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1.Definition of co-teaching/inclusion
Co-teaching was developed to meet requirements set forth for schools. Co-teaching has become one of the most common educational delivery systems since the passing of the Individual with Disabilities Act of 1997 and the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (Rea & Connell, 2005). Co-teaching fulfills the requirements of NCLB and IDEA by promoting inclusive instruction, allowing access to general education curriculum, having all teachers be considered highly qualified, and increasing inclusion of students with disabilities (Scruggs & Mastropieri & MCDuffie, 2007). The following lists many of the common definitions of co-teaching seen in education today:
  • Co-teaching is defined as having a general education and a special education teacher in the same classroom, working with a heterogeneous group of students.
  • In a study done by Dieker in 2001, co-teaching was defined as a model that emphasizes collaboration and communication among all members of the team to ensure that the needs of all students are met. It can also be referred to as collaborative teaching, cooperative teaching, team teaching and, at times, teaming.
  • The classroom teacher acts as the content expert while the special education teacher is the process expert (Friend, 2007).
  • Co-teaching is the sharing of instruction by a general education teacher and a special education teacher or another specialist in a general education class that includes students with disabilities. Co-teaching has evolved rapidly as a strategy for ensuring that these students have access to the same curriculum as other students while still receiving the specialized instruction to which they are entitled (Friend, 2010).
  • According to Villa, R., et al, their definition of co-teaching is having two teachers in the classroom and sharing the responsibility of planning, teaching instructions, and evaluating students of diverse learners (2008).
2. Student Testimonials
“The benefits of having the two-teacher model are that both our teachers have different teaching styles. I like this because we have a hands-on teacher and more of bookwork teacher, and when combined is equivalent to a really quality teacher.” ~ Matt

“Teachers are able to come together to develop more creative ideas.” ~ Jordan

“Having teachers with two different personalities have two different teaching styles.” ~ Chris

“I like the two-teacher model because if one teacher is not available, you can always rely on the other teacher.” ~Catherine

“Co-teaching can be useful because two brains are better than one.” ~ Adam

“Each student learns differently and each teacher teaches differently.” ~ Devyn
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3.Models of co-teaching
There are many different models that can be seen of co-teaching. There were five models that were pretty consistent across most of the research, although a few articles came up with additional models. The most frequently seen models are “ a) Supportive-one teacher drifting and one teacher delivering instruction, b) Complementary-station teaching in which both teachers teach to stations on children, c) Parallel teaching- class split with both teachers teaching, d) alternative teaching and e) Team teaching - both teachers were responsible for the whole class” (Bouck, 2007; Nichols & Dowdy & C. Nichols. 2010; Scruggs & Mastropieri & MCDuffie, 2007; Sileo & Garderen, 2010; Dieker, 2001). It was shown how to use these different models, but research was not done on which model proved to be the most successful. These models do however; blend with research based instructional approaches for struggling students (Sileo & Garderen). Some less mentioned models were the cross-family model, the limited support model and the equal support model where the general and special educator shared the same room and students throughout the whole day (Dieker, 2001).
More in depth descriptions are shown below:
  • Alternative Teaching: One teacher teaches and one teacher re-teaches/pre-teaches a small group.
    • Pro: Special Educator's main focus is on students that require direct instruction
    • Pro: All students, including those with special needs, benefit from small group instruction.
    • Con: It gives the appearance that one person is the teacher and one is the assistant, and the work load is not equitable.
  • Supportive Teaching: Two teachers with one teacher leading and one person supporting students as needed.
    • Pro: Allows the special educator the wiggle room to miss a class due to a crisis or meeting as their presence is not mandatory.
    • Pro: Allows the special educator to provide basic support to diverse learners in the classroom.
    • Pro: One teacher is always listening to students while the other teacher is instructing.
    • Pro: Tutorial can be given as points are missed.
    • Con: It gives the appearance that one person is the teacher and one is the assistant, and the work load is not equitable. It also can cause the special educator to become too focused on a small group of students, therefore singling them out (Thousand, Villa, & Nevin, 2006)
    • Con: This is usually used as a model for beginning co-teachers. It is expected that they will become more comfortable and move away from this model (Thousand, Villa and Nevin, 2008).
  • Parallel Teaching: Two teachers, each leading a small group.
    • Pro: Allows both teachers to work with different students at different time and allows for a mix of groupings based on readiness and interest. There are several variations to this model (Thousand, Villa, & Nevin, 2006).
    • Pro: Smaller ratio of students to teacher, and allows for more interaction.
    • Con: Special Educator might not feel confident with the curriculum and it requires extensive planning. In addition, if the same students are grouped together often, you may form a “class within a class” (Thousand, Villa, & Nevin, 244, 2006).
    • Pro: Both teachers are seen as equal.

  • Complementary Teaching: Two teachers with one teacher adding something that complements the curriculum.
    • Pro: Less planning required
    • Pro: One teacher can write notes on the board while the other teacher lectures, which will help a wider variety of students.
    • Pro: Allows for pre-teaching (Thousand, Villa and Nevin, 2008).
    • Con: Gives the appearance that one person is the teacher and one is the assistant and the work load is not equitable. Their may also be a concern that the regular educatort knows

  • Team Teaching: 100% equity between two teachers. Each is responsible for the half the planning, instructing, and assessing.
    • Pro: Equitable work load and best approach for students
    • Pro: Students do not become bored listening to one teacher all the time.
    • Con: Requires both teachers to be comfortable with content (certification in the content area), requires extensive planning time, and requires a unique partnership based on respect for each other's philosophies.
4.Benefits of co-teaching
It has been shown that students pulled from a general education setting and taught in small group classes do not benefit from instruction and expertise of the content area teachers (Kohler-Evans, 2006). Co-teaching fixes this flaw and allows for more students to benefit form the expertise and instruction of content area teachers. It is also difficult for the content area teachers to possess the expertise to address all of the needs of students (Kohler-Evans, 2006). By co-teaching students are getting the best of both worlds. The addition of a Special Education teacher allows for the success of more students and allows for their needs to be met. It has been seen that many more students with learning disabilities are now being included in general education settings, this has significantly changed the attitude of peers toward these students, which alone is a huge benefit (Weiss, 2004).
Benefits for teachers and students are shown below:
  • Benefits for Teachers:
    • Working collaboratively with people from different departments
    • Having someone to bounce ideas off of
    • Learning best practices and instructional strategies from another educator with a different area of expertise (Murawski and Dieker, 2004)
    • Classroom management is easier due to better planning, better instruction, and two sets of eyes in the classroom
    • Special educator helps regular educator to learn about disabilities and instructional strategies
    • Handle and diminish behavioral distractions in the classroom, leading to less office referrals and more time on learning for the student (Schwab Learning, 2003)
  • Benefits for Students:
    • Lowers teacher-student ratio, allowing better personalization of learning (Friend, 2007)
    • Students have to opportunity to be taught by a highly-qualified content expert as well as highly-qualified learning styles expert (Friend, 2007).
    • Encourages diversity, respect, and student understanding that people are unique and special
    • Facilitates an environment where strengths and weaknesses are recognized and celebrated
    • Collaborative teaching provides students with modeling of how to work collaborative (Thousand, Villa, & Nevin, 2006)
    • Provides the opportunity for all students to demonstrate mastery along the high standards of the regular education curriculum (Friend, 2007)
    • Improved performance on standardized test (Thousand, Villa, & Nevin, 2006)
    • Provides students with disabilities good peer role models as well as a better opportunity for socialization (Walther-Thomas, 1997)
    • Murawski and Dieker (2004) suggest that although co-teaching benefits students with disabilities, it is also likely to positively impact the learning of all the other students in the classroom as well.
5.Challenges of co-teaching
At the high school level, there are a variety of challenges with co-teaching. There are more obstacles for high school co-teachers because of the importance of knowledge in the content area, independent study skills, pacing guide for instruction, high stakes testing (MCAS), along with many more. Co-teachers seem to struggle with appropriate planning time, support from administration, amount of professional development in this area, and class size. Teacher can struggle with which method of co-teaching is suitable for both the students and teachers (Keefe, 2004). More challenges or obstacles of co-teaching are listed below:
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a.Planning/Scheduling
  • Lack of common planning time (Friend, 2007)
  • In addition, co-teaching teams are often assigned after the master schedule is built, leading to the need to change the schedules of special education students and teachers alike (Murawski & Dieker, 2004).
b.Sharing a classroom
  • Differing philosophies
  • Murawski and Dieker (2004) point out that "Secondary teachers by nature often are more territorial because of the subject-specific environment, and are often accustomed to teaching in isolation" (p.54).
  • Personality conflicts within the co-teaching partnership (especially when one or both of the parties involved did not want to co-teach)
c. Miscellaneous
  • Lack of administrative support
  • Other staff members not understating the demands of a co-teaching assignment
  • Co-teaching assignments being changed year to year (Thousand, Villa, & Nevin, 2006)
  • One of the teachers being looked at as the "teacher" while the other teacher is looked at as being the "assistant".
  • Need for extensive professional development (Friend, 2007)
6.Strategies used in a co-taught classroom
Strategies that are used in the classroom benefit and assist students to learn to their potential. Students with disabilities are expected to learn the same content as students without disabilities within the same classroom. By using some of the strategies listed below, students with or without disabilities are able to learn and succeed in the content area in a co-taught classroom. Many of the strategies are listed in a student's Individual Education Plan; to ensure that the accommodations are being used in order for students with disabilities to have the chance to succeed with their peers in a regular education classroom (Wendy, M. W., & Lisa, D. A., 2004). Strategies that are used in a co-taught classroom are listed in the categories below:
  • Instruction Materials
    • Graphic organizers
    • Study guides
    • Class notes (teacher notes provided to student as needed)
    • Rubrics
    • Use of agenda book/homework sheets
    • Books on CD/MP3
    • Assistive technology (Kurzweil, Dragon, Ipad, etc)
  • Instructional Strategies
    • Fluid cooperative learning groupings based on interest and readiness
    • Individual attention and precise constructive feedback
    • Directions and instruction in a multi-modal manner, clarified as needed
    • Making connections to prior knowledge and personal interest
    • Instruction in study skills and organizational management
    • Previewing and reviewing of essential vocabulary
    • Activators and summarizers
  • Assessment Strategies
    • Use of backward planning model
    • Formative Assessment
    • Varied forms of assessment (written and oral tests, presentations, projects, self assessment)
    • Chunking and breaking down of long term projects and summative assessment, with frequent check-ins and specific due dates
7. Tips for Effective Co-Teachingmethode_site.png
As discussed earlier, there are several road-blocks that can impact the success and/or failure of a co-teaching assignment. Although teachers can not control certain aspects such as administrative support or scheduling, they can use strategies that will aid them in other areas. A strong co-teaching team begins with the teachers getting to know each other prior to their first time in the classroom together (Murawski & Dieker, 2004). It is important that they discuss their teaching philosophies, classroom management styles, and overall goals for the course. Additional tips are noted below:
  • Establish collaborative goals (Villa, Thousand and Nevin, 2006)
  • Get along with your co-teacher. Students notice and it helps to establish a culture of cooperative learning and respect.
  • Always keep equitability in mind; if you say you are going to do something, be reliable and do it.
  • Recognize and embrace differences within your collective teaching styles and the students learning styles (Villa, Thousand and Nevin, 2006)
  • Be consistent in your approach to classroom management, student issues, and parent communication
  • Visit other co-taught classrooms to get ideas (Friend, 2007)
  • Keep communication open between teachers and resolve or manage any conflicts as they occur (Villa, Thousand, & Nevin, 2008)
8. What Co-Teaching Looks Like
Co-Teaching
Co-Teaching
Co-Teaching Planning

9. References
Bouck, E. C. (2007, Winter). Co-teaching...not just a textbook term: implications for practice. Preventing School Failure, 51(2), 46-51.
Dieker, L. A. (2001, Fall). What are the characteristics of effective middle and high school co-taught teams for students with disabilities? Preventing School Failure, 46 (1), 14-23.

Friend, M. (2007, February). The co-teaching partnership. Educational Leadership, 48-52.

Friend, M., Cook, L., Hurley-Chamberlain, D., & Shamberger, C. "Co-Teaching: AnIllustration of the complexity of collaboration in special education ." Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 20 (2010): 9-27.

Keefe, E., & Moore, V. (2004). The Challenge of Co-Teaching in Inclusive Classrooms at The High School Level: What the Teachers Told us. American Secondary Education, 32(3),
Kohler-evans, P. A. (2006). Co-teaching: how to make this marriage work in front of the kids. Education, 127(2), 260-264.

Mahony, M. (1997). Small victories in an inclusive classroom. Educational Leadership, 54(7), 59-62.

Nichols, J., Dowdy, A., & Nichols, C. (2010). Co-teaching: an educational promise for children with disabilities or a quick fix to meet the mandates of no child left behind? Education, 130(4), 647-651.

Rea, P. J., & Connell, J. (2005, September). Minding the fine points of co-teaching. Principal Leadership, 29-35.

Rice, N., Drame, E., Owens, L., & Frattuna, E. M. (2007, July/August). Co-Instructingat the secondary level . Teaching Exceptional Children, 12-17.

Schwab Learning. (2003). Collaboratively speaking. A study on effecitve ways to teachchildren with learning differences in the general education classroom. The Special Dge, 16(3).

Scruggs, T. E., Mastropieri, M. A., & Mcduffie, K. A. (2007, Summer). Co-teaching ininclusive classrooms: a metasynthesis of qualitative research. Teaching Exceptional Children, 73(4), 392-416.

Sileo, J. M., & Garderen, D. V. (2010, January/‌February). Creating optimal opportunities to learn mathematics. Council for Exceptional Children, 14-21.

Thousand, J. S., Villa, R. A., & Nevin, A. I. (2006). The many faces of collaborativeplanning and teaching. Theory Into Practice , 45(3), 239-247.

Villa, R. A., Thousand, J. S., & Nevin, A. I. (2008). A Guide to co-teaching: Practicaltips for facilitating student learning (2nd ed.).Thousand Oaks,CA: A JointPublication.

Wendy, M. W., & Lisa, D. A. (2004, May/June). Tips and strategies for co-teaching atthe secondary level . Teaching Exceptional Children, 52-58.

Weiss, M. P. (2004, May/‌June). Co-teaching as science in the schoolhouse: more questions than answers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37(3), 218-223.