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Collaboration in Special Educational Process

Collaboration is an integral part of an effective educational process. Collaborative processes help teachers improve students’ outcomes and arouse their interest in learning. According to Friend and Cook (2017), “interpersonal collaboration is a style for direct interaction between at least two coequal parties voluntarily engaged in shared decision making as they work toward a common goal” (p. 5). One can see that collaboration is a style of communication that involves two or more parties, like, for example, a teacher, students, and their parents. To attain success in students’ learning outcomes, educators should collaborate with other professionals, students, and families.

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Using Collaboration in My Classroom

Collaboration is an essential part of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for special education. As I think of my daily interactions with the students and colleagues in my classroom, I realize that I always wait for feedback from my instructional assistants. At the end of the working day, my instructional assistants and I debrief each other about the daily learning outcomes and students’ successes or failures. Such short meetings allow me to plan my next lessons and choose proper educational strategies to teach my students. Co-teaching is another collaborative strategy used in special education. I invite para-professionals as co-teachers. A teacher explains the necessary concept to the para-professionals, and they practice this skill later with students in small groups.

When thinking about collaboration with my students, I can say that I would use several strategies to encourage collaborative learning within a classroom. Thus, group work is of high importance for students’ collaboration. Well-structured group work and inclusion in education positively impact students’ learning outcomes, helping them engage with what is learned and taught. When students feel that they are interdependent and their results depend on their classmates, they begin to interact and communicate more actively, thus advancing their prosocial behavior. In such a way, I would achieve the best educational outcomes for my students.

Collaboration and Transition Planning

Transition planning is a process for helping students with IEP to discover what they want to do after school and how they can attain that goal. The collaboration will positively impact my transition planning with my students because it will involve different professionals in the students’ educational processes. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that transition planning for students with disabilities begins when they are 16, but some states begin this process earlier (Friend & Cook, 2017). Such collaboration strategies as Conjoint Behavioral Consultation (CBC) and family-school partnerships may help to improve students’ achievements in their transition planning (Friend & Cook, 2017). CBC will improve the parent-teacher interaction and build “positive school-home relationships” (Friend & Cook, 2017, p. 194). The family-school partnership will also help students achieve success in education and find out their life goals.

The Ways I Would Utilize Collaborative Strategies

In my classroom, I would utilize several collaborative learning strategies to support working with other professionals, families, and children of diverse origins. First, I would encourage active learning through group work and discussions, case-based learning, and demonstrations. I would also embrace small learning stations in a classroom to encourage students to work in mixed-ability groups. This activity would help students address their knowledge gaps and promote collaboration. Consultation is another collaborative strategy that allows working with parents and families. Complex learning activities, based on style but not on ability, would also be helpful. I also need to be aware of my own cultural background and biases. I will have to ensure that my cultural biases will not influence my attitude toward diverse students. Cultural sensitivity is essential for collaborative work.

Ways of Addressing Political Constraints

Diversity is an important aspect of the public school system. The first way to address this diversity is to create school committees that would keep everyone informed about who they are as a whole and what each member of the school community represents. Public schools should support the principles of multiculturalism and multicultural education and promote equal rights and responsibilities (Friend & Cook, 2017). Every group must have a voice inside and outside their classroom. Assemblies can capture the inclusive students’ voices and ensure that they will be heard.

The second way to address diversity is to transform general and special education. Public schools should invite different professionals with various professional backgrounds, skills, knowledge, and experience to move towards inclusive education. Such a cross-professional collaboration will help develop inclusive schools in direct and indirect forms. For example, a specialist might work directly with a child or consult a teacher, working indirectly with the learner. Cross-professional collaboration is the key strategy needed to attain diversity and inclusiveness.

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New Focus for My Collaborative Work

After analyzing my work during this course and reviewing all learning materials, I can identify the new focus for my collaborative work beyond this course. I will focus on cross-professional collaboration and group activities in my classroom. Communication with other professionals is of high importance in special education. If a teacher cannot find an approach to a special child, they will ask a professional to assist and consult them in this process. Moreover, group activities, based on different learning styles, will be useful for my career. Such activities help engage diverse students in the educational process and allow them to attain their shared goals more effectively. These strategies will help me become a high-skilled professional in special education and bring new career opportunities in the future.

Reference

Friend, M., & Cook, L. (2017). Interactions: Collaboration skills for school professionals (8th ed.). Pearson.

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