyone involved in supporting a child. We want to empower students yet give them scaffolding where they can say at the end of a task, “I did it!” We want them to know their true potential and be able to say clearly, “I can do this by myself now.” Student voice is so important in finding this line… we need to talk to our students (if possible) and here their voice on where the ‘line’ is.

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      So true! I have also learned that in order for students to actually learn, they need to struggle an appropriate amount, not to frustration levels, but enough that they are learning through their struggles.

      Reply
  3. Debra Swain

    I felt validated when I read the paragraph on page 24 about a method of team teaching math. I had the opportunity to teach math this way. I had the chance to explore the grade three math curriculum and adapt for a group of grade 3 students. The students were engaged in the hands on activities and I could assess what they were learning. I found it a positive professional experience.

    I also found the six different models of co-teaching on page 25 was a clear summary of methods.

    The ideas for creating positive working relationships with paraprofessionals we’re helpful. It points out the necessity of having time to collaborate.

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      Co-teaching is great when it works! I have a couple of teachers with whom I can easily co-teach, and others with whom it is just not possible. I do so enjoy teaching in collaboration with these colleagues, I just wish we had more time to collaborate so that these lessons are not just fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants opportunities!

      Reply
      1. Carla Lowther

        I agree with everything both of you have just said. What frustrates me most is that like Sarah has said, sometimes it is just NOT possible to co-teach with some of our colleagues. In fact, sometimes some adults in a school struggle just to be in the same room with each other (like at a meeting/in-service, etc.) B/c I have personally experienced this (and yes, I have asked myself how much of it is my fault…) I can’t help but feel for students who feel the exact same way about someone they are forced to be in a classroom with for ten months in a row and then have to pray they don’t get in the same classroom the next year. With regards to collaboration, that costs money, plain and simple. And when we don’t get enough moolah to cover the basics for even “old school” (not inclusive) teaching, how can we do stuff that requires even more? SIGH…

        Reply
  4. Heather

    In the past few years, my school has been attempting to become more collaborative. Within the timetable, we have a set collaboration time, every Wednesday from 2:00-3:00, teachers and EAs are provided the time to get together to collaborate. It’s great to see some of the teachers gathering but it is often for meetings. EAs use this time to organize their materials, and then there are some teachers who leave. It’s a shame that we are given this time during the week to collaborate but it has turned into an extra prep time, parent meetings or when dept. meetings occur. The original idea was for us to sit down with each other and take the time to work together on the new curriculum and meeting the needs of all our learners. There is so little time during our week, that despite our best intentions we’ve not used this time as opportunities to grow in our profession and work together. Perhaps if we did, we would find that inclusion would be easier to achieve. A few teachers have decided that this year, we would purposefully sit down every Wednesday and work together to create curriculum that’s fits the needs of all our learners. There are only 5 of us, but we are being noticed within the school community and there is interest in what we are doing. Perhaps in the future more will join. It takes only a few to start a change in culture.

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      Collaboration time is something that my staff would love to have included in our days. In the past, our admin has attempted to give us this time but it has not been effective. The first time, we were given a strict topic on which to collaborate, which was not beneficial to us at all. The second time, there were always interruptions and nothing was scheduled so it ended up going for nought. It would be so excellent to be able to have scheduled meeting times to support the inclusion of my students but alas, I will keep dreaming!

      Reply
  5. Carla Lowther

    I was very intrigued by the author’s comments that co-teachers (including the Learning Assistance teachers and resources teachers as Sarah mentioned in a post in Ch 2) and paraprofessionals have “specialized training”. That is definitely NOT true in my district. On the rare occasion, people have some training in these specialized areas before being assigned to them. But in most cases, it is teachers who have been in the classroom who have decided they would like to try something else who are in these positions, like my teaching partner and I for the last four years. Or teachers fresh out of university who will take whatever they are offered b/c they want a job. Our district CAN be good about providing support for people new in those positions, but it does not always happen automatically. For instance, I was an LAT for over a year before I was invited to LAT meetings and got appropriate emails. (My job title wasn’t LAT but that is the job I was doing.) It wasn’t until I had been in the position for over a year that I was taught how to do specific testing for students that we felt should be tested by a psychologist. I was not taught how to do an IEP until I had been in the job for 1 year and 8 months. So I feel that her def’n of ‘co-educators’ I will call them, is not completely relevant. And with the shortage of teachers across the province, I bet we aren’t the only district like this in BC.

    Reply
    1. tiebcmembers (Post author)

      In my district as well, many of the EAs are parents of kids who were stay at home moms looking to stay close to their children by working at their schools. They might get some training along the way, but most of it is after the fact of being hired for positions. The same can be said for LARTs in our district. They are new, fresh out of school teachers who take positions because they need a job. They are required to be enrolled in a Level B tessting course, and maybe another Spec. Ed course of sorts but this is not overly helpful when they encounter some of our “high fliers”. These members of staff often lack the experience and skill set necessary to do the highly demanding jobs of an EA or an LART.

      Reply
  6. LeAnn

    Supporting inclusion in the classroom looks so different for each student, and in each classroom. As stated by Eredics, “this is accomplished through establishing a strength-based classroom; cultivating a climate of acceptance; and supporting students’ social-emotional development, et al.” This was so evident to me recently when I had a student of mine with autism attend her Grade 9 Drama option, being instructed by the principal, and with an EA as support. My student sabotaged each cooperative game that was being played because she did not understand all the rules, nor how to reciprocate according to the various situations. The adults in the room were not able to respond quickly enough to each situation and were taken by surprise each time. I had to join them for a few classes to observe the class and behaviours, and then role play each game with my student prior to each game. This allowed her to get a better understanding of the game and rules. What I also needed to do, was talk to the class to get their support in helping their classmate during the games, rather than rely on the adults. This made a huge impact on the rest of the term with this student, in that, peers were feeling more comfortable in sharing and cooperating ways to help my student. Her stimming slowed down, as they now knew this was from excitement or stress (just as they had their own stresses for each new game), they gave her more processing time when she was the chosen one and gave her some roles in which she would feel comfortable and safe.
    It is important for all members in the class to help support students, from administrators, EAs, and students, and this was evident in this situation. All students can learn to work and play with others, if given the opportunity, and this is only possible through inclusion. Without inclusion, my student would not likely be enrolled in the Drama option where she can continue to learn valuable social skills, and reciprocal turn taking and cooperation. It is through these experiences where respect can acceptance can be modeled in a positive manner.

    Reply

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