Who Can Co-Teach?

According to the definition of co-teaching that we are using, co-teaching can be executed by any two professional educators (Murawski, 2010; Murawski & Spencer, 2011). Murawski strays away from the inclusion of paraprofessionals and student aides for within our working definition both educators should be involved in planning, executing and assessing the lesson (Murawski, 2010). However, there are still many opportunities for co-teaching, and many combinations of co-teaching pairs.

Though much of the research that informed this website is related to combinations of general and special educators, co-teaching does not have to be restricted to this combination. Generally, this combination is acknowledged because of the particular needs of the classroom and the differentiated skills that a special educator and a general educator can provide. General education teachers provide the desired content knowledge in the classroom while special educators are able to identify strategies for differentiation and supplementation where necessary (Dieker & Murawski, 2003; Scruggs, Mastropieri & McDuffie, 2007). While each of these professions has their own unique skills, training and perspective on teaching and education, two general educators could also make a good co-teaching pair. Moving forward it would be valuable to research all forms of co-teaching pairs in order to determining if certification acts as a mediating variable for student outcomes.

More important than titles, though, is the attitude that educators bring to the co-teaching classroom. It is important that the two members of the co-teaching pair have a strong working relationship (Keefe & Moore, 2004; Scruggs, Mastropierei & McDuffie, 2007; Trent et al., 2003). The congeniality of this relationship will affect the entire classroom dynamic, so it is important that the two teachers are mutually respectful, at the very least (Cross & Walker-Knight, 1997; Keefe & Moore, 2004; Mastropieri et al., 2005; Scruggs, Mastropieri & McDuffie, 2007).

Below is a video of two co-teachers stressing the importance of their working relationship.

 In short, anyone can co-teach as long as both members are committed to working with one another in order to improve student experience and education in the classroom.

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