Interview With Authors of Collaboration and Co-Teaching: Strategies fo
Feb 22, 2011 English Language Learning (ELL) 2061 Views
Recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Andrea Honigsfeld and Dr. Maria Dove, who were gracious enough to provide readers of the Teachers' Diversity Coach, insights and information on teacher collaboration and on their new book, Collaboration and Co-teaching: Strategies for English Learners. In the past few years, collaboration between general education teachers and ESL teachers who teach English language learners is emerging as a highly important development that is helping teachers of ELL students address the problems of how to support this diverse student population more academically. So without further ado, let me present you with Dr. Maria Dove and Andrea Honigsfeld.
1.Teachers' Diversity Coach: Tell us a bit about your new book and what inspired/led you both to write it? What specific angle of collaboration do you focus on and why?
MD: Our new book is entitled Collaboration and Coteaching: Strategies for English Learners and it was published by Corwin Press in August 2010. Much has been written about the cognitive, academic language needs of ELLs. Many guidebooks and professional development materials have been produced on teacher collaboration and co-teaching for inclusive classrooms. Similarly, much has been published about effective strategies mainstream teachers can use to offer more culturally and linguistically responsive instruction for ELLs. However, very few resources are available to help general education teachers and ESL specialists to collaborate effectively on all grade levels to support ELLs' academic, linguistic, literacy, and sociocultural development. This book fills that gap and offers a user-friendly, comprehensive guide that considers all levels and types of collaboration, both instructional and noninstructional.
AH: Recognizing that a variety of ESL program models, diverse local needs, and considerable regional differences in ESL services exist, we respond to this diversity in our book by addressing current collaborative practices from informal and occasional exchanges of teaching ideas, to systemic or formal initiatives such as curriculum alignment and parallel teaching, to the highest level of collaboration, which is co-teaching or team teaching.
2. TDC: Since you are writing a book on collaboration, I'd be interested in reading about the journey of your collaboration. What brought you together to write this book?
MD: This is an interesting question. We have known each other for over 7 years, though we both have been working on the topic of collaboration throughout our entire careers. We begin with casual conversations, sharing our passion for collaborative practices in a field that we knew were occurring in a variety of districts. We both felt strongly that we need to validate collaborative practices and started our own research on the topic.
AH: Gradually over the years, we started to have more formal opportunities to collaborate such as developing graduate education TESOL courses for Molloy College, offering professional development programs in Long Island school districts, and presenting at local, state, and national conferences. Our combined experiences led to writing our recently published Corwin Press book as well as two new projects related to co-teaching: we are coeditors of an upcoming volume to be published by Information Age Publishing in 2011 entitled Coteaching and Other Collaborative Practices in the EFL/ESL Classroom: Rationale, Research, Reflection, and Recommendations. We also are the invited guest editors of the fall 2012 Special topic Issue of the TESOL Journal.
3. TDC: How does this book fill a void for teachers and the struggles they are facing with their English language learners?
MD: We firmly believe that teachers can no longer work in isolation. Yet, they may not have the skills and strategies to work collaboratively.
AH: We offer practical guidelines on how to effectively collaborate and engage in co-teaching with the ESL specialist to offer better services for all students. The book is written in a user friendly voice and is structured around the key questions of who, what, where, when, how, and why related to collaboration and ends with a chapter addressing what should happen next (evaluation).
4.TDC: What do you feel are some of the challenges implementing collaborative models in schools for teachers of English language learners at the elementary, middle and high school ages? At which stage of teaching/learning do you feel collaboration would be most beneficial for the academic progress of English language learners?
MD: Time is the number one challenge that teachers cite as being problematic when implementing collaborative practices. In our book we suggest ways to create opportunities for teachers to meet during the school day.
TDC: Finally, please direct the readers of the Teachers' Diversity Coach to more information about you and your work and where they can order the book. Any additional readings and resources on the topic of collaboration specifically how it pertains to supporting English language learners would be appreciated.
AH: Our book is available from Corwin Press directly.