Building cooperative partnerships by Stuart A. Gerber with Janet Fedorenko
The art teacher is still a lone ranger outside the collaborative round, even in an environment where special educators and classroom teachers plan, direct, and team together. A collaborative process should link a set of activities, from observation, sharing ideas and materials, to joint planning and joint training.
The isolation of art teachers is unfortunate, with educational writers and organizations continuing to advocate for collaboration.
Adjustments and corrections require extensive individual training. Therefore, collaboration between homeroom teachers and support staff has been increasingly emphasized to implement all of these adjustments along with inclusion.
Lack of Cooperative Participation Cooperation is critical for effective school integration. However, art teachers often work independently of special education and collaborative processes to teach students with special education needs.
Arts teachers pay little attention to the support needs of students with disabilities in their classrooms and often express concerns about the lack of resources available to prepare arts teachers to work with students with disabilities. (p. 46)
To understand the concerns of art teachers in teaching students with disabilities, simply look at a few real-life examples of students assigned to art classes. 'A sophomore boy with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is chronically distracted and hyperactive in art class, frequently babbling, and unable to sit. He needs a closely monitored behavior management plan. A high school girl with Down syndrome and moderate intellectual disability is deaf and has severe limitations in her verbal communication. She needs alternative communication and personalized art experiences.
In each case, art teachers were not trained or instructed to work with these students. Moreover, they are not teamed with special educators or other support staff in planning or training. Unfortunately, the lack of support and collaborative participation available to these art teachers is not uncommon. Art teachers rarely participate in the school's special education process, especially the Planning and Placement Team (PPT).
This team is mandated by the federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Haager & Klingner, 2005; Schumm, Vaughn, & Leavell, 1994; Vallecorsa, deBettencourt, & Zigmond, 2000). The PPT, which includes teachers, professionals, administrators, and parents, evaluates special education recommendations and develops and monitors an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for each student designated for service. The IEP itemizes a student's educational goals, procedures, and providers (Drasgow, Yell, & Robinson, 2001; Huefner, 2000; Salend, 2005). Participation in the PPT, or at least access to IEP information, is important for all teachers working with the referred student. However, most art teachers do not participate in this course. 60% of art professionals (2 out of 3) have never participated in the development of a student's IEP (italics added).
Art teachers work primarily with general education class groups. Therefore, they will not have the expertise to teach students with disabilities and modify classes. They may not know what support to turn to special educators and clinical professionals, and may not have experience in collaborative approaches. Special educators and education professionals, on the other hand, focus on coordination, correction, and correction with individual students and small groups. Special educators may not realize how art can help students with disabilities express themselves, make choices, solve problems, build skills, and gain self-esteem. Differences in professional focus and culture can make these educators unfamiliar with each other's work and the potential benefits of collaboration.
Art teachers should be ready to reach out for collaborative partnerships because others won't necessarily.
In recent years, it has become a buzzword for these kinds of collaborations: conferences, conferences, committees, teams, and programs. But collaboration is more than just working together. As Friend and Cook (2007) described, collaboration is a specific style of work that includes “direct interaction between at least two equal parties who voluntarily engage in shared decision-making when working toward a common goal” (p. 5).
sharing information. By sharing information, teachers exchange news, views, concerns, observations, ideas, and insights about students and classes. Information sharing is informal exchange, usually in hallways, between classes, before or after school, at a convenient time and place during free time or breaks. Nevertheless, this is professional communication, not gossip, and should be shared clearly, focused and objectively, as Friend & Cook (2003) noted. As Gerber (2001-2002) points out, art teachers are particularly well positioned to observe students' concerns. "We see things that other teachers don't see," said Mary, a middle school art teacher. "Art classes are open and comfortable, conversational and emotional." In such an atmosphere, students can express early warning signs of social and emotional problems.
Coordinated behavior management provides students with expectations and procedures consistent with a variety of teachers. Consistency is especially important for students who lack self-discipline and self-control.
For example, when coordinating classroom management, art teachers and special educators provided continuity with the same rules and reward systems to reinforce desirable behaviors. Coordination includes discussion and synchronization of educational activities. A three-step planning process is recommended to accommodate classes that include students with special needs.
1. The teacher discusses the lessons and topics they want to coordinate with the shared student.
2. The teacher reviews the learning or behavioral impairment of a student with special needs. Adjust educational strategies or behavioral management with these students in mind.
3. After adjusting the class or classroom management, the teacher reviews the results and considers the possibility of further planning.
joint planning. Co-planning goes beyond coordination to co-education. Teachers jointly plan lessons or behavior management strategies that they implement together or separately.
In joint planning with special educators, art teachers can infuse and enrich their education with artistic concepts and experiences.
In co-education, Fedorenko, Jancy and Noreen energized each other as well as students by sharing educational responsibilities to combine art and math to provide high student-teacher engagement. Fedorenko (1997)'s description of this class conveys the fluidity of the co-teacher role and the enthusiasm of teachers and students. 'The first lecture was thrilling. Jancy and I were worried about our first art discussion and encouraged Noreen to be active participants during this discussion. Here are some art images we have chosen. Photos of dogs by William Wegman; Collage by Romare Bearden; 3D Artwork The Door, David H amm on s ; Installation art photo by Sandy Skoglund; And a mural by Diego Rivera. Noreen helped us design a bulletin board in front of the room to display a curated array of unusual artistic images. As soon as the students entered the classroom excitedly, they were mesmerized by the art reproductions we displayed. They laughed at Wegman's dog and went closer to our exhibition to see all the art images. Noreen joined the students on these early observations and explained that Jancy would teach them more about the work. After the students reluctantly took their seats around the table, Jancy started a discussion of some of the pieces, encouraging the students to identify and describe what they saw. She introduced the colors, shapes, textures and elements of the subject in each image, and solicited observations and comments from students. The students' comments included "Some colors the artist used make me sad." And "I don't think the artwork is very pretty, but it must have taken a long time to make." She helped students interpret the meaning of a piece of art using these descriptors and asked them to consider whether they thought it was art or not... Jancy divided the class into small groups. Each piece was assigned a piece of art to discuss, focusing on the craftsmanship of the piece, the amount of time it was expected to take to make the piece, and the artist's overall idea of creativity. She asked them to assign a net worth to the work by giving the work on each of these aspects a monetary value and adding all the monetary values together. Noreen sat down with a group of students to help make decisions. I stepped away from my role as an observer and became an active member of the group, seated at the table with my students. The roles each of us had in this first lesson were blurred, and a role reversal began to take place in the co-educational process... [A class discussion follows about the monetary value of painting.] Noreen believes in students' ability to express ideas. He seemed to be enthusiastic. She was amazed at how well she supported her own decisions with her concrete examples... With regards to mathematical concepts, they successfully summed up monetary values and developed strong arguments to support these assigned values. .
'I can't believe they have such a good reason why they think something is art,' she said. They thought deeply about why some art was more valuable to them, and they all had different ideas and reasons. (pp. 12-13) Other teachers observed and helped while Jancy was explaining her class. Teachers then each have different roles and responsibilities as the class progresses with small groups of students.
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