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CoTeaching

Nampa adopts "co-teaching" to support English learners
Posted on 08/22/2016
This is the image for the news article titled Nampa adopts "co-teaching" to support English learnersAfter more than a year of research, the Nampa School District is moving forward with implementation of "co-teaching" to support English Language Learners in the district.

Alx George of the Idaho Press-Tribune wrote about the model on Aug. 20, 2016.  Read her story here:

Nampa to increase co-teaching in schools

By ALX GEORGE ageorge@idahopress.com 
August 20, 2016
Idaho Press-Tribune

NAMPA — Teachers wrapped up training Friday for something new coming to their classrooms this school year.

The Nampa school district is increasing co-teaching this year into several of its classrooms across various schools to provide more support for students who are not native English speakers.

This type of support, done primarily in the classroom, can consist of vocabulary assistance to curriculum comprehension to academic culture and social practices of learning, according to Heidi Rahn, administrator of compensatory services, and Shelley Bonds, director of curriculum and instruction.

 Bonds explained the co-teacher goes in side-by-side with the classroom teacher and helps plan and create strategy to help these students access subject content in a meaningful way. This means they’re not just memorizing and retaining, they’re learning how to learn in English.

 

HOW IT WORKS

 

These students also get tools and strategies for learning across all subject areas, so these students are taught how to ask the teacher a question, look up a word they don’t understand and work on classwork with their peers within the classroom setting in an English Language Arts class. They now can use these same skills to use in learning biology or math.

 

They also learn how to organize their academic thinking, in English. So if they’re drafting a project, they might use something called a thinking map, which is a visual way to put thinking, like a train of thought, on paper then speak about it, Rahn said.

 

Rahn said the goal is to show a student how to be a self-advocate for their learning, meaning they take initiative to get what they need to learn curriculum and interact with teachers, students and administration.

 

“A lot of students don’t ask the question or don’t know that that’s something they need to be asking,” Bonds said. “They assume that doing school means you act like you got it ... but then the evidence is in the outcomes of their learning, that they don’t really have it.”

 

“ … Not only do they not have it for that class but they don’t have it for any class that they’re doing or any other academic learning throughout that day,” Rahn added. “As an English as a Second Language teacher, I’ve seen that (students) start to disengage with what’s happening in the classroom versus excelling.”

 

THE NEED

 

These two women conducted the teacher training sessions this week.

 

The district is increasing co-teaching because a curriculum audit for the 2014-15 school year identified teaching English as a Second Language students as a weak point.

 

About 8 percent of the Nampa school district student body are English as a Second Language students.

 

“We don’t have a solid model of getting our kids into each next level of language where they are proficient so they can exit out and be a successful student for the long haul, post-high school education,” Bonds said.

 

Bonds added that another intent of incorporating co-teaching is to also build the skill knowledge of teachers. Twelve teachers are going through English as a Second Language endorsement training right now to be certified in that area.

 

With co-teaching, it can be difficult to tell which teacher is the classroom teacher and which is the co-teacher, or the English as a Second Language specialist.

 

Right now, Columbia High School has co-teaching in science and English Language Arts; Skyview uses co-teaching in math. Both are in their second or third year of utilizing co-teaching, according to Bonds.

 

“The model of co-teaching won’t look a whole lot different in any content (like math or English Language Arts) whether it be elementary, middle or high,” Bonds said.

 

Alx George is the IPT education reporter. Contact her at 465-8178 or ageorge@idahopress.com. Follow @missalxgeorge.