WM picWendy W. Murawski is an Associate Professor of Special Education at California State University, Northridge. Her research and publications focus on co-teaching, inclusive education and teacher preparation. Her two recent books are available through Corwin Press and are entitled “Collaborative Teaching in Elementary/ Secondary Schools: Making the Co-teaching Marriage Work!” In 2004, she was honored as California Teacher Educator of the Year and received CEC’s Division of Research early career publication award for her meta-analysis on co-teaching. Dr. Murawski is frequently asked to keynote conferences, consult with school districts, and present for the Bureau of Education and Research and other entities. She is the CEO of the educational consulting company, 2 Teach LLC (www.2TeachLLC.com).

What is co-teaching?

Co-teaching is when we put two professionals (most often a special education and general education teacher, but this can vary) together in the classroom to share in the planning, instructing, and assessing of a group of kids. While Cook and Friend made this relationship popular back in 19951, its use and success have waxed and waned over the years, but recently, it has become more popular in schools as a way to ensure differentiation and standards-based instruction in the general education classroom.

Why co-teaching?

In my books on co-teaching2,3 , I liken the co-teaching relationship to a marriage. Think about it. We are talking about two adults who regularly make decisions that impact their kids’ social, emotional, behavioral and academic progress. Good communication between teachers results in effective co-teaching teams that are amazing to watch. However, it’s also this communication that I think is too often lacking in teams thrown together and simply called “co-teachers.”

What is the essential question for co-teaching?

An Essential Question (EQ)4 is the over-arching goal for the lesson – something we should be able to answer at the end of instruction and that will be applicable for life. As I observe teaching teams nationwide, my EQ is always “How is what these two teachers are doing substantively different and more effective for kids than what one teacher would be doing alone?”  To me, this is key. Let me give an example.

What does good co-teaching look like?

Last week, I observed two 9th grade World History classes at the same school. Both classes were introducing the upcoming unit on Europe and both teams consisted of a general and a special education teacher. In the first observation, students were paired and were given a laminated map of the world, a dry erase marker, and a worksheet. The worksheet asked students to find and mark items on their map (e.g., “Circle the United Kingdom.”) The result? In most pairs, one student worked while the other daydreamed. Both teachers circulated but with no specific purpose. Though I liked the fact that the teachers were clearly trying to do something kinesthetic with their students, I didn’t see (a) evidence of differentiation, (b) evidence of real learning, (c) evidence of proactive planning that would show both teachers’ input, or (d) evidence of why two teachers were needed for this lesson.

Compare that example to what I saw in the very next lesson. As the kids entered the room, one teacher was at the door welcoming them as the other was in the classroom, passing out materials as the kids sat down. As soon as the bell rang, one teacher took roll while the other asked kids if they’ve ever heard of a “Blitzkrieg.” After a brief discussion, both teachers introduced a “lightening war” game they would be playing to introduce the unit on Europe. Kids were put in groups of three, given a laptop, a textbook and a bag of pre-created cards, and asked to work together to identify which country related to the capitol, landmark or map on their cards.  Both teachers facilitated the game, helping kids to think of how to find their answers, without actually giving any answers themselves. Differentiation was evident as some children chose to work the computer, others to “run” up to the board, and yet others to use the textbook. Learning was evident as all were engaged and could answer teachers’ questions. There was clear evidence that both teachers planned the lesson, knew the content, considered students’ needs, and were actively engaged in the instruction. Academic engaged time was maximized as both teachers had their own jobs to do, as well as engaging in complementary instruction. There was humor, connection, and movement. What a delightful class to watch!

I make this comparison to emphasize that simply having two teachers in the same classroom is not enough. It is not co-teaching. Co-teaching requires co-planning, co-instruction, and co-assessment. That may seem like a lot, but when done well, the benefits are clearly evident for kids with and without disabilities.

My suggestion? Find a great team. Keep them together. Don’t separate them to work with other teachers. Use them as a model for others to see. Have them mentor other teaching teams. Videotape them and share their lessons with other teachers. There is almost nothing more inspiring that watching excellent teaching in action. Watching excellent co-teaching, however? Twice as inspiring!

References

1Cook, L., & Friend, M. (1995). Co-teaching: Guidelines for creating effective practices.

Focus on Exceptional Children, 28(3), 1-12.

2Murawski,W.W. (2009). Collaborative teaching in secondary schools: Making the co-

teaching marriage work! Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

3Murawski,W.W. (2010). Collaborative teaching in elementary schools: Making the co-

teaching marriage work! Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.

4Wiggins, G., & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd edition). Alexandria,

VA: ASCD.

Comments

47 Responses to “The ins and outs of co-teaching by Wendy Murawski”

  1. Diane Torres-Velasquez on 2/3/10 2:20 PM US/Eastern

    I LOVE this and will be sharing with my students. Keep up the great work!
    Diane

  2. Jeanne Bauwens on 2/3/10 8:01 PM US/Eastern

    I read with interest the comments from your observations about cooperative teaching Wendy.

    One thing that was sorely missed on the first example you shared was the fact that interdependence was not built into the parter activity. This is often why students don’t do well working in pairs and/or small groups and teachers revert to independent seatwork. The more teachers understand about gradual release of responsibility and key components of coopertive learning, the more successful they will be. Additionally, teachers must “structure” the partner and/or group work for maximum success (in addition to creating thoughtful learning experiences).

    Your second example provided a glimpse of how things can look differently because: 1. choice was built into the lesson and 2. students were truly actively involved.
    My rule of thumb is that if you take out one teacher and the class continues to “run” effectively, then are these co-teachers really taking advantage of having the two teachers in the same classroom? I wondered about that in the second example.

    Personally, what I see missing in cooperative teaching is progress monitoring and instructional decision making, based on findings from formative assessment measures. This can be done quickly as one and/or both teachers correct student work and commence reteaching efforts immediately -to “avoid the void” in students’ understanding. Reteaching is not often the norm in a co-taught or single-taught classroom.

    This can be easily done through bellwork efforts, particularly at the secondary level.

    Just my thoughts. Jeanne Bauwens

  3. Lorraine Young on 2/4/10 5:47 PM US/Eastern

    I a interested in the Co-teaching of para’s

  4. Wendy Murawski on 2/4/10 7:36 PM US/Eastern

    Jeanne – I totally agree with your post. Interdependence of kids AND adults is needed for these collaborative arrangements. As I said in the Essential Question – if one can do it alone, what is the rationale for having two??
    In response to your question, with the limited space for the blog, I wasn’t able to really clarify how interdependent the two teachers were in the second example. They definitely each had roles and if one were absent, I don’t know that it would have run as well. Part of what they did also involved checking students understanding as the students did the activity, which I think addresses the ongoing need for monitoring and reteaching that you mention.
    I have always appreciated your work on co-teaching and collaboration and enjoyed seeing your post here. Thanks! Wendy

  5. Wendy Murawski on 2/4/10 7:41 PM US/Eastern

    Lorraine – If you are interested in information on co-teaching with paraprofessionals, let me refer you to the book by my colleagues, Ann Nevin, Jacqui Thousand and Richard Villa. It’s called “A Guide to Co-teaching with Paraeducators: Practical tips for K-12 educators.” I have to admit that I don’t tend to agree that co-instruction (which I think CAN be done with paras) is the same as co-teaching, as I don’t believe paras can truly co-plan and co-assess as teachers can. There isn’t that parity. However, I respect the work of Nevin, Thousand and Villa and refer you to their book so you can make your own decisions.

  6. Sheri on 2/5/10 11:58 AM US/Eastern

    What are your thoughts on time for co-teaching planning? Never seems to be enough time to get this done. Particularly, if your SpEd Teacher has a large case load. Any suggestions?

  7. Wendy Murawski on 2/5/10 3:16 PM US/Eastern

    I don’t think there is enough time for ANY teachers to plan sufficiently with all we have to do! That said, though, I do think it is the KEY to good co-teaching. Teachers who truly are invested in seeing that there is differentiation and that both of them have a real role in the classroom – one that uses both of their expertise – need to carve out regular time. For some, that is done during common planning times but for others that is lunch on Tuesday and Thursday. I also am biased and like to recommend Lisa Dieker’s Co-Teaching Lesson Plan book (www.cec.sped.org) and the Co-Teaching Solutions System software that I helped create (www.coteachsolutions.com). Both are great resources for helping with planning – but if teachers aren’t committed to planning together in the first place, it doesn’t matter what resource we give them!

  8. Ashley McMorran on 2/6/10 11:36 PM US/Eastern

    You make such a great part about how Co-Teaching involves Co-Planning! So often I think teachers fall into this routine where they think they’re working together so that’s Co-Teaching, when in reality they need to Co-Plan as well to be on the same page and ensure proper differentiation. I loved reading this!

  9. Tara on 2/9/10 7:38 PM US/Eastern

    I am curious about co-teaching/inclusion models in the elementary setting. I co-teach in an elementary school and most of the research I am finding is related to middle and secondary co-teaching models. I want to hear about pros and cons in the elementary level.

  10. Megan Spinks on 2/11/10 12:35 AM US/Eastern

    Hi Wendy. I am a student at Walden University and I’m working toward my Master’s in Special education. As I have researched throughout this course, successful collaboration between special and general educators is hard to find. Most of the teachers that I’ve spoken to use time constraints as an excuse for no co-planning to take place. I also observed more than once, the general educator taking the lead role while the special educator was left out. It was obvious that these teachers were not taught how to collaborate with other teachers. What would be your best advice to them and their administrators?

  11. Melissa Parker on 2/17/10 3:12 AM US/Eastern

    I very much like your perspectives on co-teaching. I am interested if you feel that co-teaching can truly be successful for any population of students? I teach a MI/MOMR/autism self-contained class and I find it very very difficult and stressful for my students when we have attempted to bring them into a co-taught class. It is like they are on sensory overload. Do you feel there are ways we can structure instruction so this population of students can be successful in a co-taught class? I know there is a big movement for inclusion now, but from experience I am still on the fence about the LRE of our lower functioning students.

  12. Wendy Murawski on 2/18/10 12:22 AM US/Eastern

    Sheri, Ashley and Megan – You all mention the issue of co-planning and time. This is without a doubt the key to co-teaching AND the biggest problem. Without proactive planning, we are stuck doing what we’ve always done. Megan asked about advice to teachers or administrators: I think my biggest piece of advice is BABY STEPS. Too often, co-teaching (and other initiatives) fail when people try to do too much, too soon. Schools need to look at where they are and where they want to be and how they are going to get there incrementally – without throwing teachers to the wolves. Co-teachers can do the same. What time are we spending now? Where can we add just a little bit? What are we doing now instructionally? Is the Gen Ed teacher the lead all the time? If so, where can the special educator step up? What roles can the special educator take over? It’s all about improvement….and improvement takes time. Administrators should provide training and time for teachers to get to know each other and to plan. (Another shameless plug – My books are broken into 4 parts: Dating, Engagement, Wedding, and Marriage. They provide tips on how to do each of these effectively and even have a chapter in each part called “Matchmaker, Matchmaker: The Role of the Administrator). http://www.corwinpress.org

  13. Wendy Murawski on 2/18/10 12:25 AM US/Eastern

    Tara – You asked about co-teaching in elementary. The reason you are seeing a plethora of research and focus on co-teaching at the secondary level is that when NCLB was passed in 2001, the “highly qualified content teacher” shocked many secondary schools into realizing the only way they could ensure that kids got a HQ teacher in content is to have them in the general ed class. Then the only way to address the individualized requirements of IDEA were to address their needs in the gen ed class- often through co-teaching. So, if you look at research PRIOR to 2001, you’ll find it was mainly elementary in nature. Since then, we’ve been looking more at the secondary population.

  14. Wendy Murawski on 2/18/10 12:29 AM US/Eastern

    Melissa – You ask if, in my opinion, co-teaching is for everyone. In my opinion, NOTHING is for everyone. That’s why I’m such a fan of differentiation. I also believe in a continuum of services. However, that said, I do consider myself an “Inclusionist” (fan of inclusion) and I think that MOST (maybe not all) students can indeed have their needs met in a gen ed classroom. The problem I see is that there is more “mainstreaming” (AKA ‘dump and run’) approaches, than true inclusion. I do see how it can be stressful for kids with special needs if they are put in a gen ed class and there is little transition, or special instruction, or small grouping, etc. Even students such as those in your self-contained class may be successful in a co-taught class….BUT it does take lots of work and planning and time…and did I mention lots of work?! :) But it can be worth it in the end.

  15. Kathy on 2/19/10 11:05 AM US/Eastern

    Do you have any comments about departmentalizing special education at the 7-12 grade level combined with co-teaching??
    Theoretically it makes sense but we are actually living this process in our district and are having problems. How do we develop individual skills when we are seeing the students for only 42 minute time periods. It’s very difficult to understand the whole person. Also, collaboration has not been well scheduled. Any thoughts or resources would be appreciated.

  16. Melissa West on 3/1/10 1:06 PM US/Eastern

    Wendy,

    I like how you refer to co-teaching as a marriage. I have had a few opportunities to co-teach this Spring and agree that it is very necessary for two co-teachers to plan, assess, and make important decisions together. Personalities are key and co-teaching will only be successful if both teachers accept equal responsibility and work well together.

  17. Jessica Scharlau on 3/1/10 10:03 PM US/Eastern

    I loved reading your introduction to co-teaching! I will always remember “can this classroom run as effectively and successfully with just one teacher instead of two?” It will remind me that both teachers need to play an equally important role. It is a helpful way to check yourself and ensure that each partner is an essential player and has specific roles. I appreciate your insight and knowledge on this complicated topic!

  18. Megan Lamb on 3/1/10 11:29 PM US/Eastern

    Wendy,

    I like how you give the examples of how co-teaching can be effective and how it cannot be effective. I have been lucky enough to begin co-teaching with the special education teacher at our school and have seen the difference between the days where we do thoroughly plan together and the days that we do not because there is just not enough time in the day. And I also think that having the relationship that allows you to be yourself in your classroom and work collaboratively with another teacher is key. If you have that connection with your co-teacher everything will go much smoother.

  19. Jodi Overkleeft on 3/2/10 12:39 AM US/Eastern

    Co-teaching definitely takes a partnership. I am learning this weekly as I am fortunate enough to participate in this process. I really like how Wendy emphasizes that you need to keep in mind how effective your co-teaching is for students. Both teachers need to plan instruction together, and assess students. Communication is key.

    I too have facilitated games with my co-teaching partner and it works great for students and keeps everyone on task. Most of all since I am a PE teacher I really loved how movement, humor, and a strong connection to content are key components to a successful co-teaching lesson. Students can be challenged in so many different ways and have access to differentiated instruction, without changing the end goal.

  20. Sapna Kanabar on 3/2/10 1:59 PM US/Eastern

    Who knew co-teaching was the cool new thing. I didn’t until i joined the MA program at ASU. I thought individually helping students in the classroom would be my future. Although, co teaching is “co-planning, co-instruction, and co-assessment. That may seem like a lot, but when done well, the benefits are clearly evident for kids with and without disabilities.” It does seem like a lot and i wonder how it would work if you were in five different classrooms a day?

  21. Amanda Willim on 3/2/10 8:09 PM US/Eastern

    As a special educator, I love the practice of co-teaching and the benefits that I have seen for the 4th graders I work with. However, it can be very difficult to make it work due to the size and makeup of my caseload. I work in an elementary setting and it is very difficult to place all the students who receive service time into co-taught classrooms. I know that placing them all in the same room may not be the best option, but how can I make sure that all students are receiving the support that they need within this ideal environment? Is there a solution to these scheduling and placement difficulties?

  22. Shannon Fritz on 3/3/10 12:13 AM US/Eastern

    I love co-teaching! I feel that my co-teacher and I are an awesome fit. We have fun together and there is the respect for one another. I look forward to teaching together each week. I believe that the student engagement is wonderful when we teach together. We do have some difficulty getting time to plan but we are working on that.

  23. Stephanie on 3/3/10 5:35 PM US/Eastern

    When I was in fourth grade, I had the wonderful opportunity of experiencing education through a co-teaching approach. The teachers balanced each other and always supported one another. Students were unable to try and play the two against each other, as children sometimes try to do with parents. I would love to find another teacher on my campus who would be open to this option, but unfortunately with budget cuts, this is unlikely.

  24. Matt on 3/3/10 6:20 PM US/Eastern

    As a co-teacher I have seen many benefits. Sadly, as my district struggles to balance the budget for next year they continue to question the necessity. Although I continue to qualitatively describe the benefits it is difficult link student achievement with the co-teaching model. With the lack of research linking improved student achievement with co-teaching how does one quantitatively show its necessity?

  25. Jenny Magyar on 3/3/10 11:25 PM US/Eastern

    I have really enjoyed the co-teaching experience that I have had so far. I understand completely needing to have a co-teacher that you connect with. I don’t think I would enjoy my experience near as much if I didn’t have someone that I didn’t work well with. I like the analogy of co-teaching being like a marriage. It is definitely something that you have to work at.

  26. Cean Colcord on 3/4/10 9:41 AM US/Eastern

    I am a 4th and 5th grade special education teacher and I would like to start an inclusive program at my school, but I am not sure where to start. I have already talked with my principal and special education director and both on them like the idea, but some of my grade level teachers are resistant to the idea. Should I continue talking to my teachers about inclusion and try to get them on board or should I just try to find one teacher who is willing to try it and start from there?

  27. Heather Schlemmer on 3/4/10 9:34 PM US/Eastern

    Thanks for all of the wonderful resource recommendations. Our campus’ special education programs are largely inclusion-based. However, we do not incorporate co-teaching. I feel that this is problematic, but our faculty is heavily rooted in our current practices. Do you have any suggestions for how to encourage my administration to begin considering a restructure that better incorporates current best practice?

  28. Cassie Worley on 3/4/10 11:00 PM US/Eastern

    I really liked your essential question. This spring I have had the chance to do some co teaching, and it has been great. Your essential question is one that I ask myself when planning my lesson with my co teaching partner. The classroom should look different with two teachers in the room and their should also be evidence to show that the implementation of the co teaching model is more effective than having one teacher in the room.

  29. Kristen Ramos Murrieta on 3/6/10 1:50 PM US/Eastern

    I love everything you have said about co teaching and working together as a team. I have always thought that general education teachers are masters of curriculum and special education teachers are masters at intervention and differentiation. Together a strong force can be made to make a strong difference in each students life!

  30. Ketrina Jordan on 3/6/10 2:07 PM US/Eastern

    I am an inclusion teacher beginning to write a dissertation on collaboration of general and special educators. Of course there is an abundance of research that concludes that the inclusion model is plagued with problems (no planning time, no leadership support, etc…) but my research is geared toward *how to make it work
    *how can we find time for planning
    *how do we develop our individual crafts while learning from each other
    *how can we get buy-in from leadership?

    My main concern for now is to find specific research on the professional learning communities that have been geared for this collaboration of general and special educators. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  31. Christina Moore on 3/6/10 9:21 PM US/Eastern

    Wendy thanks for your blog on co-teaching, it was a great summary to what co-teaching is, and the positive affects of it. I love co-teaching; I have been lucking enough to try co-teaching this semester. I have been paired with a great partner; I feel that we work well with one another, and our students enjoying having two teachers in the room. Once a week we teach in one each others rooms. I think the three key points to Co-teaching is pairing up the teachers, communication, and you must plan and assess together. In my co- teaching the only part that has been difficult is finding enough time to plan with one another.

  32. Melissa Parker on 3/9/10 1:44 PM US/Eastern

    Wendy,
    Yes, I do agree collaborative teaching takes a lot of time. I do think that students can all succeed with differentiated instruction and collaboration. I have made it a goal for my students needs to be more adequately met in my school (our administration is not very embracing of inclusion) by intermixing them at every opportunity with the general population. Hopefully through this exposure, everyone can become more comfortable with one another and the inclusive process will be one more easily facilitated in and out of the classroom.

  33. Theresa Martin on 3/10/10 11:33 PM US/Eastern

    Hi Wendy,

    I enjoyed your post, and found your examples to be very thought provoking. There are two teachers at my school who co-teach, and get along wonderfully. They are always joking with each other and have become friends though this experience. I have observed them teaching, and it has been apparent to me that their co-teaching is an extension to what can be done with only one teacher. It wasn’t until I read your article however, that I put it together. I think the reason this team has especially stood out to me, and has caught my attention, is due to the fact that, unfortunately, they are the first sucessful teaching team that I have observed. The majority of teams I have seen, more reflect your first example. It seems evident to me that the communication and ability to work together does make a drastic difference. Like night and day. Your suggestions about keeping the successful teams together, and having them model, was excellent in my opinion. Although I have to wonder, if it is more an issue of personalities clashing, rather than missing the necessary knowledge to be extraordinary co-teachers? Do you think there is actually a way to mesh two teachers with conflicting styles and personalities into collaborative teachers? Once again, thank you for your article, and sharing your knowledge.

  34. Maryellen Maxfield on 3/20/10 5:37 PM US/Eastern

    I agree that having two teachers in a classroom does not necessarily mean that true co-teaching is happening. I’ve been teaching several years now and have had different experiences with co-teaching. In the past I’ve had experiences where the classroom teacher looked at me coming into the classroom as an opportunity for them to have extra planning time. I’m now partnered with a teacher who shares the same expectations I have on what co-teaching is. We’re already seeing the benefits for our students.

  35. Justin on 3/30/10 8:08 PM US/Eastern

    Hi Wendy,

    I have been introduced to co-teaching through a master’s program that I started this year. I definitely see the benefit to my students. The lessons are engaging and my students have benefited from have the input two teachers have put into the lesson development. My concern about co-teaching is the practical application of it in today’s educational climate. In Arizona we have had severe budget cuts that have led to a number of lost classroom positions. How can you convince administration that this a wise use of scarce funds? Also, is there more planning time necessary for successful co-teaching then would be necessary for a traditional classroom?

  36. Wendy Murawski on 4/22/10 2:23 AM US/Eastern

    Thank you to all of you who have been responding and leaving questions. I’m at CEC right now in Nashville Tennessee and look forward to seeing even more sessions on what co-teaching continues to look like across the nation. I can’t respond to every single question on here but looking back over the questions and responses, I notice some themes. One is that many of you simply agree with me. Co-teaching can be awesome when it is done well! Others of you like the concepts but are struggling with personalities, time, and budget. I do think difficult personalities CAN work together IF they both are committed to the idea of co-teaching and IF they get professional development so they both know what the goal is and how to use the various approaches well. In terms of time, yes it can take longer up front but Dieker’s research tells us that veteran co-teachers only need around 10 minutes to effectively co-plan for a week of instruction. Note the key word – VETERAN. So that tells us that if we stick it out and work with a partner a while, it gets easier and takes less time after a while. That’s encouraging. We also have to remember that ANY new program or initiative takes more time at first, but if it is worthwhile we FIND the time and make it happen. Same thing holds true with co-teaching. Finally, in terms of budget, EVERYTHING is impacted. Co-teaching included. However, the kids don’t go away just because we don’t have more teachers or more money. My personal view is that I can serve kids BETTER if I am working collaboratively with general education partners and that I have a much better understanding of what they need and what I can provide proactively if I am a regular part of that instruction, rather that in my own classroom doing pull-out or running like a chicken with my head cut off in multiple rooms at different times. Strategic scheduling can address those issues and it does not have to mean buying more people or using more money. If administrators know how to schedule well, and are committed to making co-teaching a priority, they can do it.
    If anyone is at CEC right now, please come see me at either of my 2 sessions, or at my book signing at the Corwin booth in the Expo on Friday at 3pm. Best wishes. Wendy

  37. S. Mathis on 6/9/10 2:07 PM US/Eastern

    Wendy,

    In response to the essential question, I co-teach in an inclusion classroom and I find the special education students enjoy the learning environment with their peers, but they like the support from their special education teacher too. I have worked in an inclusion classroom for several years, but I also find there is not enough of planning to call it co-teaching. The class is pretty well taught by the regular education teacher while I am offering support through differentiation and helpful feedback. I agree with you that it takes two teachers that can work together so it will benefit the leaning environment.

    I am a student at Walden University and my course project is to make a behavior plan that will work for the inclusive classroom with both teachers for all students. I want a plan that both teachers will agree on. Some of the classmates have offered some good use of incentives, use of behavior charts, and caught you being good tickets. I think this is a good plan and I will probably implement it in the fall. What are your suggestions?

    Thanks for your advice for co-teaching and how it works best. I think more schools should use inclusion classes. I know they work.

  38. Nicole Roach on 6/9/10 11:17 PM US/Eastern

    In previous years, I have had wonderful experiences with co-teaching. I had a teaching marriage as a special education teacher with a math teacher for over six years. The more we worked together, the easier the work became. The planning time was decreased because we already knew the strengths and weaknesses as well as the opinions of eachother. I have also worked with other teachers at the same time and I can attest that a good relationship needs to be kept together in leiu of trying to spread the wealth. My partner and I were commended and awarded for our efforts several times but I am sad to say that a financial crisis has taken the opportunity for co-teaching off the market.

  39. Leigh Ellen Olson on 8/3/10 1:43 PM US/Eastern

    I have enjoyed reading the different outlooks and responses on co-teaching. Being a special education teacher and just recently moving from my own classroom to working with four different academic teacher I am new at this. I will say it certainly depends on the attitude of the other teacher. I have had a wonderful experience in the language class but feel out of depth in math and not welcomed in others. While I am highly qualified in all four subjects to try to plan and be up on all four academic subjects as well as charting and modification I am often overwhelmed. Thanks for some great information.

  40. Cindy Newman on 8/4/10 11:38 PM US/Eastern

    I have enjoyed reading the posts from you all. I have taken this subject on as my class project. We have capable and willing teachers, but the planning time seems to be the missing component. I look forward to reading the books you suggested to gain insight and offer a solution to our school.

  41. Susan D on 10/2/10 3:17 PM US/Eastern

    I am a parent of a special education student who has been in a pull-out program for elementary where the instruction was directed at his level, in general ed in 7th grade (except for a resource room for English), co-taught classes for 8th grade and is currently in all co-taught classes in 9th grade at the high school. My husband and I (who are both educators) have been very frustrated with what we have been experiencing, not too mention the frustration level of my son (his disabilities include dyslexia, ADD, and is labeled LD). It has been our experience that the general ed teacher does all the instruction and the sp ed teacher is the “tutor” and homework police. It seems that their role is to send emails to update
    the parents as to what the homework is and to keep us updated on their grades, but we do not see any accommodations and modifications being done. We have had to stay on top of everything that is happening in the class and have had many meeting and much comunication about just following his accommodations. We have yet to see any modifications to the curriculum. It seems as if they are just holding his hand to get him across from one side of the shore to the other without really teaching him how to swim. My husband and I spend hours everynight reteaching the material to my son in a way we know he will understand, and I don’t know how much longer any of us and do this. But when he is given a book to read or a textbook that is 2-4 reading levels above where he is and is given the same instruction and test as all the other kids in the room – I think I would rather have him back in the resource room where he is giving materials that are appopriate for his level. Truly learning is only going to occur when the level of instruction is appropriate. He is not learning at this level of frustration – and the sad part is that this will not show in the data (unless you look carefully)- for my son turns in all of his homework and receives A’s on most assignments (because he has received our assistance), however he receives D and E on most test – hence proving to me that he really is not learning the material – And making him dependent on us for getting him through the course (I had hoped the high school experince, which was supposed to teach him to be independent, was going to be better since these teachers have co-taught for years- but I am finding more of the same. We are meeting next week to voice our concerns, but I am really not expecting anything to change. I am greatly disappointed, saddened (what about those kids who don’t have an advocate), stressed, and frustrated.

  42. The Ins and Outs of Co-Teaching | Essential Educator on 3/23/11 2:31 PM US/Eastern

    [...] Co-teaching is when we put two professionals (most often a special education and general education teacher, but this can vary) together in the classroom to share in the planning, instructing, and assessing of a group of kids. While Cook and Friend made this relationship popular back in 19951, its use and success have waxed and waned over the years, but recently, it has become more popular in schools as a way to ensure differentiation and standards-based instruction in the general education classroom. Read more HERE [...]

  43. Ivy L. Bleecher on 8/20/11 4:18 PM US/Eastern

    Wendy, I found your article very interesting. I myself have to agree with much of what you said about co-teaching being a relationship between two adults having the same educational goals. I also enjoyed reading the comments from the other bloggers

  44. Kayman McIver on 9/23/11 4:23 PM US/Eastern

    I am a co-teacher and when that “marriage” works it is a huge benefit for all students. I’ve had parents ask that their child be in co-teach even though they aren’t SpEd because they see the benefits. It’s a bummer though when the co-teacher becomes an expensive assistant. It takes time to build the arranged marriage, but those are the ones that last the longest!

  45. Rosey Hernandez on 9/24/11 11:11 PM US/Eastern

    Hello Dr. Murawski,
    I enjoy reading your blog. When I had a huge caseload I was afraid of the thought of co-teaching. This year I felt would be different. I placed an hour aside to push-in in a kinder classroom. This is a small step. But soon within this school year I am confident that co-teaching will happen. One of my other co-workers is making the leap with me. This is good in a way because we sort of cheer each other on. Our staff is also very welcoming with the idea because we will be working with ALL our students.

  46. Pam Rider BFF from Indiana on 9/2/12 7:34 PM US/Eastern

    Wendy,
    I am going nuts even though our team of teachers have been trained by you. I need you to talk me through how I can keep my teachers from burning out before the end of September.

    BFF,
    PAM

  47. Mindy Mann on 8/6/13 5:46 PM US/Eastern

    I enjoyed your blog on how co-teaching should operate and the benefits from it. I was wondering what steps you would take to get to a good “marriage” of co-teaching. What steps and strategies could be introduced if the special education teacher is just assigned to the general education teacher that does not want to do inclusion? Thanks.

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