SURE pilot study: Improving quality in inclusive mainstream classrooms to increase educational opportunities
Background and aims
The Teaching through Interactions framework (Hamre et al., 2013) postulates that the quality of teacher-student interactions (emotional supports, classroom organization, specific instructional supports, school motivation) has an important effect on the school and psychosocial development especially of children with risk factors (special education needs, migration background). Studies have shown that high-quality teacher-student interactions can offset risk factors (Hamre & Pianta, 2001; Hamre & Pianta, 2005; Ladd & Burgess, 2001; Meehan et al., 2003). For this reason, it is worthwhile to improve the quality of teacher-student interactions. It could be centrally important particularly in inclusive mainstream classrooms, as these are characterized by the risk factors mentioned above. However, the cooperation between classroom teachers and school-level special education teachers in inclusive education is a challenge regarding high-quality teacher-student interactions (Pool Maag & Moser Opitz, 2014; Reusser et al., 2013). For this reason, the aim of this pilot study is to support, for the first time, classroom teacher/school-level special education teacher teaching teams in improving teacher-student interactions through the video-based ‘cooperative teaching approach’.
Does the video-based ‘cooperative teaching approach’ for the classroom teacher/school-level special education teacher teaching team result in improved quality of teacher-student interactions in inclusive mainstream classrooms?
To improve the quality of teacher-student interactions in teaching teams, reliable observation instruments for capturing the quality of teacher-student interactions are of central importance, as they provide the classroom teacher and school-level special education teacher with a common conceptual and methodological perspective for achieving change (Jones & Brownell, 2014). This research project, for the first time, implements the evidence-based observation instrument Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS; Pianta et al., 2012), which was designed to measure the quality of teacher-student interactions, in the ‘cooperative teaching’. The plan is for 30 teaching teams teaching in Grades 4 to 6 to participate in this control group study. The intervention group will attend a continuing education day on teacher-student interactions and also receives the ‘cooperative teaching approach’, which contains the following: Six times, classroom teacher and school-level special education teacher together develop action strategies for improving teacher-student interactions, using qualitative CLASS ratings of videotaped team teaching. The control group also works out action plans using videotaped teaching sequences but without CLASS feedback as a BASIS. The control group then also attends the same continuing education. The change in quality of teacher-student interactions will be evaluated quantitatively using CLASS.
We expect that over time the quality of teacher-student interactions will improve more in the intervention group than in the control group.