Collaborative Methods for General and Special Education Environments

This paper presents findings of research that examines the key elements necessary in a collaborative relationship between special and general educators at the elementary school level. The two-year study discusses four key aspects that affect the collaborative process: the importance of state and district training, developing communication skills, the expertise needed for working with special needs students in the general education classroom, and scheduling common time to communicate and plan. The researchers explore the effects that common terminology and individual perspectives have on stakeholders in the collaborative process. Finally, we provide recommendations that will assist state policymakers in successfully implementing models of collaboration in elementary schools, with more specific guidelines for both general and special educators.