Exploring Primary Teachers’ Views of Co-teaching for Pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN) in Multi-grade Classrooms
Keywords:Models of Co-Teaching, Special Educational Needs, SEN, Multi-Grade Classrooms, Teaching Approaches, Collaboration
This study focused on primary teachers’ (multi-grade, mainstream and support teachers) views of co-teaching approaches in addressing the learning needs of pupils with special educational needs (SEN) in multigrade classrooms in Irish primary schools. Multi-grade classes are a common feature in Ireland where currently, there are 3,124 mainstream primary schools with over 1,700 schools having multi-classes (Department of Education and Skills (DES), 2016). A case study incorporating a mixed methods approach was chosen using self-administered questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The findings indicated that while teachers believed the learning needs of pupils with SEN could be met through coteaching approaches, the withdrawal of pupils for supplementary support remained the dominant approach. Teachers indicated that they would prefer a combination of withdrawal and in-class support as opposed to choosing one approach over the other. Teachers referred to both the benefits and challenges posed by co-teaching in delivering instruction for pupils with SEN. The data demonstrated that station teaching was the most common form of co-teaching in multi-grade classrooms.
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