Co-Teaching for Students with Disabilities

A Critical Analysis of the Empirical Literature

Authored by: Bryan G. Cook , Kimberly A. McDuffie-Landrum , Linda Oshita , Sara Cothren Cook

Handbook of Special Education

Print publication date:  April  2011
Online publication date:  May  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415800716
eBook ISBN: 9780203837306
Adobe ISBN: 9781136869624


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Co-teaching involves two professionals, often a special education teacher and a general education teacher, delivering instruction to students with and without disabilities in a single physical space (Cook & Friend, 1995). Co-teaching has been described generally as the blending of two pedagogical experts, one (the general educator) with expertise in understanding, structuring, and pacing of the curriculum; and one (the special educator) an expert in identifying students’ unique learning needs and adapting the curriculum and instruction accordingly (e.g., Kloo & Zigmond, 2008; McDuffie, Landrum, & Gelman, 2008). In theory, co-teachers collaboratively plan, instruct, manage behavior, and assess (Friend, Reising, & Cook, 1993).

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