EFFECTS OF A CO-TEACHING TEAMING PROGRAM ON THE INSTRUCTIONAL PRACTICES OF HIGH SCHOOL GENERAL AND SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS
Bond, Stephen Phillip Gorton
Burke, Philip J
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Co-teaching is widely used as an option in the delivery of special education services to students with disabilities in accordance with their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Students with learning disabilities frequently struggle in learning specific content areas, a factor representing a significant challenge to providing instruction in the least restrictive environment. Co-teaching is an option that serves to foster an instructional environment in the general education classroom that is inclusive and supportive of students with disabilities and those who require specialized assistance. It holds the potential to effectively combine the talents and skills of both the general and special education teacher, thus maximizing their ability to effectively teach students who present the most significant instructional challenges. The purpose of this study was to study the effects of a co-teaching program on the instructional practices of six high school teachers assigned to co-teach. A multiple probe design targeting the teaming behaviors across three dyads of teachers was used. The participating teachers were trained using the Teaming Instructional Procedures Program developed by the author and based on the teaming approach as outlined in Friend (2007). The classes were digitally audio recorded during baseline, intervention, and maintenance conditions. The recordings were analyzed using time-sampling and a teaming behavior checklist to determine the occurrence of teaming behaviors by the special education teacher. The Teaming Instructional Procedures Program positively impacted the teaming behaviors of the special educators. The occurrence of teaming behaviors increased for each dyad, with increases being sustained during maintenance probes. The educators found the training program useful and user friendly and indicated they would recommend the training to other co-teachers. Most teachers found the co-teaching teaming approach useful, if not ideal for every situation and reported improvements in student engagement and performance, with no reports of detrimental effects. Responses from students confirmed the majority enjoyed having two teachers in the room, and they believed their engagement and performance benefited from the situation. The Teaming Instructional Procedures Program proved to be a socially valid means of training teachers to employ a specific co-teaching approach. The results of this study provide evidence to justify the allocation of time and resources to the formal training of teachers entering a co-teaching situation and the need for the development of a more comprehensive training program addressing more approaches to co-teaching.