I began co-teaching over 20 years ago and at the time did not know there was a name for it or how to do it well. From experiences in the classroom and working with hundreds of teachers over the past several years we have come to a definition that guides us as we continue to grow as co-teachers.
Co-teaching is an inclusive service-delivery option for students with disabilities in which one certified special educator and one certified general educator provide instruction to a blended group of heterogeneous students.
Classroom instruction is significantly different with two certified teachers:
- Both teachers actively teach throughout the lesson.
- Units and lesson are co-planned.
- Classroom instruction is delivered through co-teaching approaches, with a focus on small group instruction.
- Classroom instruction is differentiated through accommodations and modifications, specialized instruction, or universal design for learning.
- The co-teaching relationship is a partnership.
Significantly different…instruction is different because there are two teachers in the classroom. This is key! Students have opportunities to get what they need because we are providing instruction and learning opportunities that are well planned and meaningful for all learners.