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Don’t Give Up!. Practical Strategies for Challenging Collaboration Sharon Cramer Jan Stivers Presented by Vedia Page, Jennifer Humphrey & Suzy Flack . Objectives. Provide information about the primary goals of co-teaching and collaboration tips and strategies for co-teaching

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Don t give up

Don’t Give Up!

Practical Strategies for Challenging Collaboration

Sharon Cramer

Jan Stivers

Presented by Vedia Page, Jennifer Humphrey & Suzy Flack



  • information about the primary goals of co-teaching and collaboration

  • tips and strategies for co-teaching

  • strategies on how to deal with difficult co-teaching relationships


  • awareness of effective co-teaching characteristics

Case Studies in Co-Teaching in the Content Areas: Successes, Failures and ChallengesM. Mastropieri, T. Scruggs, J. Gretz, J. Norland, W. Gardizi, and K. McDuffie

Primary Goals of Co-teaching and Collaboration Include:

  • Providing a wider range of instructional options for student with disabilities

  • Enhancing participation of students with disabilities in the general education classroom

  • Enhancing the performance of student with disabilities

Tips and strategies for co teaching at the secondary level murawski dieker 2004
Tips and Strategies for Co-Teaching at the Secondary Level Failures and ChallengesMurawski & Dieker 2004

“Co-teaching is a method by which educators can meet the needs of students with and without disabilities who are struggling…”

Prepare to co-teach

  • Assess the current environment- What type of collaboration currently exists?

  • Move in Slowly- What is the joint understanding of co-teaching as a service delivery model?

  • Involve an administrator- Can the administrator be counted on for support?

  • Get to know your partner

  • Create a workable schedule

Once a team is formed
Once a team is formed Failures and Challenges

  • Cooperation in the planning stage

    • Get administrator support in scheduling common planning periods

    • If common planning is not possible consider meeting during: student activities, lunch, before/after school, early/late start school days, or request a substitute

    • Discuss what will be taught

    • Use a pre-made co-teaching plan book

    • Include days when the Special Education teacher will take the lead

    • Ask the general education teacher to provide an overview of content, curriculum, and standards

Instructional Failures and Challenges

  • Discuss learning style preferences

  • Develop unobtrusive signals for one another (general and special education teacher) to communicate

  • Give students short “brain breaks” to process information

  • Vary instruction practices

  • Create signals with students that are consistent

  • Post a structured agenda for the class

  • Use disagreements and discussions about content for modeling appropriate communication techniques

Characteristic of successful co teaching
Characteristic of Successful Co-Teaching Failures and Challenges

  • Outstanding working relationships between special education and general education teachers

  • Strengths as motivators

  • Time allocated for planning

  • Appropriate curriculum

  • Effective instructional skills

  • Disability-specific teaching adaptations

  • Expertise in content-area

Scenario Failures and Challenges

  • Identify the problems that were inhibiting collaboration.

  • How did the individual adjust her thinking?

  • What would you do?

What would you do
What would you do? Failures and Challenges

When I started to work on improving our relationship, I decided to pick a problem I faced with my co-teacher. She loves to complain about the school administration. It makes me very uncomfortable: especially since I think her criticisms are exaggerated and sometimes unfair. But I didn’t want to do or say anything to alienate her, because she is a good teacher for my students. As I learned about collaboration, I realized that I couldn’t control her complaining, but I could control my response. I learned to avoid responding to her complaints as a result our prep period is less stressful for me. The change is that I don’t let it get to me anymore. I just accept it as part of her style, something I’m willing to accommodate in the interest of preserving a relationship that serve my students well. It was important to me to learn that we can work together, even if we are not completely compatible.

Assessment Failures and Challenges

  • Did you learn any new co-teaching “tips” or strategies today?

  • What are the top common three characteristics of effective co-teaching?

  • Identify one co-teaching “tip” or strategy discussed today that you believe you (or your teams or school) could begin implementing with ease.

  • Do you agree with the major goal of co-teaching and collaboration discussed today? Why or why not?

  • Think of a difficult co-teaching relationship that you were or are a part of, did you employ anything different from or in addition to the effective strategies discussed today? If so, briefly describe one.