College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; School of Special Education
University of Northern Colorado
Type of Resources
Place of Publication
University of Northern Colorado
Despite the prevalence of students with specific learning disabilities (SLDs) and using co-teaching in inclusive classrooms, there is a lack of empirical evidence regarding the effectiveness of co-teaching for these students in the secondary level. Therefore, the purpose of this case study was to expand the research on supporting secondary students with SLDs in co-taught inclusive settings. More specifically, the researcher examined the perceptions of students and co-teachers regarding the co-teaching practices to support students with SLDs after conducting classroom observations. The study took place in a high school located in Colorado. The participants included seven co-teachers, four students with SLDs, and four students without disabilities. The school and the participants were selected purposefully. The data were collected by using classroom observations, artifacts, field notes, and individual interviews. Data were organized by NVivo and analyzed by following Yin’s model (2011), which included five steps: (a) compiling, (b) disassembling, (c) reassembling, (d) interpreting, and (e) concluding. The findings regarding the co-teachers’ perceptions were presented in seven main themes: (a) co-teaching as a school-wide practice, (b) co-teachers’ practices to create an interactive learning environment, (c) challenges regarding meeting grade-level expectations, (d) providing support to make content accessible for all students, (e) co- teachers’ comfort levels in their area of expertise, (f) benefits of co-teaching, and (h) keys of supporting students with SLDs in co-taught classrooms. Three main themes were used to summarize the perceptions of students with SLDs: (a) benefits of being included in co-taught classrooms, (b) roles of co-teachers, and (c) preferred instructional strategies in a co-taught classroom. Four main themes were used to present the perceptions of students who were nonidentified with disabilities: (a) benefits of co-teaching, (b) roles of co-teachers, (c) students’ perceptions of group work, and (d) drawbacks of being in a co-taught classroom. The discussion of the findings revealed co-teaching represented a path to meet the needs of heterogeneous learners in inclusive settings, not only the needs of students with SLDs. The participants’ perceptions confirmed the complexity of understanding the effectiveness of co-teaching at the secondary level. More methodological efforts are needed to identify the procedural definition to robustly measure the effectiveness of co-teaching. Future research should focus on specific aspects such as grouping strategies, instructional practices, co-teachers’ roles, and challenges of secondary education that overlap with co-teaching models and individual characteristics of students and co-teachers. Practitioners and leaders at school and district level are recommended to continue working on identifying critical components of effective co-teaching to bridge the gap between individual goals of students with SLDs and grade-level standards. Giving voices to co-teachers and students with the alignment of school and district philosophies contribute into establishment high-quality co-teaching framework, relevant professional development to teaching partners, and evaluation suitable to the growth of co-teaching pairs.
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