In most districts the current model of support for students with extra learning challenges are often pulled out of the classroom to work with another educator to remediate skills. These educators advocate for an in-class model of support. They share the benefits they’ve experienced by supporting all students in the classroom.
Dr Jennifer Katz, University of Manitoba
We also know that co-teaching supports kids, and certainly the push in services as opposed to the pull out services, because on every level the research is telling us the pull out is detrimental. It’s detrimental to the kids, it’s detrimental to the teachers because it isolates everybody, economically, it’s costing us millions. And you know we are literally bankrupting our system with all the pull-out. And there’s a couple of school divisions, big urban school divisions in this country, who are on the brink of bankruptcy because of that. Because as soon as you send kids out, you send dollars out. Whereas if you bring everybody in, you also bring the money in. All the resources are in that classroom serving all those kids. It’s a much more efficient system. So on every level, in terms of academic outcomes, in terms of social and emotional outcomes for both kids and teachers, and on an economic level, push-in, inclusive services with teams of, not just teachers, but the OT, the PT, the guidance counsellor, everybody working together. We need to be a team that there’s these 30 kids, who needs what? And who can best support that? Then we get a really rich learning community.
Nancy Snowden, Birchland Elementary
It really has changed in the last six years. Where most of our support used to be pullout, now most of it is within the classroom. I love being in the classroom, sometimes I do the teaching, sometimes they do the teaching, and I support, I still do a little bit of pullout, we do pullout with some of our grade threes that we really feel need a boost, and I do pullout with children who are having difficulties on a specific skill. So that changes. It might be a group of three or four students who have not passed a math test, who need a review of it so they can re-take the test. Sometimes they’re identified students, sometimes they’re not. So it’s ever changing.
Christine Danroth, Pineridge Elementary
I think it’s a huge difference for them in terms of, we’re not isolating them and taking them out of the classroom. Some kids like to come out of the classroom and do different things but I think when you tell a child that they need to come outside of a classroom to complete their learning, there’s a stigma attached to that, and as they get older, it maybe becomes embarrassment. I know that I’ve talked to some of my peers about you know when they’ve had trouble going through school and learning and when they had to be pulled out and how they felt about it, and it was always a negative feeling. So I think it’s more inclusive, I think they feel better, they’re happier, and I think if I came to the door and took kids out their response would be [sigh], I have to leave and now I have to go and instead, I come in the classroom, I greet them, they greet me, everyone’s happy, and we just sit down and do our job.
Lindsey Hamilton, Black Mountain Elementary
I think that if you walk into my classroom I don’t think you could point out who has a learning disability, I don’t think that that’s a real obvious part of my classroom, and I always want to make sure that, I think that when you pull kids out or you single them out, or you have them sit at a table with you that it affects their self esteem, and then they therefore just feel like they’re not good at it, and I think sometimes that feeling of just feeling like you’re good at it and you know what you’re doing and you’re just like everybody else helps you learn.
Well there’s two boys that definitely have struggled in the past, I think, were pulled out of the classroom all the time, and they would go for learning assistance time. Which is great and sometimes you need that one on one, but I try and provide that in a different way, so that they stay in a classroom. And it’s neat now to see them, because like their self esteem is becoming stronger, and you can see them trying things that they wouldn’t normally try before and they’re not afraid to get the wrong answer, they don’t have that sort of fear of, what is everybody going to think of this, they read the same books, they look at the same, so I just think that that part of the self esteem, that part of the whole person is really important to the classroom.
Nancy Snowden, Birchland Elementary
They’re so confident. That’s what I notice the big difference, is the confidence in them. They feel like they are part of the classroom, they can access the curriculum with a little bit of help, sometimes it’s with the computer, sometimes it’s the way that the lessons are presented, but we have students, who don’t, they don’t even know that they’re identified students. There’s no need to tell them that, and they act with confidence, they make the progress that we would expect them to make. I think it’s because they’re being successful in the classroom. They’re able to work and access the curriculum and they are seeing themselves as successful learners. One of the students that we had last year who is identified who does not know that she is identified, was in our public speaking contest. And she stood up in front of the whole school and gave her speech. And did an absolutely marvelous job. She stood up there with poise, she stood up there with confidence, we wouldn’t have seen that five years ago at this school.