co-teaching outlines the components of an effective co-teaching program (Welch, 2000), there is not a large body of research that focuses on student achievement in co-teaching situations. The current study serves to explore the effects of co-teaching on the grammatical achievement of students.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
All educators may, more or less, find that an increasing number of students are placed in an English class with a variety of different knowledge and background that influences their learning a new subject differently. Students with poor performance and special needs are generally expected to achieve the same level of success as other learners.
Accordingly, regarding overpopulation and misplacement of the learners in large classes, it seems impossible for one single teacher to conduct all burden of teaching including planning, practice, and evaluation and above all implementing remedial programs to meet the needs of the learners with poor performance within the allocated specific time. Therefore, there is some intuitive appeal for a new mode of service delivery because greater numbers of students who have instructional problems may be accommodated in general education classes.
Drawing upon the above-mentioned views, among the many ideas and options for meeting these diverse yet somehow related challenges, the approach that had received widespread attention and been used by many special and general educators to meet the needs of secondary students is co-teaching. Teachers need to coordinate different kinds of expertise if students are to learn rigorous academic content that reflects curriculum reforms and higher standards (Morocco & Solomon, 1999). For This purpose, the current study focused on investigating the impact of alternative teaching as one form of co-teaching on Iranian EFL learners’ grammar achievement. The results are expected to be generalized to EFL classes where the aim is to increase students’ grammar achievement.
1.3. Statement of Research Question
To fulfill the purpose of this study, the following research question is raised:
Q: Does teaching based on alternative teaching model have a significant effect on EFL learner’s grammar achievement?
1.4. Statement of Research Hypothesis
In order to investigate aforementioned research question, the following research hypothesis is formulated:
H0: Teaching based on Alternative teaching model does not have any significant effect on EFL learners’ grammar achievement.
1.5. Definition of Key Terms
Co-teaching is defined as the practice of two or more people engaging in instruction, collaboration, and differentiation for students in a classroom (Cook & Friend, 1995).
1.5.2. Alternative Teaching
In alternative teaching, one teacher teaches the large group, while the other teaches or re-teaches content or skills to a small group.
Teachers may regroup students and may alternate roles in teaching the large and small groups (Cook & Friend, 1995)
Many times the terms “team teaching” and “co-teaching” and alternative teaching are used interchangeably to describe a shared, supportive arrangement between a special education teacher and a regular education teacher (Friend & Cook, 2007). Literature reviewed supported both terms and for this study the terms “team teaching” and “co-teaching” or alternative teaching are used interchangeably.
A set of rules describes how words and groups of words can be arranged to form sentences in a particular language. (Williams, J., & Evans, J. 1998)
In this research, grammar is defined as and limited to the set of structures to be covered in the material of research in classrooms. Grammar achievement is defined as the participants’ scores on a teacher -researcher -made grammar test based on the instructed course.
1.5.4. Regular (general) education teacher and special education teacher
In a collaborative model the general education and special education teachers each bring their skills, training, and perspectives to the team. General educators bring content specialization, special education teachers bring assessment and adaptation specializations. Both bring training and experience in teaching techniques and learning processes. Their collaborative goal is that all students in their class are provided with appropriate classroom and homework assignments so that each is learning, is challenged, and is participating in the classroom process (Dieker & Barnett, 1996, p. 7).
1.6. Significance of the Study
Considering the role of English as the language of the world for international communication, training competent English users is of paramount importance. To be considered a competent user of English in the current era, one requires gaining the knowledge of the grammatical system of the language, although it is one of the many components constituting the notion of communicative competence. Therefore, it appears that grammar is too important to be ignored, and without such knowledge, learners cannot ensure whether they have progressed in language learning or not (Gass & Selinker, 2008).
Despite the effort that has been put into various kind of research into L2 learning recently the impact of the theories and results so far generated on language teaching methodology has as yet been limited. Nevertheless, this kind of research holds considerable promise of useful information for the language teaching profession. On the other hand, a persistent theme of school reform literature over the past decades has been the need for teachers to shift from working as isolated practitioners to working as colleagues (Morocco and Aguilar, 2003). The significance of the findings of this study is of utmost importance for schools and educational system in Iran. Although there is a large body of literature on the positive effects of co-teaching for native speakers of English, there is a gap in the literature regarding the implementation of alternative teaching model on EFL learners’ grammar achievement in Iranian context. This study contributes to the body of knowledge by providing evidence that is needed to verify the existing studies so that EFL teachers in Iran (in general) and in Ilam (particular) can benefit from the findings of this study for their classroom context and can justifiably decide whether to use alternative teaching in their classrooms. Besides, the findings of this study can be utilized for practical consideration of teaching in Iranian schools and institutes as co-teaching is somehow new for Iranian context. The significance of the study gets more underlined as it can also contribute to a new way that grammar can be instructed to the EFL students.
1.7. Limitation and Delimitations of the Study
Like other research studies, the present research study was conducted under the following limitation and delimitations:
1.7.1. Limitation of the Study
This study was conducted by a female researcher and according to the rules of schools, female teachers can only teach female students; hence, the findings of the study might not be generalizable to male members of the population.
1.7.2. Delimitations of the Study
The research was conducted in junior high school where the researcher herself and one of her colleagues-cooperating in the treatment- were teachers for many years and had experience of co-teaching several times.
Since at school most of the emphasis of teaching English is on grammatical points, the study focused on the grammatical points.
Also the choice of alternative teaching as one type of co-teaching is other delimitation.
REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE
The origin of using co-teaching goes back to the article wrote by Dunn in about 40 years ago. Dunn (1968) questioned the legitimacy of educating mildly retarded children in separate classrooms. Although the idea proposed by Dunn was originally taken and applied for retarded children, it was also employed for normal classrooms later.
2.2. Theoretical Foundation and History of Co-Teaching
Historically, teaching has been described as a “lonely profession” with teachers working almost in total isolation (Lortie, 1975).
A study by Weiss and Lloyd (2002) found that special education teachers believed that collaboration between a special education teacher and a regular education teacher is necessary for students with disabilities to be included in regular education classrooms. However, a culture of collaboration in a school can be difficult to be created; it is evolutionary and one that takes time to foster, especially between teachers who have traditionally belonged to two different professional and organizational cultures; regular education and special education (Pugach & Johnson, 2002; Skrtic, 1991b).
Scholars have posited various definitions of special education and regular education teacher collaboration. For example, Friend and Cook (2007) define collaboration as “a style for direct interaction between at least two coequal parties voluntarily engaged in shared decision making as they work toward a common goal” (p. 7). Teachers of different disciplines working together collaboratively represent a system’s change in schools today from traditional teaching methods of one teacher assigned to one classroom (Dettmer, Thurston, & Dyck (2002) offer this definition of the special education teacher’s role in collaboration, “A collaborative school consultant is a