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Co-Teaching 101: A Beginning. Presented by Janice Putman and Maureen Rauscher Improvement Consultants . Participants should be able to:. Define co-teaching and distinguish it from other concepts related to inclusive practices;

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co teaching 101 a beginning

Co-Teaching 101:A Beginning

Presented by

Janice Putman and

Maureen Rauscher

Improvement Consultants

participants should be able to
Participantsshould be able to:
  • Define co-teaching and distinguish it from other concepts related to inclusive practices;
  • Explain the rationale for co-teaching, the benefits and pitfalls;
participants should be able to3
Participants should be able to:
  • Discuss how collaboration enhances co-teaching and outline strategies for developing a collaborative co-teaching relationship;
  • Clarify the personal, pedagogical and discipline-specific qualities and skills that co-teachers need to possess;
participants should be able to4
Participants should be able to:
  • Apply six approaches for co-teaching to classroom practice and outline issues that co-teachers should periodically discuss to monitor and enhance their practice.
  • Know how to evaluate and improve their co-teaching practices.
research based practice
Research-Based Practice

Material presented today will be based on research by:

  • Co-teaching Marilyn Friend
  • Change Margaret Wheatley
  • Interpersonal Styles Anita DeBoer
  • Co-planning Lisa A. Dieker
defining co teaching
Defining Co-Teaching

Co-teaching occurs when two or more professionals jointly deliver substantive instruction to a diverse, or blended, group of students in a single physical space.

Cook and Friend, 1995

what is co teaching8
What is co-teaching?

Co-teaching is first and foremost an approach for meeting the educational needs of students with diverse learning abilities.

Cook & Friend, 1995

what is co teaching9
What is co-teaching?

Co-teaching is a service delivery option for providing special education or related services to students with disabilities or other special needs while they remain in their general education classes.

Friend & Cook


what is co teaching10
What is co-teaching?

Co-teaching occurs when two or more teachers, one general educator and the other a special service provider (e.g. special education, related services, ELL, reading) share physical space in order to actively instruct a blended group of students, including students with disabilities.

what s the difference
What’s the difference?
  • Co-teaching
  • Class-within-a-class
  • Collaboration
  • Paraprofessional Assigned to Class
co teaching vs other delivery options
Co-teaching Vs. Other Delivery Options
  • Who plans the lessons?
  • Who provides the instruction to all students?
  • Do both teachers interact with all parents, or are students divided into groups (yours and mine)?
  • Who determines grades for all students?
  • Who makes adaptations and does follow up?
co teaching is a service delivery system in which
Co-teaching is a service delivery system, in which:
  • Two (or more) professionally credentialed staff
  • Share instructional responsibility
  • For a single group of students
  • Primarily in a single classroom or workspace
co teaching definition continued
Co-teaching Definition (continued)
  • To teach required curriculum
  • With mutual ownership, pooled resources, and joint accountability
  • Although each individual’s level of participation may vary.

Marilyn Friend (2007)

co teaching is not
Co-teaching is not:
  • An extra set of hands in the classroom;
  • The general education teacher providing instruction as if she or he was teaching alone while the special educator roams;
  • Two individuals taking turns teaching;
co teaching is not16
Co-teaching is not:
  • An individual pulling a small group of students aside to deliver instruction completely separate from that being provided to the rest of the class.
  • Shoring up incompetent staff.
why co teach
Why co-teach?
  • Teachers with different specialties, e.g. general and special education, can better meet the needs of a diverse population of students.
  • “Co-teaching should result in direct instructional and social benefits for students who have IEPs.”

Friend and Cook, 2007

why co teach19
Why co-teach?
  • Special educators have developed a tendency to “own” students on IEPs which decreases participation of general ed teachers in collaborative problem solving
  • General educators have more ownership when they have background knowledge and a chance to participate in the decisions
pros of co teaching
Pros of Co-Teaching
  • All children learn from each other
    • Typical children become more accepting of individual differences
    • Improved self-esteem for special needs students
    • All students exposed to a variety of teaching styles and strategies
    • Students have role models
pros of co teaching21
Pros of Co-Teaching
  • Provides for highly qualified teachers in the least restrictive environment
  • Provides a “strategies expert” for ALL students who are having difficulty
  • Students become active learners through frequent interaction and feedback.
student benefits of co teaching
Student Benefits of Co-Teaching
  • Cohesive programming occurs when connections are made between students’ individual needs and the regular classroom curriculum.
  • Individualization of instruction increases.
student benefits of co teaching23
Student Benefits of Co-Teaching
  • Research indicates that special education students score higher on achievement tests when they are exposed to content knowledge in a regular education classroom.
why co teaching why now
Why co-teaching? Why now?
  • IDEA and NCLB requirements
    • Gives students access to highly qualified subject- matter teachers (HQT)
    • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
    • Access to general education curriculum
    • Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP)
why co teaching why now25
Why co-teaching? Why now?
  • Wider range of instructional alternatives for all students
  • Reduces fragmentation of learning
  • Enhances the participation of students with special needs as full classroom members
why co teaching why now26
Why co-teaching? Why now?
  • Creates conditions in which students with disabilities and other groups can make AYP
  • Provides powerful support for the professionals who teach
  • Reduces stigma for students
inclusive schools
Inclusive Schools. . .

Don’t ask, “How does this student have to change in order to be in this class?” But rather, “How do we have to change in order to offer full membership to our students with disabilities?”

how can co teaching help meet students needs
How can co-teaching help meet students’ needs?

Can any one teacher meet the educational, social and physical needs of all students?

benefits of co teaching
Benefits of Co-Teaching
  • Shared responsibility for educating all students
  • Shared understanding and use of common assessment data
  • Shared ownership for programming and interventions
benefits of co teaching32
Benefits of Co-Teaching
  • Creating common understanding
  • Teachers learn from each other
  • Collegial relationships are created along with professional development
benefits of co teaching33
Benefits of Co-Teaching
  • Resources are shared
  • Management strategies are more consistent with frequent feedback
  • Individualization of instruction is fostered with multiple views of the students
  • Must provide team planning time
  • High ratios of students-teachers
  • People’s perceptions and expectations
  • Speed of curriculum
  • Behavior
  • Scheduling issues
building bridges
Building Bridges

Walking across the bridge, leaving the familiar ground of working alone, is the first act of collaboration. All parties are on neutral territory, with the security of knowing they can return to land better, stronger and changed. And perhaps they will return to the same side of the bridge even though they started from opposite sides.

Steele, Bell, & George, 2005

points to ponder
Points to Ponder
  • What has been your experience with co-teaching?
  • What role is co-teaching playing in your schools’ efforts to address the requirements of NCLB and IDEA?
  • When you think about co-teaching, what are the concerns or questions you have?
co teaching approaches
Co –teaching Approaches
  • One Teach, One Observe
  • Station Teaching
  • Parallel Teaching
  • Alternative Teaching
  • Team Teaching
  • One Teach, One Assist
one teach one observe
One Teach, One Observe

One teacher teaches and the other systematically collects data on a student, group of students or entire class on behaviors the professionals have previously agreed upon.


One Teach

One Observe

one teach one observe43
One Teach, One Observe


  • Opportunity for observation of students and data collection
      • Jointly decided specifics to observe and analyze in advance
      • Both professionals should discuss the results of the observations
  • Deepen understanding of each other’s teaching styles
  • Requires little joint planning
one teach one observe44
One Teach, One Observe

Drawbacks, if used to excess:

  • Special service provider is relegated to the role of assistant
  • Students do not see teachers as having equivalent responsibility and authority

Recommended Use:

Periodic (5-10%)

station teaching
Station Teaching

Students in groups of three or more rotate to various teacher-led and independent work stations where new instruction, review, and/or practice is provided. Students may work at all stations during the rotation


Teacher 2

Group 2

Teacher 1

  • Computer center
  • Silent reading
  • Project table
  • Assessment table

Group 3

Group 1

Students move rotating to each group

station teaching47
Station Teaching


  • Involves both educators in instruction
  • Enables a clear division of labor for planning and teaching
  • Allows for different teaching styles
  • Students benefit from a lower teacher-pupil ratio
  • Students with disabilities are integrated into groups, rather than singled out
station teaching48
Station Teaching


  • Noise and movement within the classroom
      • Teachers or students may be distracted by two teachers talking in the classroom at the same time.
  • Teachers need to think about how to divide instruction. Hierarchical material cannot be presented using this approach.
  • Lessons must be timed so groups can move as scheduled.

Recommended Use: Frequent (30-40%)

parallel teaching
Parallel Teaching

Students are divided into two heterogeneous groups. Each partner teaches a group essentially the same material.


Teacher 1

Both teachers teach the same content in the same room simultaneously

Teacher 2

parallel teaching51
Parallel Teaching


  • Lowers the teacher-student ratio, while insuring diversity in each group;
  • Is good for review, drill-and-practice activities, topics needing student discussion, or projects needing close teacher supervision.
parallel teaching52
Parallel Teaching


  • Cannot be used for initial instruction unless both educators are qualified to teach the material (primarily at the high school level)
  • Noise and activity levels need to be monitored;
  • Teachers need to pace instruction similarly
  • Requires that both teachers are familiar with content and how to teach it

Recommended Use:

Frequent (30-40%)

alternative teaching
Alternative Teaching

One teacher works with a small group of students, while the other instructs the large group in some content or activity that the small group can afford to miss.


Teacher 2

Whole group




Special interest

Small group

Teacher 1

alternative teaching55
Alternative Teaching


  • Provides highly intensive instruction;
  • Ensures that all students get to interact with a teacher in a small group;
  • May assist with reducing behavior problems with some students;
alternative teaching56
Alternative Teaching


  • Students with disabilities may be stigmatized by being grouped repeatedly for preteaching or re-teaching
  • Each teacher must take turns working with the small group or may be viewed as an assistant
  • The same students must not repeatedly selected for the small group. Documentation must be kept so all students may participate

Recommended Use:

Occasional (20-30%)

team teaching
Team Teaching

Partners plan and share instruction of all students, whether it occurs in a large group, in monitoring students working independently, or in facilitating groups of students working on shared projects.

Marilyn Friend



  • Shared planning and instruction by both teachers for the large group
  • Allows teachers to play off one another
  • Can be energizing and entertaining


  • Loss of the valuable instructional technique of grouping;
  • May not be comfortable for new partnerships of teachers.

Recommended Use:

Occasional (20-30%)

one teach one assist
One Teach, One Assist

One teaches while the other supports the instructional process by assisting students who need redirection or who have questions.


Teacher 1

Teacher 2

one teach one assist63
One Teach, One Assist


  • Allows for individual and classroom support during a lesson
  • Allows for more effective and efficient instruction while one can check student responses and carry out management tasks such as distributing materials
one teach one assist64
One Teach, One Assist


  • Has the greatest potential to be over-used and abused, with little benefit to the students over a traditional, one-teacher classroom
  • May distract students from attending to the teacher during instruction

Recommended Use:

Seldom (<20%, <10% is better)

concerns to expect
Concerns to Expect
  • Special ed teacher is intimidated by the content and protective of students with IEPs
  • Content teacher is intimidated by wider range of students’ needs or over turf issues
concerns to expect66
Concerns to Expect
  • Philosophical differences between teachers
  • Lack of enough planning time
  • Questions from parents
sources of failure
Sources of Failure
  • Failing to distinguish clearly among the roles of the various adults who might be in the classroom---teachers, related service providers, paraprofessionals, student teachers, volunteers.
  • Basing co-teaching on the preferences of the staff rather than on clear standards, expectations and the needs of the students.
sources of failure68
Sources of Failure
  • Teachers lack personal prerequisites, e.g. ability to give up control.
  • Teachers lack pedagogical prerequisites, e.g. failure to understand the educational process and culture.
  • Teachers lack professional prerequisites, e.g. expertise in their discipline.
sources of failure69
Sources of Failure
  • Teachers lack a collaborative relationship
  • There are no specific plans for accomplishing their goals.
  • Lack of planning/designing instruction
  • Failure to implement instruction and co-teaching with fidelity
selecting a co teaching approach
Selecting A Co-Teaching Approach
  • Student characteristics and needs
  • Teacher characteristics and needs
  • Curriculum, including content and instructional strategies
  • Pragmatic considerations
co teaching models
Co-teaching Models
  • Which of the 6 co-teaching models do you see yourself using within the next month?
  • What lesson(s) would be most effective for utilizing the selected co-teaching model?
  • What needs to happen prior to using this model with students?
  • How are you going to evaluate the effectiveness of the lesson and model?
periods of change are not easy
Periods of Change Are Not Easy. . .
  • Requires commitment to alter practice
  • No change is completely orderly
    • Requires a period of “chaos” from which the new practices evolve
    • Strive for “planned change”

Margaret Wheatley

Leadership and the New Science

we can t do what we ve always done and expect better results
We can’t do what we’ve always done and expect better results.
  • To improve, you must change what you are currently doing.
    • Get rid of some old habits
    • Learn some new strategies
  • To have all students LEARN, we must change what we do in education.
change is about results
Change is about RESULTS

Webster defines “results” as “a measurable success”

if you want different results
If you want different results…
  • Start with the END GOAL
    • What do you want the end results to be?
    • Ask, “What steps are needed to reach our goal?”
to get different results
To get different results
  • Must have a shift in thinking
  • Must do something different
  • Results are about CHANGE

Definition of Insanity

Doing what you’ve always done and expecting different results.

Albert Einstein

fundamental change is
Fundamental change is. . .

Giving up some of the past which results in a new way of doing our work—a change in performance.

“If you continue to think the way you’ve always thought, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten.”


changes with co teaching
Changes with co-teaching
  • As you embark on co-teaching, what changes do you anticipate that you will need to make?
  • What are your personal concerns?
  • What steps can you take to be proactive in resolving these concerns with your co-teacher(s)?
what makes a successful team
What makes a successful team?

Individual Prerequisites:

  • Can work effectively with another adult
    • Sense of humor
    • Willingness to set aside differences
  • Set of common knowledge and skills
  • Discipline-specific knowledge and skills
what makes a successful team80
What makes a successful team?
  • Shared philosophy/core beliefs
  • The professional relationship is based on:
    • Parity
    • Communication
    • Respect
    • Trust
what makes a successful team81
What makes a successful team?
  • Co-teachers make a commitment to building and maintaining their professional relationship.
what are some of your beliefs
What are some of your beliefs?

Compare ideas about management strategies. How are you alike and how are you different?

  • Consider items such as:
    • Noise level
    • Movement in the classroom
    • Use of whiteboards and other resources
  • Compare ideas on:
    • Assignments
    • Homework
    • Teaching methods
    • Teaching strategies etc.
    • Grading
common beliefs
Common beliefs
  • Consider factors which will influence the co-teaching experience. Which beliefs would enhance or impede the co-teaching process?
  • If you and your partner differ, how are you going to work together to make co-teaching work?

Co-teachers thought the following were critical:

  • Teachers should have a voice in choosing their teaching partners;
  • Teachers’ ability to get along was a critical factor in co-teaching success.

Keefe, Moore & Duff Study (2004)

planning for instruction
Planning for Instruction
  • Teachers need shared planning time, macro and on-going.
  • Always have an agenda for shared planning meetings.
  • Realize there will never be “enough” time.
planning for instruction87
Planning for Instruction
  • This is where the alignment of special, ELL and general education occurs
  • Make this time as focused as possible
  • Take turns taking the lead in planning and facilitating
provide weekly scheduled co planning time
Provide Weekly Scheduled Co- Planning Time
  • Co-Teaching teams should have a minimum of one scheduling/planning period (45 – 60 min/week).
  • Experienced teams should spend 10 minutes to plan each lesson.

Dieker,2001;Walther-Thomas,Bryant,& Land 1996

weekly co planning
Weekly Co-Planning
  • Effective weekly co-planning is based on regularly scheduled meetings, rather than “fitting it in”.
  • Important to stay focused
  • Review content in advance of meeting
weekly co planning90
Weekly Co-Planning
  • Guide the session with the following fundamental issues:
      • What are the content goals?
      • Who are the learners?
      • How can we teach most effectively?
agenda for planning meetings
Agenda for Planning Meetings
  • The general education teacher should prepare a brief overview of curricular concepts to be addressed.
  • The co-teachers should decide how they will address the content using co-teaching approaches.
agenda for planning meetings92
Agenda for Planning Meetings
  • Teachers should determine the challenges for students and brainstorm ideas for differentiating instruction.
  • The last topic on the agenda concerns individual students.

Friend and Cook, 2007

make a plan
Make a Plan
  • Draw 4 columns on your paper. Label each as follows:
    • What do we need to do?
    • Who will do it?
    • By when will it be done?
    • What’s the product or outcome?
  • With your co-teacher, begin the planning process.
  • Eliminate or change titles, e.g. both are “teachers” or use neutral language such as “generalist” and “interventionist”
  • Eliminate divisive language, e.g. your kids, my kids or “my room”
  • Get both teachers’ names on the report cards, letters home and other correspondence
  • Vary who gives instructions or takes the lead
  • Be aware of seating and grouping arrangements
definition of collaboration
Definition of Collaboration

Collaboration is a style for interaction between equal parties voluntarily engaged in shared decision making as they work toward a common goal.

collaboration means
Collaboration means. . .
  • Two equal participants who labor together
    • Col labor ation
be a collaborator
Be a collaborator. . .
  • Believe in the benefits of co-teaching
  • Work together as a team
  • Use each other’s strengths
defining characteristics
Defining Characteristics
  • Mutual trust
  • Mutual respect
  • Establishment of a sense of community
  • Contributions are equally valued
  • Equal power in decision making
  • Shared responsibility, accountability, and resources
a thought in closing
A thought in closing. . .

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.

New York Times Ad, 1939