Co-Teaching in Secondary Classrooms: Strategies, Perceptions, and Challenges
A majority of special education students—64%—spend 80% or more of their time in regular education classes. The primary method of delivering special education services is by creating co-taught classes. Despite its popularity, literature suggests that most co-teaching relationships never meet their full potential due to a number of factors. The purpose of this study was to explore the nature of co-teaching in one high school. This included an exploration into teachers’ employed strategies, their perceptions, and the challenges related to their co-taught classes. Twenty-nine teachers from an urban, public high school, in a city in the Midwest participated in the one-time anonymous survey. Results from this study suggest that most teachers rely on “One Teach, One Drift” (also known as “One Teach, One Assist” and “One Teach, One Support”) as their primary mode of implementing co-teaching in their classes. Additionally, the results from this study suggest that most teachers believe that co-teaching is an effective way to provide special education services to students with special education needs. However, 59% of teachers reported that they have not received expectations of their role and their collaborators role (65%) in co-taught classes. Participants cited lack of common planning time as the most prominent challenge that hinders successful co-teaching (70%), and lack of content knowledge (56%). Additionally, perspectives and attitudes of collaborators and lack of access to adequate resources/training presented a challenge.