Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Part 2-What is Partnership Teaching and does it really work?

What is Partnership Teaching for EAL (English as an Additional Language)/EMA (Ethnic Minority Achievement)?

Bourne and McPake said  in 1991 that The Partnership Teaching is when subject teacher and EAL/EMA specialist or groups of teachers working together to plan and to develop the lessons to all students’ language needs and abilities irrespective of whether they are bilingual or not. This definition goes parallel with DCSF’s, (2009) ‘Personalized learning and teaching is being taking a highly structured and responsive approach to each child’s and young person’s learning, in order that all are able to progress, achieve and participate.’  

Subject teachers are expected to teach an inclusive curriculum in order to raise the achievement of bilingual students in their subjects. If they have EAL specialists in class, they are likely to have reduced planning time and more input of knowledge. Through the partnership teaching, there should be an established and successful learning and teaching cycle. In addition, teachers’ knowledge, expertise and skills should be shared.

According to Bourne (1989), a good teacher is an effective mainstream teacher who works towards promoting the language development of all pupils in the classroom.

The difference of Partnership teaching

The student orientated approach aims of a particular kind of EAL student pedagogy. Levine saw mixed ability teaching in mainstream classrooms as a potentially effective response to meeting the language learning needs of EAL pupils. He emphasised the importance of ‘letting children have their own voice’. The language teaching agenda for the teacher in this conceptualising is essentially pupil-led in that the kind of teacher intervention made is dependent on the needs or problems shown in the active work of the EAL student. Classroom pedagogy is conceptualised in terms of learner active engagement. This perspective has been given further elaboration in the officially promoted Partnership Teaching model in Britain.
I agree with Bourne when she says ‘Learning is best achieved through enquiry based activities involving discussion; and pair/ small group work would be one of the best activities for creating such opportunities.

In Partnership Teaching, teachers’ high expectations, a suitable range of learning and teaching strategies, appropriate resources which are ‘sensitive to students’ cultural heritage and good assessment and recording procedures help raising the achievement and attainment level of students. In addition, I believe that it is one of the best methods for EMA/EAL teachers to reach to ‘a good teacher’ status‘ as it is described earlier in Bourne’s (1989) different models of collaboration.

Bourne and McPake in A. Creese, make a distinction between support teaching and partnership teaching.
Support teaching involves the language-support teacher working with a targeted child or children in a lesson in which the curriculum is planned and delivered by the subject teacher. The intermediary position of co-operative teaching in contrast, involves the two teachers planning the curriculum and teaching strategies together, taking account of the needs of all children in the class. The teachers have equal status and shared responsibilities, taking it in turns to lead the class.   

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