Co-teaching with paraprofessionals: an analysis of a middle school

This study focused on the current co-teaching practices of one middle school. Both general and special education teachers and paraprofessionals were surveyed to assess their willingness to co-teach, their comfort level with the four approaches of co-teaching and their level of training. The results from this survey indicated that all the teachers and paraprofessionals need to be trained on co-teaching and that additional training would promote a greater comfort level and likelihood of engaging in various co-teaching approaches. This study found that special educators are more comfortable co-teaching with paraprofessionals than with their general education colleagues. Results showed that they are somewhat resistant to team teaching, which is considered the most equal distributions of teaching duties. Although special educators are better trained in the four co-teaching approaches than general education teachers and paraprofessionals, special educators favored the more traditional co-teaching teaching approach where one teacher leads and the other provides support. Despite the fact that they had little co-teaching training, general educators and paraprofessionals were much more willing to engage in the four co-teaching approaches than the special educators. KEY WORDS: Co-teaching, inclusion, paraprofessional, role redefinition