Planning, instructional, and reflective practices of elementary co-teachers

Josephson, Janet Bertoni
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University of Delaware
Co-teaching is an inclusive approach to special education service delivery that involves two teachers who are responsible for planning, instructing, and reflecting on the learning of a shared group of students. Planning, instruction, and reflection are practices known together as the cycle of teaching (Tyler, 1949). Co-teaching research has largely focused on the perceptions of teachers, administrators, and families and the academic and social outcomes for students. There is little research on how co-teachers co-plan, co-instruct, and co-reflect. This multiple-case study described the planning, instructional, and reflection practices of two co-teaching teams. Data sources included semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, and planning and reflection documents of 2 teams of co-teachers. Data were analyzed using theoretical models of how solo-teachers engage in the cycle of teaching (Schumm & Vaughn, 1992; Tyler, 1949). Qualitative analysis of data determined that special education and general education co-teachers have different expectations for co-planning. Additionally, general education teachers take the lead in co-planning. Frequent co-planning allowed the special education co-teacher to play an active role in co-instruction. Co-teachers found it difficult to propose instructional improvements during co-reflection. The implications of these findings are discussed as well as directions for future research.