Co-teaching Professional Development for Educators in Inclusive Classrooms

Due to recent federal legislation, students with disabilities are now able to participate in rigorous academic and general education curriculum and assessment with their non-disabled peers in a common learning environment. In inclusive classrooms, all students are taught together, including students with disabilities. Among the collaborative strategies that satisfy legislative expectations and provide students with services and supports within the general education classroom is the instructional practice of co-teaching. General education teachers, special education teachers, paraprofessionals, and related service providers are expected to collaborate and teach together an even more diverse group of students with a larger range of needs. However, teachers report receiving very little to no training to prepare them to for co-teaching. The lack of training causes many challenges for co-teachers, which include knowing how to effectively plan, teach, and assess collaboratively for the diverse needs of their students. This project offers a co-teaching professional development to help schools effectively implement this inclusive practice, based upon findings from a literature review. It outlines the key elements to successfully implement co-teaching in inclusive classrooms and provides a foundation of knowledge for educators on historical context of inclusion, current laws, the four co-teaching models, and co-teacher roles and responsibilities.