The most successful teachers recognize that a team of teachers, students and their parents, and other faculty and administrators - a collaborative effort - creates the best chance of success for students, especially for students with disabilities or other special needs.
Collaborative teaching, or “co-teaching,” matches this teamwork philosophy. According to co-teaching researchers Whitten and Hoekstra, “Collaborative teaching is a professional partnership between two or more educators that erases traditional boundaries and allows them to make informed decisions when designing, communicating, and monitoring instruction through reflective teaching.”
Co-teaching lends focus to students' abilities, rather than disabilities. It gives students with special needs the opportunity for a typical school routine, and creates a shift from a “my children/your children” philosophy - which separate classrooms perpetuate - to “our children.”
Of course, like with any teaching philosophy, implementing and having success with co-teaching can be difficult. Here are five points of parity that will provide a great start to any co-teaching partnership.
Along with planning and discipline, communicate how to handle classroom responsibilities, such as:
Exceptional Child includes several online professional development courses to help educators working in co-taught classrooms.