Teachers' perceptions of their co-teaching relationships

Elizabeth Smith Thielemann, Fordham University


Co-teaching between a general education teacher and a special education teacher is a well known method of providing an education to students with disabilities in mainstream settings. The main purpose of this quantitative/qualitative study was to assess co-teachers' perceptions of their teaching relationships and to identify factors which may affect their co-teaching experience. This study utilized a modified version of the Co-teaching Rating Scale (CtRS), developed by Gately & Gately (2001). ^ The study was conducted a middle school and a high school in one suburban school district located in a working-to-middle class area of the northeastern United States. A total of forty-two secondary teachers completed a survey and eight of them were randomly selected to participate in a personal interview. ^ Quantitative findings showed that special educators were more likely than general educators to always have common planning time. In addition, those who volunteered for co-teaching were more likely to always have common planning time. Also, those who always found time for common planning taught an average of more collaborative classes in a day than those who taught less classes per day. There was also a significant association between frequency of planning and the grade level of teachers. ^ Analysis of qualitative data showed that teachers perceived the following benefits of co-teaching: (a) the physical presence of another teacher in the room, (b) teachers helping one another, (c) students getting more attention. In regard to challenges, the teachers reported the following challenges: (a) the lack of common planning time, (b) differing ideologies, (c) differing personalities, and (d) co-teachers facing the challenges experienced by a married couple. In regard to administrative support, teachers wanted more time to be together (a) for common planning time, (b) during workshops and professional development, and (c) over the years.^

Subject Area

Education, Leadership|Education, Special

Recommended Citation

Thielemann, Elizabeth Smith, "Teachers' perceptions of their co-teaching relationships" (2011). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3461899.