As a math specialist I often get asked which is better... push-in or pull-out interventions. Today I am linking up with a bunch of great bloggers to share with you all kinds of things you might like to know about. You can check out other blog posts by checking out the links at the bottom of this post.
Let's take a look at the pros and cons of each intervention method
To me, the best part of the push-in model of intervention is that I really get to know all of the kids in a class. When I am there for co-teaching whole group lessons and available for small group instruction I get to know and work with a wide range of kids. The groupings can be more flexible and there is a great sense of teamwork with the classroom teacher. There is a great opportunity to follow a guided math structure and having two adults in the room makes things run very efficiently. It is also a great way to learn from another professional and see new teaching strategies. When I do push-in interventions, I am the person moving between rooms rather than the students which certainly saves transition time. Push-in instruction also means all the materials kids need for that subject are in one place. Finally, it provides more consistency in terms of classroom rules and routines.
There are several things that can be very challenging with a push-in model for intervention. If the classroom teacher and the interventionist have different ideas about classroom management, it can present a challenge. If one teacher is very laid back with management while the other is very consistent and on top of things it can be tough to co-teach and co-exist in the same room. Also, noise and distractions can be more of a problem especially as class size increases.
ProsThe very best part about pull-out intervention is having a quiet, focused place to do it. It is a small group of kids and at least in my case, I have my own mini-classroom to work in and there are not any distractions from other groups, students or teachers. If I am using specific materials for a particular intervention I can leave them in one place and know they won't get moved by another teacher or kid. Many of my favorite intervention materials like my place value decks and number puzzles are also used by teachers in the classroom so I can access most of my favorite things regardless of where I am. When kids come to my room, they get a change of scenery and a quick break as they walk to my room which is always nice. I also am in control of classroom management in my own space and I have to say, I really like having things my way.
The thing I miss most when I do pull-out interventions is the co-teaching relationship I have with the classroom teacher. I also have a very packed schedule and if I am not in a teacher's classroom, it can be hard to catch up with how students are doing and what we are working on. I also find during pull out interventions the groups are much less flexible and I tend to end up with the same kids over and over again. There also seems to be a bit more of lost instruction time waiting for kids to come to me or having to go to their classrooms and wait for them to be ready to go. There are also some kids who seem to get lost on their way from their classroom to my room.
My General Rules for Intervention
In general, I find push-in intervention to be the most effective way for me to deliver math services. I love getting to know all the kids in the school and I really enjoy collaborating with other teachers. Co-teaching and sharing kids can be a great way to increase the learning of all students. I am very good at getting along with other educators and have spent a lot of time developing relationships with the folks I work with. When you first start with a push-in model there is certainly a learning curve as you figure out the other teachers styles, preferences, strengths and weaknesses. After a decade of working with many of the same teachers, I have strong co-teaching relationships and can be very effective teaching with the people I know so well. Our school also tends to have smaller class sizes which really help make push-in instruction less distracting and more effective.
Despite the fact that I really love push-in interventions, I still do some pull-out interventions. There are some days that the push-in model is not effective and there are some kids whose needs are so specific that they need to be in another room or near different materials to have their needs met. The best part about my job has been the flexibility I have to move between the push-in and pull out models.
I work almost exclusively with math but feel that many of these pros and cons still hold true for literacy interventions as well. If you are looking for the perspective of a literacy person on this matter, you might want to check out Amy's post over at Eclectic Educating. Amy is a reading specialist who has had experience with both kids of interventions.
How does intervention work in your school? What method do you prefer? Please respond in the comments below!
Check out these other great blog posts about things you oughta know! Tell them the Math Maniac sent you!