Co-Teaching: an Executive Summary

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Co-Teaching: An Executive Summary

College of Saint Joseph GSP503
January 16, 2012

Co-teaching is a strategy that ensures students with disabilities have access to the same curriculum as regular education students while still receiving specialized instruction. An idea that began forming in the educational arena in the 1980’s, co-teaching began to gain in popularity and attention after the United States Congress passed the No Child Left Behind Act in 2001 (Friend, Cook, Hurley-Chamberlain, and Shamberger (2010). In a classroom where co-teaching is practiced, a general education teacher works in tandem with a special education teacher to instruct students of diverse ability levels, including students with learning disabilities in a way that benefits all the students, regular education students and students with disabilities alike ( Friend & al., 2010).

Co-teaching has its roots in team-teaching, a movement that came about the 1960’s. Team teaching involved, for example, one teacher who was thought to be the most knowledgeable on a particular subject being chosen to give a lecture to a large group of students. This large group would then be broken down into several smaller discussion groups, each led by a different teacher (Shaplin, 1964). Co-teaching is distinctly different, more dynamic, and more effective at promoting intellectual growth in students. Co-teaching doubles the student/teacher ration which maximizes the learning of all students as long as both teachers are functioning in their full capacity as teachers and neither individual in a subordinate capacity (Friend et al., 2010).

Additionally, co-teaching involves one teacher focusing on competencies students are to gain from the curriculum, the pace of teaching, and classroom management. The special educator, on the other hand, adds a different dimension with expertise related to process of learning and in-depth knowledge of the individualized nature of some students’ needs (Friend et...
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