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New! Co-Teaching Resources Website
Please visit our separate Co-Teaching Resources Website for information and resources about co-planning, instructional models, co-assessing, building relationships, roles/responsibilities, co-teaching virtually, and specially designed instruction.
Co-Teaching…Is It Possible During COVID-19?
Over the past several months, educators have creatively engaged in ways to continue to teach students. For those of you co-teaching, the expectation is still to co-plan together to reach all of the learners in your co-taught classes. With limited resources available to support virtual co-teaching, we want to encourage teams to come together to share the great things they are doing during this challenging time of school closures.
Following are a few resources to assist co-teaching teams in thinking about ways to implement strategies for effective, virtual co-teaching.
Some resources to consider:
Drs. Lisa Dieker and Rebecca Hines, professors at the University of Central Florida in the College of Community Innovation and Education, have worked with schools and parents across the country. Through their podcasts, they take a fun and informal look at "practical" situations from teachers, parents, and people with disabilities. Their approach is fast, flexible thinking about "real" life problems. These podcasts are not about "legal" approaches, but their best advice from both personal and professional experiences. Podcasts are ongoing and cover a range of topics from Co-teaching in an Online Environment to Rigorous Learning Online.
This website does not specifically address co-teaching virtually, but it does address how to develop small group instruction and discussion through video conferencing (similar to parallel and station teaching). It also shares ideas for conferencing with students, which could be one way special educators could provide accommodations.
Resources from Wendy W. Murawski, Ph.D., one of the nation’s top experts in co-teaching. Her research, publications, and presentations have been used nationally and internationally to help schools become more inclusive through the use of collaborative teaching.
Dr. Wendy Murawski provides practical tips on how to plan virtual lessons and ensure you are meeting the needs of students with an IEP & 504 plans.
A temporary hub of information and tools to help teachers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
More than 30 national education organizations, including CEC – launched a new website of resources to support virtual instruction for students with exceptionalities during the COVID-19 crisis.
If you have questions, please contact:
Suzanne Graham, 540-831-6846
Keli Bradbury, 540-831-7733
Chuck Blevins, 540-831-5611
Katie Ginn, 540-831-5357
The ultimate goal of co-teaching—as is the case with all service delivery mechanisms—is to meet the educational needs of your students. Co-teaching brings together a general education teacher and a special education teacher to share all aspects of teaching—planning, instruction and assessment—for an inclusive, heterogeneous group of students in a shared classroom environment. The TTAC at Radford University can provide you with resources and technical assistance to support co-teaching and inclusive instruction within your school.
- An equal partnership between two teachers—a general educator and a special educator—who have equivalent levels of professional licensure.
- A way to have students with disabilities participate—and succeed—in the general education curriculum.
- A tool for differentiating instruction for all students in the classroom, where both professionals are integral to the instructional process.
- A way to promote the use of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles for all students.
- A way to decrease student-to-teacher ratios across learning needs, styles and ability levels.
- A way to promote professional collegiality and mutual support between teachers.
- A way for teachers to learn from each other, and for students to gain knowledge from the expertise of two teachers both engaged in the instructional process.
- Planned thoughtfully and collaboratively by both teachers.
Co-teaching is not:
- One teacher—typically the general educator—acting as the main teacher with the special educator in the role of “helper.”
- The special educator only working with the students with disabilities.
- The general educator only working with the students without disabilities.
- Two teachers who take alternating turns teaching their students.
- Solely a way to help the students with disabilities.
- Planned at the last minute or improvised.
Every co-teaching relationship is different, based on the individual teachers, their mutual goals and their students’ needs. However, one of the primary benefits of co-teaching is that both teachers get to bring their unique skill-sets and experiences to the educational process for their students. In addition to their shared roles—planning, instruction and assessment—the specific individual roles of the two teachers may include:
|The general educator as the expert in:||The special educator as the expert in:|
|Learning strategies to address the diverse learning needs of students||Learning strategies to address the diverse learning needs of students|
|The district and state curriculum||Writing and monitoring IEP goals and obkectives for individualizing instruction|
|Developing the pacing and sequencing of content instruction to meet all general education goals||Case management and progress monitoring|
|Knowledge of the typical learner, social and behavioral characteristics for a large group of students at a grade level||Understanding the learning process that needs to be matched appropriately to learner characteristics|
|The academic content areas||Accommodations and modifications|
Good teachers have found that co-teaching can serve as an opportunity to become excellent teachers, who are more well-rounded and effective with all of their students. For example, co-teaching gives general educators the chance to learn about IEPs, students with disabilities and specific teaching strategies. Likewise, the special educator can learn more about the general education curriculum and classroom management. Co-teaching gives both teachers the chance to learn a lot more about collaborating successfully and sharing responsibility for student outcomes.
Adapted from: Maryland Learning Links, a product of the Johns Hopkins University, School of Education, Center for Technology in Education and the MSDE, Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services, marylandlearninglinks.org/1006.
School personnel interested in additional information regarding co-teaching may contact:
Real Co-Teachers of Virginia: VDOE Excellence in Co-Teaching Initiative
In 2014, in an effort to promote and improve the implementation of co-teaching throughout Virginia, the Virginia Department of Education chose classrooms across the state that exemplify best practice in co-teaching to serve as demonstration sites, offering opportunities for others to observe model co-taught classrooms in action. These teachers also developed co-taught lesson plans and videos to share. In their videos, teachers showcase not only co-instructing in the classroom, but co-assessing and co-planning as well. A series of webshops showcase the products created by real co-teachers of Virginia. These webshops can be accessed through TTAC Online at Real Co-Teachers of Virginia.
Teachers and administrators are also encouraged to visit these demonstration sites. Contact the Training and Technical Assistance Center (TTAC) at Radford University or Virginia Tech to determine which sites are open for visitation.
Contact TTAC at Radford University: 1-877- 544-1918 or TTAC at Virginia Tech: 1-800-848-2714 to schedule your team’s visit!
In this Quick Take, Marilyn Friend is talking where we're at in co-teaching. How is it changing in virtual environments? What different decisions do co-teachers need to make? And, how are other co-teachers making it work? Find out these answers and more.
Presented by Marilyn Friend, Ph.D. Recorded April 27, 2020.
Dr. Marilyn Friend's website dedicated to providing information and resources to educators and parents about co-teaching and helping them in problem solving to ensure student success.