Author(s)

Eric Menell

Date Approved

4-4-2014

Embargo Period

4-6-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ed.D. Educational Leadership

Department

Educational Leadership

College

College of Education

First Advisor

Kowalsky, Michelle

Subject(s)

Teaching teams;Inclusive education

Disciplines

Elementary Education and Teaching | Special Education and Teaching

Abstract

Co-teaching is defined as a situation in which two educators, one a general education teacher and one a special education teacher, work together to lead a classroom that contains both mainstream and special education learners. The purpose of this qualitative, descriptive study using a convenience sample of 15 (10 general education, 5 special education) co-teachers in a New Jersey vocational and technical school was to explore participants' working relationships, factors that contribute to successful working relationships, and best practices that can be derived from an examination of successful co-teaching relationships. In-depth interviews and a brief, post-interview survey were employed to gather data, which were analyzed using open and a priori coding. Results showed that participants perceived the personalities, attributes, and mutual compatibility of co-teachers as most essential in contributing to successful co-teaching. Participants considered it especially important that their partner possess a positive attitude toward students, show flexibility or adaptability, have good communication skills, and be a good team player. Factors defining a successful co-teaching working relationship were the previously mentioned personal attributes and having common planning time. Organizational best practices contributing to successful working relationships included the availability and use of common planning time, taking into account personal preferences or personalities when planning co-teaching partnerships, and planning for continuity of co-teaching relationships over several school years. Classroom-level best practices included allocation of roles, use of diverse co-teaching models, and alternating roles between co-teaching partners. Implementation of co-teaching best practices and further research in other settings are recommended.

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