DOTHAN—The College of Education at Troy University’s Dothan Campus is providing professional development on collaborative teaching for Wiregrass-area school administrators thanks to a grant from the Alabama Department of Education.
Local middle school and high school principals have taken part in two training sessions at the Dothan Campus this year, on July 21 and on Nov. 4. A third session is scheduled for January and the training will be ongoing through the next year.
The Dothan Campus was awarded the state education grant in May.
The training sessions aim to familiarize school leaders with collaborative, or co-teaching, models for educating students with disabilities in inclusive classrooms. In an inclusive classroom, students with disabilities are taught alongside their peers in a regular classroom setting.
Several local schools are already using co-teaching approaches in inclusive classrooms, said Dr. Victoria Morin, College of Education professor.
“At Girard Elementary School and Hidden Lake Elementary School, special education teachers regularly co-plan and co-teach with general education teachers to meet the needs of all learners in inclusive classrooms,” Morin said. “Beverlye Middle School and Northview High School teachers also are collaborating to help students meet the unique curriculum demands at the secondary level.”
The training provided at the Dothan Campus will prepare the principals to support teachers who want to employ a collaborative teaching model in their classrooms, said Dr. Robin Bynum, Associate Dean of the College of Education.
“School administrators can provide the necessary logistical support for co-teaching if they understand how to allocate resources and create schedules that allow teachers time to plan, implement and reflect on their instruction,” Bynum said.
“To effectively support teachers using co-teaching models in their classrooms, administrators need to be aware of the various approaches to co-teaching, and administrators can be instrumental in creating collaborative environments and providing critical support to teachers who are motivated to experiment with different co-teaching approaches,” Morin said.