Collaborative co-teaching of Numeracy and Literacy as a key to inclusion in an independent school
Inclusion of learners with diverse needs implies a shift from a medical deficit model of disability to a social systems model. The latter does not view these learners as a problem; instead the environment or society’s response to these individuals is viewed as a barrier to learning. I focus on collaborative coteaching as a key to inclusion. Collaborative co-teaching requires the learning support teacher and the general education teacher to partner in all aspects of instruction. The outcome of collaborative co-teaching includes effective instruction, a cohesive, accepting class community, positive learner development and the professional and personal growth of the learning support teacher and the general education teacher. A literature review provided the background to an empirical inquiry using a qualitative approach. Data were collected from a small group of participants by interviews, observations and documents and inductively analysed. The study shows that if the learning support teacher responds to learners’ behaviour within the framework of inclusive practices, the positive effects of the teacher’s work and interactions may be far-reaching. Learning support teachers have an important role to play in accommodating and ensuring the integration of learners with diverse needs.
Keywords: collaborative co-teaching; Foundation Phase Literacy; Foundation Phase Numeracy; inclusion; integration of learners with diverse needs; independent school; learning support teacher