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Co-teaching empowers inclusive education, Finland

In the video the members of the co-teaching team in Kempele Kirkonkylä School talk about their co-operation during school year 2016 – 2017. Topics are such as size of their team and resources, the prerequisites for co-teaching, the roles of the school assistants, the special education teacher and the principal, the effect of co-teaching on the school climate and co-operation with the pupils´ therapists.

Why do we co-teach and what does it require?

Our aim is to provide the best possible learning environment for our pupils. When implementing co-teaching, all our 60 pupils get equal guidance and equal opportunities for learning. We share the vision of the school staff being here exclusively for pupils, the pupils are the reason we come to work every day.

Co-teaching requires determination to plan and work together, involvement and flexibility. We use all models of co-teaching. The permanent level grouping is not used in our school. As professionals we must have co-operation skills, be able to take responsibility and share mutual understanding and the goals of our work.

Our principal reserves a window in the time-schedule for educational planning every week for the teachers and teaching assistants. The planning takes place every second Thursday after 2 p.m. for approximately two hours. This is the time when all the teachers participate in the planning, more planning is then carried out at different times.

What do we get?

When working together we share the workload, which is empowering.  Co-teaching improves the school climate and the closeness of our school community. Parental involvement is highly valued, we listen to the parents and take their ideas seriously.

For us, co-teaching appeared to be a way of making an inclusive school, where the needs of all learners are met. We can work proactively with potential problems, we can plan more creative lessons and we can share the knowledge provided by special education teachers and the therapists of the pupils.

Written by

Eija Häyrynen
Consulting teacher
Valteri Centre for Learning and Consulting