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Secondary teacher perceptions of co-teaching models of instruction

Lisa C Beaudoin-Colwell, Johnson & Wales University


The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) have influenced an increase in the numbers of students who receive special education services in general education classrooms. The (IDEA) emphasizes the general education setting as the initial and natural setting for all students to be educated in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). The purpose of this study was to investigate the factors of effective co-teaching and to study whether there are significant differences between general and special educator opinions as they relate to co-teaching. Data were obtained via structured survey and interviews from secondary general and special educators in N=3 schools in one New England state. The study used a mixed methods approach, whereby quantitative measures were used to study demographic information and to seek information according to four specific categories related to teacher perceptions about collaboration. Qualitative methods were employed to probe deeper into how secondary special and general education teachers describe their experience with co-teaching. The research questions for this study were: (1) What do secondary level teachers report as opportunities and challenges and personal professional experience with respect to co-teaching? (2) Is there a significant difference in general education and special education opinions with respect to co-teaching at the secondary level? The findings of this study indicate that there was no significant difference between general educator and special educator perceptions of co-teaching at the high school level within each of the four dimensions studied. However, within the School-Based Supports that Facilitate Collaborative Teaching dimension two item level questions revealed a significant difference in general and special educator responses with respect to provision for mutual planning time (t=3.14, p=.000) and administrative support for collaboration (t=3.16, p=.000). Secondary general and special educators reported the need for common planning and opportunities for professional development as factors that would contribute to the improvement of co-teaching practices.

Subject Area

Special education|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Beaudoin-Colwell, Lisa C, "Secondary teacher perceptions of co-teaching models of instruction" (2009). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3390634.