Advisor

Pierce, Corey D.

Advisor

Gershwin, Tracy

Advisor

Urbach, Jennifer

Department

Special Education

Institution

University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources

Text

Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)

Publisher

University of Northern Colorado

Date Created

8-2021

Extent

213 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital

Abstract

Co-teaching is a framework that teachers utilize to support one another and actively include students with diverse learning needs. However, it is not frequent that special education and general education teachers use co-teaching to provide meaningful inclusion for students with significant support needs (SSN). This qualitative study explored effective general and special education co-teaching dyads who worked with students with SSN within the general education classroom. Participants included six teachers (three general education and three special education) who participated in semi-structure and dialogical interviews, virtual and verbal classroom walks, and provided artifacts and reflections. Interviews with participants were conducted separately and served as the primary source of data collection. A combination of case study and portraiture design was used to address the following research questions and sub-questions: What are the experiences of educator dyads (general education teachers and special education teachers) who co-teach with students who have significant support needs (SSN)? What are co-teachers’ (general education teachers and special education teachers) perceptions of elements they believe to be critical in supporting inclusive education for students with significant needs? What are co-teachers’ (general education teachers and special education teachers) perceptions of the challenges to the co-teaching process with students who have significant support needs? What are co-teachers’ (general education teachers and special education teachers) perceptions of the benefits to the co-teaching process with students who have significant support needs? Both within case and across case analysis were conducted to establish common themes among participants. Themes that emerged included meaningful inclusion for students, the importance of school leadership support, and the importance of having deep understanding of both co-teaching and communication needs. Additionally, participants demonstrated that shared goals and beliefs including having high expectations for students and believing they were general education students first and wanting them in the general education classroom were apparent. Themes surrounding vital elements regarding participants’ intense co-teaching partnerships included flexibility, knowing and understanding each other’s roles, communication and collaboration, trust and vulnerability, and achieving the mind meld. Themes around challenges included shared struggles around time and scheduling, individual challenges with stacking classrooms, and building wide responsibilities; and finally, perceptions of teacher benefits as well as both academic and social benefits for students. Findings were integrated with current research, lessons for implementation were provided, and recommendations for future research and limitations were discussed.

Degree type

PhD

Degree Name

Doctoral

Language

English

Rights Statement

Copyright is held by the author.

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