Reviewed by Ann Rubino
Adjunct, Lewis University College of Education
The trend toward inclusion coupled with an emphasis on testing creates a challenge for teachers. Often the proposed solution is a team-teaching assignment. Reactions to this assignment range from elation to despair. Many teachers have a deep-seated sense of privacy; their classroom is their realm, and they have not been coached in the skills through which two professionals can share their expertise.
Team Teaching Science can do much to push the needle toward the “elation” area on the dial. The authors are experienced with the challenges of creating effective team-taught classrooms. They methodically explain science best practice in the inclusion classroom as well as special needs best practice. In addition, there are specific models of teacher meetings that can help bridge the gap between teachers with very different backgrounds, experience, and knowledge.
The early chapters cover the basics—instructional strategies such as mnemonics, unit planning (UbD), rubrics, and testing—giving teachers from different fields a common knowledge bank. Excellent resources are listed in fact boxes in each section, so there’s no need to pore through appendices. Chapter four digs into the actual performance of teams. How do teams plan together? Who gets which responsibility? What about discipline? How do teams make a schedule? Specific checklists for these and other interpersonal issues can be very helpful.
Three subsequent chapters focus on three main grade levels—elementary, middle school, and high school—covering particular issues related to complexity of subject matter and developmental levels. A game plan for one full year takes up the next chapter, again with specific planning issues clearly laid out. There is a chapter on special needs students in advanced classes and finally a chapter on working together, in general.
A colleague, a professor of special education, read the book as well and gave me feedback from her specialty perspective. She said, “I cannot speak to the science side, but from a co-teaching perspective, this book incorporates the best practice for working collaboratively in the classroom. The team and co-teaching content is applicable to all content disciplines.” I concur.
Review posted on 7/20/2011