Unit 5: Teaching strategies for students with SLD

5.1 Strategies for teaching reading and comprehension: Multisensory teaching (e.g., Orton - Gillingham method, Fernald method), spelling rules, error analysis

5.2.  Strategies for teaching handwriting (adaptations), spelling (phonics and spelling rules) and written expression (grammar, ideation, language usage)

5.3.  Strategies for teaching math (number facts, computation, application)

5.4.  Strategies to develop Metacognition

5.5.  Peer-tutoring, co-operative learning, Co-teaching strategies












5.1         Strategies for teaching reading and comprehension: Multisensory teaching (e.g., Orton - Gillingham method, Fernald method), spelling rules, error analysis


Literacy teaching and learning are core responsibilities of teachers and schools. Yet teaching reading and writing is a complex and highly skilled professional activity. Many young learners start school with little knowledge about how to read and write. Teachers are tasked with helping children to bridge the significant gap between linking their written and spoken language. Learning to read is critical, with research showing that reading for pleasure can:

Teaching reading is an evolving and non-linear process that works differently for each young student. The programmes of study for reading at key stages 1 and 2 include word reading and comprehension (both listening and reading). Early primary teachers are tasked with developing competence in both dimensions. Teaching reading will involve teaching letters, sounds and vocabulary, but beyond this, it will also involve strategies such as guided reading and building background knowledge.

Multisensory teaching (e.g., Orton - Gillingham method, Fernald method)

Orton - Gillingham method

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is a direct, explicit, multisensory, structured, sequential, diagnostic, and prescriptive way to teach literacy when reading, writing, and spelling does not come easily to individuals, such as those with dyslexia.  It is most properly understood and practiced as an approach, not a method, program, or system. In the hands of a well-trained and experienced instructor, it is a powerful tool of exceptional breadth, depth, and flexibility.

The essential curricular content and instructional practices that characterize the Orton-Gillingham Approach are derived from two sources: first from a body of time-tested knowledge and practice that has been validated over the past 80 years, and second from scientific evidence about how individuals learn to read and write; why a significant number have difficulty in doing so; how having dyslexia makes achieving literacy skills more difficult; and which instructional practices are best suited for teaching such individuals to read and write.

The Approach is so named because of the foundational and seminal contributions of Samuel T. Orton and Anna Gillingham. Samuel Torrey Orton (1879-1948) was a neuropsychiatrist and pathologist. He was a pioneer in focusing attention on reading failure and related language processing difficulties. He brought together neuroscientific information and principles of remediation. As early as 1925 he had identified the syndrome of dyslexia as an educational problem. Anna Gillingham (1878-1963) was a gifted educator and psychologist with a superb mastery of the language. Encouraged by Dr. Orton, she compiled and published instructional materials as early as the 1930s which provided the foundation for student instruction and teacher training in what became known as the Orton-Gillingham Approach.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach is most often associated with a one-on-one teacher-student instructional model. Its use in small group instruction is not uncommon. A successful adaptation of the Approach has demonstrated its value for classroom instruction. Reading, spelling and writing difficulties have been the dominant focus of the Approach although it has been successfully adapted for use with students who exhibit difficulty with mathematics.

The Orton-Gillingham Approach always is focused upon the learning needs of the individual student. Orton-Gillingham (OG) practitioners design lessons and materials to work with students at the level they present by pacing instruction and the introduction of new materials to their individual strengths and weaknesses. Students with dyslexia need to master the same basic knowledge about language and its relationship to our writing system as any who seek to become competent readers and writers. However, because of their dyslexia, they need more help than most people in sorting, recognizing, and organizing the raw materials of language for thinking and use. Language elements that non-dyslexic learners acquire easily must be taught directly and systematically.

The Principles of the Orton-Gillingham Approach 

Structured: Every lesson in Orton-Gillingham is organized around a consistent set of strategies, activities, and patterns. The student always knows what to expect throughout each lesson. 

Students easily transition from activity to activity since they are familiar with the routine and this creates an anxiety free environment for both the student and the teacher.

Sequential: Each skill is taught in a logical order or sequence. The student starts out learning simple word patterns (CVC) and then progresses gradually step by step to more difficult and complex ideas including vowel patterns, multisyllabic words, spelling rules, affixes, and morphemes. 

Because all the teaching skills are taught from the ground up, the student will never have any reading or spelling gaps in Orton-Gillingham.

Cumulative: Each Orton-Gillingham lesson builds upon itself. The student is taught a skill and doesn’t progress to the next skill until the current lesson is mastered. As students learn new material, they continue to review old material until it is stored in the student’s long term memory. 

Explicit: The teacher is at the center of instruction in an Orton-Gillingham lesson. The instructor teaches the student exactly what they need and never assumes or guesses what the student already knows. Orton-Gillingham uses a lot of continuous student-teacher interaction in each lesson.

Multisensory: In an Orton-Gillingham lesson, the teacher uses the student’s sensory pathways: auditory, visual, and tactile.   

When learning the vowel ‘a’ for example, the student might first look at a picture of an APPLE, then close their eyes and listen to the sound, then trace the letter in the air while speaking aloud. This combination of listening, looking, and moving around creates a lasting impression for the student.

Systematic Phonics: Orton-Gillingham includes systematic phonics, beginning with the alphabetic principles in the initial stages of reading development and advancing to more complex principles as the students progress. Students learn that words are made up of individual speech sounds, and the letters of written words graphically represent each of these speech sounds.  

Fernald method

Grace Fernald was a special educator who worked with struggling learners. She pioneered a new, multisensory approach to teaching spelling called the VAKT technique, which stands for visual-auditory-kinesthetic-tactile. It presents new words to students through all their senses, making it easier for them to understand and remember. Fernald's approach requires individual attention, but it is effective in improving spelling and reading, and it helps struggling learners to keep up with their classmates.

The Fernald Method is a systematic, multisensory instructional approach that incorporates use of the visual, auditory, kinesthetic, and tactile (VAKT) modalities simultaneously. The association of sensory and perceptual cues reinforces the mental image of words as well as the association between printed words and their oral representations.

Use of this approach also improves memory for printed words and word parts. The Fernald Method is intended for individual or small-group instruction.




The Fernald Method improves sight word acquisition and word identification skill in students who have failed to learn to read through other instructional methods or who have particular difficulty learning exception or phonetically irregular words (e.g., once). Using this method, students are expected to retain reading recognition of the words learned.

A different procedure is used to teach the written spelling of words for long-term retrieval.




The Fernald Method consists of four stages through which the student progresses as reading and writing proficiency increase.


Stage I


1. Solicit the student’s interest and involvement. Tell the student that you will be showing him or her a new way to learn words. Explain that while the method requires concentration and effort, it has been successful with students who have had problems remembering words.

2. Select a word to learn. Have the student select a word to learn. Discuss the meaning of the word.

3. Write the word. Sit beside the student and model these steps: (a) say the word, (b) use the word in large manuscript, a crayon or marker to write or cursive (depending upon which the student uses) in a 5'' x 8'' index card, and (c) say the word again as you run your finger underneath the word.

4. Model word tracing for the student. Say: “Watch what I do and listen to what I say.” Use the following steps: (a) say the word; (b) trace the word using one or two fingers, saying each part of the word as you trace it; (c) say the word again while underlining it with the tracing fingers in a fluent motion; and (d) have the student practice tracing until the process is completed correctly.

5. Trace the word until learned. Have the student continue tracing the word until the student is sure he or she can write the word from memory with no errors.

6. Write the word from memory. When the student feels ready, remove the model and have him or her write the word while saying it. If at any point the student makes an error, stop the writing immediately, cover or erase the error, and have the student use the tracing procedure again before proceeding.

7. File the word. After the student has written the word correctly three times without the model, have the student file it alphabetically in a word bank.

8. Type the word. Within 24 hours, type each word the student has learned that day. Reading the typed word will help the student establish the link between handwritten and typed words.


            As soon as a student can write words, begin story writing. The student selects a topic. Have the student trace any words that he or she does not know how to spell. Type the story within 24 hours so that the student has an opportunity to read newly learned words in context.

            Important points. During stage one instruction, observe the following: 


§ Finger contact is important in tracing.

§ After tracing, the student should write the word without looking at the model.

§ The word should always be written as a unit from the beginning. In the case of an error, cover or remove the mistake and start over from the beginning.

§ Always use words in context to provide meaning.

§ Encourage the student to say each part of the word while tracing and writing.


Stage II

During Stage II the student no longer needs to trace words to learn them and the stories increase in length. The student learns a word by looking at it, saying it, and writing it. The teacher writes requested words, saying each part of the word while writing it while the student listens and watches.

The student looks at the word, says the word, and then writes the word without looking at the copy.

            As in Stage 1, select the words to be learned from the stories that the student is writing. Continue to write the learned words.


Stage III

By Stage III the student learns directly from the printed word without having it written. Pronounce the word for the student, have him or her look at the word and pronounce it before writing it. At this stage, introduce books. Select interesting books and tell the student any unknown words. After reading, have the student review and write the new words.


Stage IV

At this stage, the student recognizes known words in print and also begins to notice the similarities between parts of unknown words and known words. The student begins to recognize many new words without being told what they are. Provide enough assistance with unknown words at Stage IV so that reading proceeds smoothly.

            One helpful technique at this stage is to have the student glance over a paragraph and lightly underline any unknown words. Tell the student the words and have the student write them before beginning to read. Using this technique, the student can read the new material smoothly without interruption. 


Spelling rules

Spelling is the ability to make a visual representation of a word. To spell, we need to think about the individual units of sound in a word (phonemes) and then write the letters that represent those sounds (graphemes). 

If you look down this list you will notice these recurring spelling problems:

·       Homophones: Homophones—words that sound the same but are spelled differently—constitute about 20 percent of the misspelled words (e.g., there spelled their).

·       Apostrophes: Words that contain an apostrophe make up about 10 percent of the misspelled words, some of which are also homophones (e.g., you’re spelled yourit’s spelled its).

·       Separation/Joining Errors: Another highly predictable spelling problem involves words that lend themselves to inappropriate separation or joining (e.g., because spelled be causea lot spelled alot).

·       Errors in Compound Words: Another common spelling problem is the misspelling of compound words by wrongly separating them, or less commonly, by wrongly joining an open compound or joining a compound with a hyphen (e.g., outside spelled out sideice cream spelled icecreambaby-sit spelled babysit, etc.).

Words that primary grade students misspell are in many instances the same words intermediate and middle school students continue to misspell. When researchers closely examined the 25 most frequently misspelled words at each grade level they noted a startling amount of overlap across grade levels from one through eight.

At the same time, an examination of a typical spelling curriculum shows that many of these frequently misspelled words are taught fairly early in the spelling curriculum. Unfortunately, many of these words are taught only once within the span of an eight-year spelling curriculum.

Teaching these words one time in a spelling series that covers six or eight grade levels is not adequate for many students to learn these words. Teachers should implement a system for reviewing and recycling these words until students demonstrate mastery. Students should be monitored and held accountable for correctly spelling these words in their daily work. Words that continue to be misspelled should be recycled into the next spelling lesson.

The chart below shows some examples of spelling rules appropriate to teach in the primary grades. As in teaching syllable types or other phonics rules, it is helpful to focus on having children look for patterns in printed words as instead of just reciting the rules. However, we must understand the generalizations, as well as their common exceptions, in order to teach them effectively to children.

Spelling Rule (Generalization)




“Floss” rule for final f, l, s

If a closed syllable ends with an f, l, or s immediately after the short vowel sound, double the final letter.

will, pill, tell, dull, miss, mess, staff, gruff, sniff

The rule also applies to many words ending in /z/ (e.g., jazz, fuzz, buzz), but is less consistent for these words.

Rule for –ck, -tch, -dge

If a closed syllable ends in the sound /k/, /ch/, or /j/ immediately after the short vowel sound, then use     –ck to spell /k/,      -tch to spell /ch/, and –dge to spell /j/

stick, duck, block, deck, snack

hatch, itch, crutch, match

bridge, dodge, grudge, fudge, badge

The rule does not apply unless the relevant sound comes immediately after the short vowel. For example, in desk and task, the /k/ does not come right after the short vowel sound, so these words are spelled with –k, not –ck.

Lunch and branch are spelled with –ch not –tch, for similar reasons.

K rule

Use the letter k, not c, to spell the sound /k/ before the letters e, i, or y.

kit, kept, keep, rake, spoke, spiky, Kyle

must be used instead of because a c before e, i, or would be “soft” and would be pronounced /s/.

Doubling rule

When adding an ending to a closed syllable base word, if the closed syllable ends in just one consonant, double it. Otherwise, just add the ending.

sit, sitting, sitter; plan, planned, planning, planner; fun, funny; sun, sunny

jump, jumped, jumping, jumper; mist, misted, misty; land, landed, landing

This rule only applies to endings that begin with a vowel, such as –ed, -ing, -er,  -est, or –y. If the ending begins with a consonant, such as –ful, -ness, or –ly, the rule does not apply (e.g., glad, gladly, sad, sadness). In this case, you just add the ending.

Dropping silent e

When adding an ending to a silent e base word, drop the silent e before adding the ending.

like, liked, liking; spice, spicy; hope, hoped, hoping; fine, finer, finest, fined

Again, this rule only applies to endings that begin with a vowel, such as –ed, -ing, -er,  -est, or –y. If the ending begins with a consonant, such as –ful, -ness, or –ly, the rule does not apply (e.g., hope, hopeful; like, likeness; late, lately). For these words, keep the e, and add the ending.

Y-to-I rule

When adding an ending to a base word that ends in a y preceded by a consonant, change y to i, then add the ending.

shady, shadiness, shadiest, shadier; happy, happiness, happily; shiny, shininess, shinier; sunny, sunniest; fancy, fanciful

This rule applies even when the ending does not begin with a vowel, as in the case of –ness, -ful, or –ly. However, the base word must end in a y preceded by a consonant; if the final y is preceded by a vowel, the rule does not apply (e.g., joy, joyful; play, playing, playful, played; prey, preying, preyed). Also, the ending –ing is an exception (e.g., fancy, fancying; copy, copying); for these words, just add the ending.

Phonics instruction also teaches spelling patterns and spelling rules. It teaches about parts of words called syllables. Learning common syllable patterns can help people become better readers and spellers.

To thrive in both  reading  and spelling, here are 15 important rules to know.

1. Vowels in syllables: Every syllable of every word must have at least one vowel sound. A vowel can stand alone in a syllable, as in u•nit and an•i•mal. It can also be surrounded by consonants, as in jet, nap•kin, and fan•tas•tic.

2. Short and long vowels: Vowels can make different sounds. The sounds they make depend on where they are in a word. For example, is the vowel followed by a consonant? This helps determine if the vowel makes its short or long sound: go vs. got, she vs. shed, hi vs. him.

When there’s only one vowel in a syllable and it is followed by at least one consonant, the vowel usually makes its short sound. Examples include on, itch, mas•cot, and Wis•con•sin. This pattern is called a “closed syllable” because the consonant “closes in” the short vowel sound.

When there is only one vowel and it is at the end of a syllable, the vowel makes its long sound, as in he and ban•jo. This pattern is called an “open syllable.”

3. Silent e: When is the last letter in a word, and there’s only one other vowel in that syllable, the first vowel in that syllable is usually long and the e is silent, as in sale and in•side. This syllable pattern is called “vowel-consonant-e.”

Some teachers call this the “silent e” rule. Some call it the “magic e” rule. The e gives all its power to the other vowel and makes that vowel use its long sound (“say its name”).

4. Consonant blends and digraphs: Digraph is a fancy word for two letters that represent one sound. In a digraph made of consonants, the two consonants work together to form a new sound. Examples include chap, ship, thin, whiz, and photo. Consonant blends are different. These groups of two or more consonants work together. But unlike digraphs, their individual sounds can still be heard as they’re blended together. Examples include clam, grasp, and scrub.

5. Vowel digraphs: In a vowel digraph, two vowels are side by side. The first vowel is long and says its name. The second vowel is silent, as in boat, paint, and beach.

Sometimes, two vowels work together to form a new sound. This is called a diphthong. Examples include cloud and boil.

6. R-controlled vowels: When a syllable has a vowel that is followed by r, the vowel is “controlled” by the r and makes a new sound. Examples include car, bird, germ, form, and hurt. This rule is sometimes called “bossy r” because the r “bosses” the vowel to make a new sound.

7. The “schwa” sound: Any vowel can make the schwa sound; it sounds like a weak uh or ih. Words like from and final have the schwa sound. Some words have more than one schwa sound, like apartment and banana. It’s the most common sound in the English language.

8. Soft and hard c, and soft and hard g: When the letter c is followed by the vowels ei, or y, it usually makes its soft sound. Examples of that are cent, circus, and cyclone. With other vowels, the letter c makes a hard sound, as in cat and cot.

Likewise, when the letter g is followed by the vowels ei, or y, it usually makes its soft sound. Examples of that are gel, giant, and gym. With other vowels, the letter g makes a hard sound, as in gas, gorilla, and yogurt.

9. The “fszl” (fizzle) rule: The letters fsz, and l are usually doubled at the end of a one-syllable word immediately following a short vowel. Examples include stuff, grass, fuzz, and shell. Exceptions include quiz and bus.

10. Ending in k or ck: When a one-syllable word ends with the /k/ sound immediately following a short vowel, it’s usually spelled with ck, as in duck and trick. When the /k/ sound follows a consonant, long vowel sound, or diphthong, it’s usually spelled with k, as in task, cake, soak, and hawk.

11. The /j/ sound and the /ch/ sound: In a one-syllable word, when a /j/ sound immediately follows a short vowel, it’s spelled dge as in badge, hedge, bridge, dodge, and smudge. (The d “protects” the vowel from the “magic e” rule.)

In a one-syllable word, when a /ch/ sound immediately follows a short vowel, it’s usually spelled tch as in catch, fetch, stitch, blotch, and clutch. The exceptions to this rule are such, much, rich, and which.

12. Drop the e with -ing: When words end with a silent e, drop the e before adding -ing. Examples: bike/biking, give/giving, and dodge/dodging. This rule also applies to other suffixes that start with vowels, like -ed, -er, -able, and -ous. Examples: grieve/grievous, excite/excitable, and hope/hoped.

13. Doubling: In a one-syllable word like win where one short vowel is followed by one consonant, double the consonant before adding a suffix that starts with a vowel. Examples: winner, winning, winnable.

14. Plurals: For most words, add s to make them plural, as in cat/cats. But when a singular word ends with sshchx, or z, add es to make it plural, as in classes, brushes, and foxes.

15. Y rules: To make plural a word that ends in a vowel immediately followed by y, just add s, as in toy/toys. When y immediately follows a consonant, change the y to i and add es. Examples: family/families, pony/ponies, and treaty/treaties.

Suffixes follow a similar set of y rules. When there’s a vowel right before y, keep the y and simply add the suffix. Examples include play/playing and annoy/annoying.

When a word ends with a consonant followed immediately by y, change the y to i before adding suffixes like -ed and -est. Examples include carry/carried and happy/happiest.

But when the suffix begins with i, keep the y and simply add the suffix, as in fly/flying and baby/babyish.

Exceptions to the rules

Most words in the English language follow phonics rules. But any exceptions to these rules need to be taught and memorized for reading and spelling. These words are often found on lists of sight words or high-frequency words.

Error analysis

Error is condition of being wrong in belief or conduct. Error as a systematic deviation accepted system of the target language. Error cannot be self-corrected until further relevant (to the error) input (implicit and explicit) has been provide and converted into intake by the learners. In other word, error requires further relevan learning to take place before they can be self-corrected. The learner is not aware of making errors because of the lack of knowledge about the target language. The writer defines that logical to the learner but not usual to native speaker. Ellis (1985:68) in Yenni (2007) claims that the distincation between errors and mistakes is unobservable in practice.

Error analysis is attempt to study the learner’s errors. The fact that the learners do many errors and the errors can be observed, analyzed and classified to reveal something of the system operating within the learner, and it is called as error analysis. According to Carl James (1998:62) in Yenni (2007) “Error analysis is on the other side of the question, being the study of linguistic ignorance, the investigation, being the study of linguistic ignorance the investigation of what people do not know and how the attempt to cope with their ignorance.”

Error analysis is a method used to document the errors that appear in learner language, determine whether those errors are systematic, and (if possible) explain what caused them. Native speakers of the target language (TL) who listen to learner language probably find learners' errors very noticeable, although, as we shall see, accuracy is just one feature of learner language.

While native speakers make unsystematic 'performance' errors (like slips of the tongue) from time to time, second language learners make more errors, and often ones that no native speaker ever makes. An error analysis should focus on errors that are systematic violations of patterns in the input to which the learners have been exposed. Such errors tell us something about the learner's interlanguage, or underlying knowledge of the rules of the language being learned.

A theoretical aspect of error analysis is part of method used in investigating of the language learning process. The practical aspect of error analysis is its function in guiding the action that we must correct a nonsatisfactory state of affairs for the students or teacher.

According to Corder (1981:165) in Yenni (2007) “error analysis had two functions; the first is theoritical one and the second is a practical one. The theoritical aspect of error analysis part of method used in investigating the language learning process, we have a means of describing the student’s knowledge to the teaching he has been receiving. The practical aspect of error analysis is its function in guiding the action we must take to correct no satisfactory state of affairs for the students or teachers.

The writer defines that an error analysis is defined as a systematic description and explanation of errors made by the learners or user in their oral and written production in the target language. It seems that the error analysis may be carried out in order to find out how well someone knows a language, find out how person learns a languge an dobtain information on common difficulties or in the preparation on teaching materials.

Types of Error

There are some types of error that made by the students in studying and using English as foreign language. Dulay (1982) in Yenni (2007) book devide “errors into main categories, they are: omission, substitution, addition, ordering.”

1. Errors of Omission The first type of errors is error of omission happens when one or more elements of sentence is/or omitted. The elements of sentence should be presented, but the learner doesnot present them. According to Hornby (1974:585) in Yenni (2007) “ommision is leaving undone those things that ought to be done.

2. Error of Substitution The second types of error are error of substitution means that the wrong items have chosen in a place of the right one. Error of substitution happens when some elementin a sentence are substituted by another. According to Hornby (1974:863) in Yenni (2007) “substitution is acting for or serving for another.”

3. Error of Addition The third types of errors is error of addition means that some elements are pesented which should not be there. It happens because the learners and some elements of a sentence where should not be added there. According to Hornby (1974:11) in Yenni (2007) “addition is process of adding”

4. Error of Ordering The fourth types of errors is error of ordering is the error where the elements presented are corectly but wrongly sequenced. According to Hornby (1974:591) in Yenni (2007) “ordering is way in which things are placed in relation to one another.”

Although some learner errors are salient to native speakers, others, even though they’re systematic, may go unnoticed. For this reason, it is valuable for anyone interested in learner language to do a more thorough error analysis, to try to identify all the systematic errors.  This can help researchers understand the cognitive processes the learner is using, and help teachers decide which might be targeted for correction. Researchers have worked out the following procedure for doing an error analysis Corder (1975).

1. Identify all the errors in a sample of learner language

For each error, what do you think the speaker intended to say, and how they should have said it? For example, an English learner may say, "*He make a goal." This is an error. However, what should the learner have said? There are at least two possible ways to reconstruct this error: (1) He MAKES a goal, and (2) He IS MAKING a goal. In this first step of an error analysis, remember that there may be more than one possible way to reconstruct a learner error. Tarone & Swierzbin (2009, p.25) offer another example from an English language learner:

Learner:  …*our school force us to learn English because um it’s, it’s a trend.

Here are three different possible reconstructions:

a.     Our school forced us to learn English because it was a trend.

b.     Our school required us to learn English because it was a popular language.

c.      Because everyone felt it was important, English was a requirement at our school.

The way you reconstruct a learner error depends on what you think the intended message is. An added complication is that any given learner utterance may contain errors at many levels at once: phonological, morphological, syntactic, lexical.

Finally, determine how systematic the error is. Does it occur several times, or is it just a performance slip (a mistake)? Even native speakers of a language make one-off mistakes when they're tired or distracted.

2. Explain the errors

Once you've identified systematic errors in your sample of learner language, think of what might have caused those errors. There are several possibilities. Some errors could be due to native language transfer (using a rule or pattern from the native language). Some could be developmental—errors most learners make in learning this language no matter what their native language. Induced errors may be due to the way a teacher or textbook presented or explained a given form. Communication strategies may be used by the learner to get meaning across even if he or she knows the form used is not correct (Selinker 1972 discusses these and other possible causes of systematic learner errors). Explaining errors in learner language isn't always straightforward; for example, sometimes an error may appear to have more than one cause. As Lightbown & Spada (2013, p. 45) say, "... while error analysis has the advantage of describing what learners actually do … it does not always give us clear insights into why they do it."

What error analysis misses

Error analysis is a good first step, but it also can miss important features of learner language. First, in focusing only on errors, you may miss cases where the learner uses the form correctly. For example, you may notice that a learner makes errors in pronouncing a TL sound before consonants, but not notice that she is producing the sound correctly before vowels. The second thing an error analysis misses is avoidance. Schachter (1976) pointed out that learners can avoid using features of a TL that they know they have difficulty with. For example, you may see very few errors in relative clauses in a sample of English learner language, but then realize that's because the learner simply isn't producing many relative clauses—correct OR incorrect. Avoidance can lead to the absence of errors—but absence of errors in this case does NOT mean the learner has no problems with relative clauses. Finally, error analysis focuses only on accuracy. Accuracy is just one of three ways of describing learner language: accuracy, complexity and fluency. If teachers judge learner language only in terms of accuracy, the learners' development of complexity and fluency can suffer.



5.2         Strategies for teaching handwriting (adaptations), spelling (phonics and spelling rules) and written expression (grammar, ideation, language usage)


Contrary to the view that handwriting is a trivial skill, handwriting actually is important for a number of reasons.

One involves the concept of mental resources to which I have alluded in several other columns, in relation to reading and mathematics as well as writing. Just as effortful word decoding may impair reading comprehension, or lack of automatic recall may reduce the mental resources available for learning advanced computational algorithms in math, labored handwriting creates a drain on mental resources needed for higher-level aspects of writing, such as attention to content, elaboration of details, and organization of ideas.

Because handwriting is a basic tool used in many subjects — taking notes, taking tests, and doing classroom work and homework for almost every content area as well as in language arts classes — poor handwriting can have a pervasive effect on school performance.

Moreover, when handwriting is perceived as arduous and time-consuming, motivation to write may be greatly reduced, leading to a lack of practice that may further compound difficulties with writing.

Finally, handwriting in the earliest grades is linked to basic reading and spelling achievement; for example, when children learn how to form the letter m, they can also be learning its sound. Attention to the linkages among handwriting, reading, and spelling skills can help to reinforce early achievement across these areas.

There are four main aspects of handwriting instruction: pencil grasp, formation, legibility, and pacing.

Pencil grasp: When it comes to how a child holds a pencil, there are correct and incorrect grasps. The correct grasps—in which the index finger and thumb hold the pencil against the middle finger—result in comfortable and efficient handwriting, while incorrect grasps can cause poor letter formation and fatigue.

A student with a poor pencil grasp may benefit from using tools such as a pencil grip or from wrapping a rubber band around the ring finger and pinkie—not too tightly!—to fold them against the hand. You can also teach the “pinch and flip” trick: The student places the pencil with the writing end facing her, pinches the pencil between the thumb and index finger, and flips the pencil into the correct position.

Formation: This refers to how a student goes about forming letters. Straight lines are easier for students to write than curved ones, so it’s developmentally appropriate to teach students to write capital letters before moving on to lowercase ones.

It’s critical that handwriting instruction be integrated with phonics instruction: As students learn how to write the letters, they should also be learning and practicing the sounds that the letters make. Handwriting and dictation activities are the cornerstone of any multisensory phonics instruction program, as requiring students to consistently practice forming the letters while connecting them to sounds will serve to better embed phonics concepts in the brain.

For students who struggle with letter formation, explicit instruction is particularly important. Students should be taught to start their letters at the top (or middle, as is the case with some lowercase letters), and use continuous strokes as much as possible. Some letters will require them to lift up their pencils, and they should be taught when to do this. Using lined paper is helpful, as is giving students a variety of visual aids: arrow cues for stroke direction, dots for starting points, dotted letters for tracing, etc. Students also benefit from “skywriting” letters—tracing letters in the air with an index finger while holding their arm straight out.

The letters bdp, and q are often confused by younger students. Teaching the correct formation of these letters can help diminish the confusion, as they have different starting points—b, for instance, starts from the top, whereas d starts in the middle. Internalizing the motor patterns for these letters can help make recognition more automatic.

Legibility: An important factor impacting legibility is spacing between words. It’s helpful to encourage students to use a “finger space” between words—right-handed students can put an index finger on the line after one word before writing the next one. This technique doesn’t work for left-handed students, who will benefit from using a narrow tongue depressor as a spacing tool.

Pacing: If students are using an appropriate pencil grasp and forming letters correctly, that will often solve any pacing challenges. Another factor to consider when looking at pacing is the press: Students should not be pressing the pencil down on the paper too hard as they write because doing so can lead to writing fatigue and a greatly reduced rate of letter production. But if they press too lightly, it can be a sign of weak muscles or inappropriate pencil grasp. Encourage students to write with a variety of materials (markers, short pencils, crayons, erasable markers on whiteboards) to help them adjust how hard they press.


Classroom materials and routines

·       Provide pencil grips or different types of pens or pencils to see what works best for the student.

·       Provide handouts so there’s less to copy from the board.

·       Provide typed copies of classroom notes or lesson outlines to help the student take notes.

·       Provide extra time to take notes and copy material.

·       Allow the student to use an audio recorder or a laptop in class.

·       Provide paper with different-colored or raised lines to help form letters in the right space.

·       Provide graph paper (or lined paper to be used sideways) to help line up math problems.

Giving instructions

·       Provide paper assignments with name, date, title, etc., already filled in.

·       Provide information needed to start writing assignments early.

·       Help the student break writing assignments into steps .

·       Provide a rubric and explain how each step is graded.

·       Give examples of finished assignments.

·       Offer alternatives to written responses, like giving an oral report.

Completing tests and assignments

·       Adapt test formats to cut down on handwriting. For example, use “circle the answer” or “fill in the blank” questions.

·       Grade based on what the student knows, not on handwriting or spelling.

·       Use a scribe or speech-to-text so the student can dictate test answers and writing assignments.

·       Let the student choose to either print or use cursive for handwritten responses.

·       Allow a “proofreader” to look for errors.

·       Provide extended time on tests.

·       Provide a quiet room for tests if needed.


Spelling (phonics and spelling rules)

Handwriting has many layers. It involves:

·       Knowing the alphabetic code for the 42 phonemes (sounds) and linking these letter shapes to the correct phonemes.

·       Learning letter formation using a tripod grip for both uppercase and lowercase letters

·       Linking both upper and lower case according to the phoneme.

·       Knowing the position of these letter shapes within lines on a page.

Research has consistently demonstrated that a succesful literacy program is most effective when it includes explicit instruction designed to improve a students ability to accurately read and spell individual words and their ability to comprehend and utilise a variety of language-based processes.

The components of effective reading and spelling instruction include:

Learning to read and spell is essentially learning a code. The letters we use are simply symbols or written code for the speech sounds of English. Learning about the relationship between the letters of the alphabet and the speech sounds they represent allows us to “crack the code” and learn to both read (decode) and spell (encode).

Synthetic Phonics is a way of teaching children to read and spell. It has been identified both here and overseas as the most successful approach to the teaching of reading and spelling. The ‘synthetic’ component reflects the practice of ‘synthesising’, or blending together. The ‘phonic’ part reflects the process of linking individual speech sounds (phonemes) to written symbols (graphemes). Essentially, when a child learns to read using Synthetic Phonics they learn to link letters to speech sounds and then blend these sounds together to read words. They also learn to separate (segment) words into their constituent sounds and link these sounds to letters in order to spell them.

The ability to hear, isolate, blend and manipulate speech sounds (essential for reading and spelling) is dependent on a child's phonological and phonemic awareness ability. Children with literacy related learning difficulties often require additional support and intervention to develop these skills.

A good literacy program also includes explicit instruction in vocabularyreading fluency and reading comprehension strategies. This instruction should be extended into the secondary school years, particulary as the demands of school change and students are exposed to significantly more complex vocabulary and the need to be more strategic in their use of comprehension strategies.  


Written expression (grammar, ideation, language usage)

Early writing instruction should emphasize that written language conveys meaning. Just as readers monitor comprehension while they are reading, writers monitor the comprehensibility of their writing. The teacher should constantly ask students to reread their writing to make sure it makes sense and that they are writing what they mean to say. Frequent rereading often leads to revising.

To learn all the skills necessary for written expression, a highly structured, explicit, systematic teaching approach is needed with many opportunities for students to practise and apply learned skills.

Students must be taught to identify the features and structures of texts when reading and work towards transferring their spoken language into written work. Providing students with the structure and strategies for building suitable sentences and paragraphs, and the composition of simple texts, will give them the foundation skills necessary to write effectively in the upper primary and secondary years.

When approaching the effective teaching of written expression, a strong literacy program will include the following:

·       Explicit and structured teaching of written language conventions and literary techniques

·       Direct and explicit instruction in literary genres and text structures

·       Guided and repeated composition practice to improve fluency

·       Direct and robust instruction in vocabulary and word choice

·       Explicit teaching of the grammatical structure of spoken and written language

Students need to be taught to write simple, grammatically correct sentences before learning to write compound and complex sentences. Sentence-level activities should also teach basic editing skills. Grammar must be taught in the context of combining words and building sentences, not just analysing parts of speech in isolation. Words must be combined to communicate thoughts and ideas meaningfully. Word banks can be a useful tool to support the generation and organisation of ideas; however, students also need to be taught the function of the words and how to use them in their writing.

The structure of a paragraph varies based on the text it is written for (e.g. descriptive, narrative, persuasive); however, all typically follow a common pattern. A paragraph generally begins with a topic sentence which introduces the main idea, and is followed by sentences supporting or describing the topic. Young or struggling writers should first be taught to construct their paragraph with their topic sentence as the first sentence. When students become more proficient at writing sentences and constructing paragraphs, they can be shown how to position a topic sentence in the middle of a paragraph for effect.

Ideation is the formation of ideas or concepts. The ideation in student writing is very important. Students will acquire and execute creative thinking methods and processes and develop an understanding of a cyclical process of design thinking to generate questions and solutions.

Develop inventive concepts using various problem-solving techniques, like convergent thinking. And also develop basic abilities to interpret, recognize, construct, appreciate and negotiate information presented in the form of visible actions, images, objects and symbols, natural .



5.3         Strategies for teaching math (number facts, computation, application)


Similiar to the principles of high-quality literacy instruction, the initial teaching of numeracy should be carefully sequenced, highly structured, and explicit.

When approaching the effective teaching of mathematics, a strong numeracy program will include the following:

·       explicit and systematic instruction in building number sense

·       guided and repeated practice of effective counting strategies

·       direct and systematic instruction in calculation techniques (procedural knowledge)

·       direct instruction in the language of mathematics

·       cumulative instruction in developing number facts with brief and purposeful practice

Individual differences observed in children's mathematics development is often related to variations in the development of their underlying approximate number system (also known as number sense). Number sense is one of the most important developments in the early years for the acquisition of numeracy skills and is seen as one of the biggest predictors of mathematical proficiency in primary school.

Delays in number sense not only reduce the ability to utilise effective calculation techniques, but they also reduce the development of maths reasoning skills and number fact storage by reducing a student's ability to use strategic counting, understand the base-10 number system and work with place value, utilise estimation skills to check their answers, change computational strategies when the need arises and to develop an understanding of the language of mathematics (including the link between number words and numerals).

A well rounded numeracy program explicitly teaches these foundation skills and regularly rehearses and reviews these component skills when tackling higher order mathematical tasks.

Number facts are simple addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts which are sometimes referred to as number bonds.

Children learn these basic facts between the ages of 4 and 10. Throughout their primary school experience, they will be taught these key facts and encouraged to practice and memorise them until they can be recalled instantly with little working out.

Number facts are important for your child to learn because they form the building blocks for higher-level Maths skills.

Adding and subtracting large numbers, long multiplication and division, telling the time and counting money are all concepts of Maths that children will encounter early on in their life. Therefore, if they have mastered number facts, they will find it easier to solve problems more quickly and understand the relationship between numbers, like how 4-2=2 because of 2+2=4.

How are children are taught number facts at school

Teachers begin with concrete representations of numbers (actual objects or pictures of objects) when introducing the concept of addition and subtraction.

Then move onto pictorial representation (using dots):

And finally onto abstract symbols (digits):

Once they are familiar with the concept of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division children begin to memorise the number facts and practice quick recall.

Methods such as flash cards, fact triangles, fact families, games, ICT games are used to improve quick recall in a fun way. There may also be displays in the classroom to help children memorise the number facts. Number facts need to be practised regularly so some schools may also do weekly timetables tests/challenges.


Everyday Mathematics recognizes that, even in the computer age, it is important to teach children how to compute "by hand".

Instead of requiring all students to learn the same computation procedure, by rote, at the same time, Everyday Mathematics aims to make students active participants in the development of algorithms. This process begins by developing students' background skills and knowledge in three areas: basic fact skills, place value skills, and their understanding of the meanings of operations. Once these background skills are in place, and before students are taught standard algorithms, they are encouraged to invent and share their own ways for doing operations.

Giving students the opportunity to invent and share their own operational procedures has the following benefits:

· Children are more motivated to solve problems when they have to come up with their own strategies instead of just following a rote procedure.

· Children with different learning styles are given problem-solving options. They may choose to use manipulatives, drawings, oral and written words, or symbols to represent and solve problems.

· Children become adept at changing problems into easy-to-solve equivalent problems. For example, 30-17 is equivalent to 30-10-7.

· When children explain and discuss their own algorithms with other children, they internalize what the operations mean and learn from each other. Children's discussions also provide valuable information that can help teachers assess the development of their numerical thinking.

After children have had opportunities to experiment with their own operation procedures, they are introduced to standard algorithms and a number of alternative algorithms. Multi-digit addition and subtraction algorithms are formally introduced in second grade, and most children should be proficient in the use of at least one algorithm for each operation by the beginning of fourth grade. Division algorithms are introduced in fourth grade, with proficiency expected in fifth grade.



5.4         Strategies to develop Metacognition


The word "metacognition" is derived from the Greek root word "meta" meaning "beyond" and the Latin word "cognoscere" meaning "getting to know".

But along with more modern usage of the prefix "meta", it is now more usually defined as "thinking about thinking". Metacognition is the ability to reflect and critically analyse how you think. Essentially, it is best thought of as having self-awareness that enables individuals to monitor, reflect and analyse their performance. Students who can do this are more likely to learn more efficiently, more effectively and therefore make more progress.

Metacognition is a term used for the methods that can help learners understand how they learn. In other words, metacognition means processes created for the learners to 'think' how they 'think'. Metacognition helps learners in becoming aware of their individual learning experiences and the activities they involve themselves in their paths toward professional and individual growth. Some examples of metacognitive activities include: planning how to perform a learning task, applying appropriate strategies and skills to solve a problem, self-assessment and self-correction as a result of evaluating one's own progress toward completing a task.

Metacognition is beneficial in student learning because it allows learners to reflect on what they know, who they are, what they wish to know, and how they can reach that point. Reflection is an important aspect of learning and teaching. Teachers must be reflective in their practice so that they can keep on growing, continue to meet their students’ needs, and evaluate their own growth and skills. It is important to motivate students to practice reflection so that they can build their individual reflective practices and develop metacognitive skills to prepare for their future. At Structural Learning, we argue that classroom culture is a significant driver for developing metacognitive mindsets. If talking about learning is part of your day-to-day classroom practice then your pupils are halfway there. Developing a healthy balance of both content knowledge and procedural knowledge is a fundamental classroom challenge. We have been helping children develop their knowledge about cognition and how they can manage it more effectively


As part of everyday teaching, some of the most common strategies used to embed metacognitive strategies are:

Explicit teaching:With a focus on activating prior knowledge, introducing new knowledge and skills, modelling the application of knowledge and skills, and providing ample opportunity for independent practice and reflection.

Supporting students to plan, monitor, and evaluate their work/learning: Explicitly teaching skills in these areas, and structuring work around these phases, will give students the opportunity to gradually internalise these techniques and use them to take control of their own learning.

Developing rubrics (and wherever possible co-designing them with students): Assist students with the monitoring of learning and the setting of individual learning goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely (SMART).

Modelling of thinking: Verbalise the thought processes used to consider, analyse and solve problems. This may be as simple as 'thinking aloud'.

Questioning: Both in terms of using questions to engage students, to monitor their progress and stimulate their thinking, as well as valuing questions from students as a form of feedback and an opportunity for clarification/extension of learning.



5.5         Peer-tutoring, co-operative learning, Co-teaching strategies



Peer tutoring is a flexible, peer-mediated strategy that involves students serving as academic tutors and tutees.  Typically, a higher performing student is paired with a lower performing student to review critical academic or behavioral concepts.


Why choose peer tutoring?


What are the most frequently used peer tutoring models?


Classwide Peer Tutoring (CWPT):  Classwide peer tutoring involves dividing the entire class into groups of two to five students with differing ability levels.  Students then act as tutors, tutees, or both tutors and tutees.  Typically, CWPT involves highly structured procedures, direct rehearsal, competitive teams, and posting of scores (Maheady, Harper, & Mallette, 2001).  The entire class participates in structured peer tutoring activities two or more times per week for approximately 30 minutes (Harper & Maheady, 2007).  While the procedures and routines in CWPT remain the same, student pairings or groups may change weekly or biweekly.  In CWPT, student pairings are fluid and may be based on achievement levels or student compatibility.  Students may


Cross-age Peer Tutoring:  Older students are paired with younger students to teach or review a skill.  The positions of tutor and tutee do not change.  The older student serves as the tutor and the younger student is the tutee.  The older student and younger student can have similar or differing skill levels, with the relationship being one of a cooperative or expert interaction.  Tutors serve to model appropriate behavior, ask questions, and encourage better study habits.  This arrangement is also beneficial for students with disabilities as they may serve as tutors for younger students.


Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS):  PALS, a version of the CWPT model, involves a teacher pairing students who need additional instruction or help with a peer who can assist (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Burish, 2000).  Groups are flexible and change often across a variety of subject areas or skills.  Cue cards, small pieces of cardstock upon which are printed a list of tutoring steps, may be provided to help students remember PALS steps (Spencer, Scruggs, & Mastropieri, 2003).  All students have the opportunity to function as a tutor or tutee at differing times.  Students are typically paired with other students who are at the same skill level, without a large discrepancy between abilities.


Reciprocal Peer Tutoring (RPT):   Two or more students alternate between acting as the tutor and tutee during each session, with equitable time in each role.  Often, higher performing students are paired with lower performing students. RPT utilizes a structured format that encourages teaching material, monitoring answers, and evaluating and encouraging peers.  Both group and individual rewards may be earned to motivate and maximize learning.  Students in RPT may prepare the instructional materials and are responsible for monitoring and evaluating their peers once they have selected a goal and reward as outlined by their teacher.


Same-age Peer Tutoring:  Peers who are within one or two years of age are paired to review key concepts.  Students may have similar ability levels or a more advanced student can be paired with a less advanced student.  Students who have similar abilities should have an equal understanding of the content material and concepts.  When pairing students with differing levels, the roles of tutor and tutee may be alternated, allowing the lower performing student to quiz the higher performing student.  Answers should be provided to the student who is lower achieving when acting as a tutor in order to assist with any deficits in content knowledge.  Same-age peer tutoring, like classwide peer tutoring, can be completed within the students’ classroom or tutoring can be completed across differing classes.  Procedures are more flexible than traditional classwide peer tutoring configurations.

How should peer tutors be trained?

Planning and Implementing a Peer Tutoring Program

Co-operative learning

Cooperative learning aims to organize class activities. Also, it aims to into a social and educational learning experience. Also in it, students work together in groups to perform a task. John Dewey the education reformer introduced this theory. It is the responsibility of the teacher to carefully select the group. Each member is responsible for learning. And also, to teach what is taught to his/her teammates.

Cooperative learning is an activity which helps students to work in groups. Also, it enables them to learn and teach group members. Also, the success of each member depends on the group’s success.

Cooperative learning is a teaching method. It arranges and mixes students of different level of ability and learning into groups. Also, it focuses on group success rather than individual success.

Types of Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning divides into 3 parts:

1. Formal Learning

The formal group assigns tasks and projects. Also, they stay together until the assignment completes. The group has a clear structure. Besides, the teacher selects the groups. Depending on the assignments, the group can be heterogeneous and homogeneous. Likewise, three to five-person groups is believed to be most productive.

2. Informal Learning

These are just the opposite of formal learning. Also, they are not structured very well. Typically they involve activities that take few minutes. In addition, they usually have two to three members. They are suitably used for rapid activities like check for understanding, quick problem solving or review, etc. these help in changing the format of the lecture. Also, they give students a few minutes to talk about a concept with a go over.

3. Cooperative Learning

They are usually long term support group. Also, their minimum duration is a semester but they can last for years. Due to their duration, they generally become friends or acquaintances. The members support and cooperate with each other outside the group.

Elements of Cooperative Learning

Cooperative learning is when students work in small groups to achieve a common goal. Educators can use this method in every grade. In this learning method, students can earn from their conversations with one another. By working together, they can analyze each other's ideas and clarifying their own. To be effective, there are five essential components of small-group learning:

1. Positive Interdependence: It means that they have clear goals or target. Also, their effort not only helps oneself but the group. Positive interdependence is committed to personal success. as well as the success of every member of the group.

2. Individual and Group Accountability: The group is accountable for its actions. Also, the members are accountable for their fair contribution. And also for achieving the group goal. Besides no one can copy or steal others work. Everyone’s performance must be assessed. And its results should be given to the group.

3. Small group and Interpersonal skills: Small group and interpersonal skills require carrying out as part of a group. Basically, they are teamwork skills. Self-motivation, efficient leadership, decision making, trust building, communication, and conflict managing are basic skills.

4. Promotive face-to-face Interaction: This means that students share each other success by dividing resources. Also, to learn they help, give confidence, support, and admire each other’s work. Educational and individual both are part of this common goal.

5. Group Processing: Group members require experiencing free to communicate frankly with others. Also, they feel each other’s concern and make merry at accomplishments. Besides, they should converse about achieving the goal and maintaining helpful working relations.

At the same time, the following characteristics need to be present:

Side-note: This article uses the terms "cooperative" and "collaborative" interchangeably. However, certain researchers distinguish between these two types of learning, outlining the key difference being that collaborative learning focuses mainly on deeper learning.


Teachers make frequent use of group work, and thus cooperative learning, for a number of reasons:

1.     Change Things Up. It is beneficial to have a variety in your instruction; it keeps students engaged and enables you to reach a larger number of learners. Cooperative learning also changes students' and teachers' roles as teachers become facilitators of learning, guides on the side if you will, and students take on more responsibility for their own learning.

2.     Life Skills. Cooperation and collaboration are crucial skills that students will continue using far beyond their schooling years. One of the key elements in a workplace is collaboration, and we need to get our students ready to cooperate, to be responsible and accountable, and to possess other interpersonal skills for effective professional lives. Cooperative learning is also proven to foster students’ self-esteem, motivation, and empathy.

3.     Deeper Learning. Collaborating with others has a potent and positive effect on students’ thinking and learning—through well-executed cooperative learning tasks, students often deepen their understanding of the assigned content. Students engage in thoughtful discourse, examine different perspectives, and learn how to disagree productively.

Challenges and Solutions

Despite cooperative or collaborative learning being ingrained in teaching practices for decades now, it has also been demonstrated that small group activities aren’t always very efficient. Some of the main challenges turn out to be students' free-riding (the lack of participation on behalf of some students), their focus on individual academic goals while neglecting collaborative goals, and teachers’ difficulties in accurately assessing students’ participation.

Some specific recommendations resulting from the above-mentioned challenges are that teachers should focus on:

1.     Defining specific collaborative goals (in addition to the academic content goals)

2.     Training students in social interactions for productive collaboration

3.     Monitoring and supporting student interactions

4.     Assessing the collaborative process—productivity and the learning process of individuals and the whole group (thanks to increased professional development)

5.     Applying the findings into future cooperative learning tasks

Co-teaching strategies

Students at all academic levels benefit from alternative assignments and greater teacher attention in small-group activities that co-teaching makes possible. Co-teaching allows for more intense and individualized instruction in the general education setting increasing access to the general education curriculum while decreasing stigma for students with special needs. Students have an opportunity to increase their understanding and respect for students with special needs. Students with special needs have a greater opportunity for continuity of instruction as the teachers benefit from the professional support and exchange of teaching practices as they work collaboratively.

Co-teaching involves two or more certified professionals who contract to share instructional responsibility for a single group of students primarily in a single classroom or workspace for specific content or objectives with mutual ownership, pooled resources and joint accountability. (Friend & Cook 2016)

·       Infuse high-leverage practices. Every aspect of co-teaching should emphasize HLPs.

·       Co-plan at the mega, macro, and micro levels. Mega-level planning involves the overall plans for the school year (concepts, units, books/chapters). Macro-planning occurs every quarter, unit, or chapter. Micro-planning is the day-to-day planning and will be more manageable if the mega- and macro-planning has occurred.

·       Consider your responsesTake time to reflect on what your co-teacher does, how you respond to it, and the results of your actions. Is there a different way to respond that would communicate your feelings and get a better outcome?

·       Record and share anecdotal notesUse an agreed-upon format to take notes during planning and instruction that you can share with one another. Be sure the form includes information not only on students, but also on the teacher actions that may enhance or detract from learning.

·       Use strategies that provide high-quality core instruction to all learnersAccess resources that help reframe thinking about what students may be able to do.

·       Continue learning. Think how you will implement the co-teaching "do betters" as a team. Craft ways to collaboratively be lifelong learners who reflectively appreciate and expand their compatibility, parity, and effectiveness.


Fortunately, a lot of available research categorizes different models of co-teaching. 

·       One Teach, One Observe: One co-teacher has primary instructional responsibility while the other co-teacher gathers specific observational information on students or the (instructing) teacher. The key to this strategy is to have a focus for the observation.

·       One Teach, One Assist: One co-teacher has primary instructional responsibility while the other co-teacher assists students with their work, monitors behaviors, or corrects assignments.

·       Station Teaching: The co-teaching pair divides the instructional content into parts and the students into groups. Groups spend a designated amount of time at each station. Of-ten an independent station will be used.

·       Parallel Teaching: Each co-teacher instructs half of the students. The two co-teachers are addressing the same instructional material and present the lesson using the same teaching strategy. The greatest benefit is the reduction of student to teacher ratio.

·       Supplemental Teaching: This strategy allows one co-teacher to work with students at their expected grade level, while the other co-teacher works with those students who need the information and/or materials extended or remediated.

·       Alternative/Differentiated Teaching: Alternative teaching strategies provide two different approaches to teaching the same information. The learning outcome is the same for all students; however, the instructional methodology is different.

·       Team Teaching: Team taught lessons that are well planned exhibit an invisible flow of instruction with no prescribed division of authority. Using a team teaching strategy, both teachers are actively involved in the lesson. From a student’s perspective, there is no clearly defined leader, as both teachers share the instruction, are free to interject in-formation, and available to assist students and answer questions.


One Teaching, One Observing: This model implemented both with purpose and without. It takes time to develop a working relationship with another teacher. When the relationship isn’t working, this model appears more often, and often without purpose.

When one teacher is directly instructing the students, the other should be observing. The observing teacher is collecting data, which can be useful in determining what instruction takes place next, which students need additional help, and what co-teaching model may be used next to address any identified needs.

Pros: less time collaborating, less interruption, more focused and purposeful data collection.

Cons: loss of one instructor, can be used too often due to a lack of planning or a lack of content knowledge or self-efficacy, can be underutilized for its intended purpose without focused data collection.

One Teaching, One Assisting: This model is often implemented in a one-sided fashion, with one teacher left in the role of assistant. This model can be extremely useful if the teachers swap roles so that both gain comfort in teaching the content and in assisting students one-on-one. Being professional and looking for signs that students are either not on task or are struggling with the content and sharing those signs with the other teacher can mean the difference between a student’s success or failure in a lesson.

Pros: less interruption between teachers, more eyes on students to identify those in need.

Cons: loss of one instructor, can be used too often due to a lack of planning or a lack of content knowledge or self-efficacy, can be underutilized for its intended purpose without a focused group of students to assist based on the lesson design.

Parallel Teaching:  Parallel teaching work extremely well—it can be a great way to reduce the feel of a larger class. By breaking the students into two groups and teaching the lesson simultaneously, more students can get the close, small-group instruction that research indicates helps struggling learners. More students have the opportunity to ask questions throughout the process than they would in a larger group.

This is also a great model when the content is extremely challenging because it allows each teacher to really differentiate instruction for each student in the smaller group.

Pros: smaller instructional groups, more time for students to fill in instructional gaps, classroom management is easier.

Cons: difficult logistics, takes more time to collaboratively plan, requires that both teachers have content expertise.

Station Teaching: Station teaching is a way for each teacher to own a piece of the content and replicate that piece of the lesson multiple times within the same period with different groups of students. Unlike parallel teaching, teachers using this model can each focus more on a specific part of the lesson as groups rotate through each teacher’s station. Additional stations that aren’t led by one of the two teachers can foster students’ independence and give them time to practice the material.

Pros: capitalizes on each teacher’s strengths, smaller instructional groups, refined lesson planning.

Cons: takes more time to plan, requires good timing on the part of both teachers.

Alternative Teaching:  Teachers use this model to help a small group of students accelerate their learning, catch up on missed content, or fill in their gaps in understanding. The keys are finding space so that the other students are not disrupted while this small-group instruction is taking place, and ensuring that students in the small group don’t miss new information.

Pros: gives students opportunities to close instructional gaps, can help students with chronic absenteeism, focuses resources on a target student population.

Cons: requires dual planning of time and content so that there’s no missed instruction.

Team Teaching: A true team-teaching lesson is a thing of beauty. Two teachers whose personalities complement each other offer benefits for all students in the classroom. Getting to this point requires years of experience, collaborative planning, and a positive, professional relationship that is always being refined and improved. Supervisors and principals need to know that this model can be achieved by making the teaching pairs a priority when scheduling the building. 

Pros: capitalizes on two teachers’ expertise and instructional strategies, gives both teachers the spotlight in front of the entire class.

Cons: often requires experience in working together (although it can be done with a new pair of team-teachers), immense planning, and a healthy relationship in order to work.