Integrated Co-Teaching Online


Course Outline

Course Description

This course provides educators with a strong foundation for planning, implementing and maintaining successful co-teaching programs that improve and enhance the instruction of students with disabilities being taught in the general education classroom. In today's inclusive classroom settings, students with disabilities work together with students without disabilities. All of these students have a variety of learning styles, cultural differences, and educational, behavioral and social needs. It has become important for teachers and administrators to find effective research-based methods to help every student achieve greater success. One of the fastest growing trends nationally is the provision for co-teaching practices. Starting first with developing a clear definition of co-teaching, then examining critical components of co-teaching models and how they support student learning in the classroom, and finally evaluating current co-teaching programs, the focus of this course will be to explore both the conceptual and operational aspects of this approach to delivering instruction.

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA) have brought increased pressure on all educators. Policy makers and school reformers have set higher standards making teachers and administrators responsible for ensuring students meet these standards on state assessments. All students including those with disabilities are expected to achieve the same success as other students. IDEA requires that students with special needs be educated in the least restrictive environment and whenever possible, in the general education classroom where they are provided with access to the same general education curriculum as all other students. In addition, many educators are finding that an increasing number of students come to school with a variety of other problems putting them at greater risk of failing. In order to successfully address the challenges of meeting the needs of all these different students, co-teaching has received widespread attention and has become an accepted form of delivery of instruction.  With the reauthorization of IDEA, state regulations and guidelines have set parameters to address how educators can meet the needs of diverse populations. For example, the New York State Commissioner of Education's Part 200 Regulations now allow school districts to include integrated co-teaching on the continuum of special education services.

This course examines the most commonly accepted co-teaching practices between general and special education teachers and how collaboration can effectively take place between the co-teaching partners, and the partners and other school personnel on the elementary, middle and high school levels to meet the needs of all learners. It is based on current research and experiences of prominent individuals in the field of education including Richard A. Villa, Dr. Marilyn Friend and Carol Ann Tomlinson.


  • Establish a common language and working definition for co-teaching
  • Compare and contrast co-teaching, collaboration, team teaching, cooperative teaching and inclusion
  • Establish the purpose and goals for co-teaching
  • Provide a rationale through philosophy, research and recent federal and state legislation for implementing co-teaching
  • Assess the impact of district, state, and federal guidelines on co-teaching
  • Assess an educator using the Co-Teaching Rating Scale
  • Assess the roles of the general and special education teachers
  • Create a definition for the professional relationship between co-teachers
  • Address skills, strategies, and issues as professional development topics for co-teachers
  • Evaluate the eight critical components of the co-teaching relationship
  • Compare and contrast the most commonly accepted instructional models used in co-teaching classrooms
  • Evaluate how instructional module provide a format for teachers to modify both instruction and student work
  • Explain the roles and responsibilities of paraprofessionals
  • Compare and contrast the Discrepancy Model and RtI
  • Assess how co-teachers can best utilize differentiated instruction in their inclusive classrooms
  • Evaluate differentiated instruction lessons
  • Evaluate program efficacy from teacher, student, administrator and parent surveys
  • Predict future implications for co-teaching
  • Create an action plan

Curriculum Design & Time Requirements

Module assignments are based on specific module lessons, textbook readings and online research. The methodology used in this course provides participants with the necessary tools and practical strategies to work effectively in a co-taught classroom. Participants will apply course curriculum to a school study that will be developed throughout the modules and presented to the instructor as a final project. This is an online sixty-hour, three credit graduate level course that is completed over a thirteen-week period.

Hardware & Computer Skill Requirements

Students may use either a Macintosh computer or a PC with Windows 2000 or higher. Students should possess basic word processing skills and have internet access with an active e-mail account. Students also are expected to have a basic knowledge of how to use a Web browser, such as Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla Firefox etc.

Course Materials

The required text for this course is A Guide to Co-Teaching: New Lessons and Strategies to Facilitate Student Learning by Richard A. Villa, Jacqueline S. Thousand and Ann I. Nevin. The text begins by first examining what co-teaching is and the importance of each of its elements. It also looks at the day-to-day of workings of co-teaching teams on each of the different teaching levels and how the effective partnerships can benefit student learning. Each co-teaching model is thoroughly explored and vignettes of each model are provided. The text includes additional resources, references, supplemental aids and a glossary.

Session Outline

Session 1: Co-Teaching Defined
  1. Establish a Common Language and Working Definition for Co-teaching
  2. Recognize Other Commonly Accepted Terms for Co-teaching
  3. Read Research Support for Collaboration and Inclusion
  4. Compare and Contrast Co-teaching, Collaboration, Team Teaching, Cooperative Teaching and Inclusion
  5. Establish the Purpose and Goals for Co-teaching

Session 2: Establishing a Rationale for Co-Teaching a it Relates to Research and Legislation
  1. Provide a Rationale Through Philosophy, Research and Recent Federal and State Legislation for Implementing Co-teaching
  2. Relate Co-teaching to Current Trends Toward Collaboration in Public Schools, Both in General Education and Special Education
  3. Examine the Effectiveness of Co-teaching for Teachers and Students

Session 3: Developing Effective Partnerships
  1. Defining Roles of the General and Special Education Teachers
  2. Defining the Types of Services Special Education Teachers can Provide
  3. Identify Individual Prerequisites for Co-teaching
  4. Define the Professional Relationship Between Co-teachers
  5. Examine Guidelines to Achieve Parity in the Co-teaching Relationship
  6. Clarify the Roles of and Establish Guidelines for the Collaborative Relationship Between Co-teachers and Other School Related Professional Who Serve to Meet Students' IEP Mandated Goals. These Individuals May Include the Literacy Coach, ESL Instructor, Resource Teacher, Speech and Language Pathologist, and School Psychologist.
  7. Online Steps for Administrators to Support Co-teaching Practices

Session 4: Essential Components of a Co-Teaching Relationship
  1. Identify the Eight Critical Components of the Co-teaching Relationship
  2. Implement Strategies for Effective Dialogue that will Improve and Enhance Co-teaching Relationships

Session 5: Co-Teaching Modules
  1. Understand the Most Commonly Accepted Instructional Models Used in Co-Teaching Classrooms: One Teach, One Assist/Observe, One Teach, One Drift, Parallel Teaching, Station Teaching, Alternate Teaching, Team Teaching
  2. Identify How Each Model Provides a Format for Teachers to Modify Both Instruction and Student Work
  3. Identify the Categories of Student Disabilities
  4. Examine How Co-teaching Models Meet the Needs of Students with Disabilities

Session 6: Working with Support Personnel:†The Paraprofessionals as Part of the Co-Teaching Team
  1. Establish Definitions for Paraprofessional, Teacher Aide and Teacher Assistant
  2. Identify Types of Paraprofessionals (i.e.- 1:1 Aide)
  3. Explain the Roles and Responsibilities of Paraprofessionals
  4. Identify the Legal Responsibilities of Paraprofessionals
  5. Explore Teacher Supervisory Responsibilities of Paraprofessionals

Session 7: Response to Intervention (RtI)
  1. Define the Legal Requirements for Teachers Under IDEA
  2. Examine an Overview of RtI as an Evaluative Tool
  3. Compare and Contrast the Discrepancy Model and RtI
  4. Assess the Impact of RtI on General and Special Education Teachers
  5. Explore How RtI is Used in the Classroom
  6. Develop Assessment Tools and Early Intervention Strategies
  7. Provide a List of Research-based Programs

Session 8: The Use of Differentiated Instruction in the Co-Teaching Classroom
  1. Identifying the Diverse Learners in Today's Classroom
  2. Identify the Critical Components of Differentiated Lessons
  3. Examine Various Pre-assessing Tools that Determine Student Readiness, Interest and Learning Style Preference
  4. Apply Bloom's Taxonomy to Differentiate Instruction Lessons
  5. Develop and Implement Effective Differentiated Instruction Lessons
  6. Evaluate Differentiated Instruction Lessons

Session 9: Assessing Co-Teaching Programs
  1. Identify Factors that Contribute to the Effectiveness of Co-teaching Programs
  2. Identify Factors that Undermine the Effectiveness of Co-teaching Programs
  3. Evaluate Program Efficacy from Teacher, Student, Administrator and Parent surveys
  4. Develop Additional Strategies for Effectively Evaluating Programs
  5. Evaluate Differentiated Instruction Lessons

Session 10: Making Co-Teaching Work: The Issue of Common Planning Time
  1. Examine a Variety of Ways Common Planning Time can be Scheduled
  2. Develop Collaborative Meeting Agendas, Planning Sheets, etc.
  3. Read Additional Resources that Support Co-teaching
  4. Complete Final Exam and Reflection
  5. Complete Course Evaluation


    Assignment Points   Grading Scale  
  Talking Points   25      100 – 93 A
  Reflections   45       92 – 85 B
  Final Project   20       84 – 77 C
    Final Exam   10            
  Total Points 100    

Student Requirements

  1. Reading Assignments: Complete all readings and reflection assignments.
  2. Final Project - Participants will develop an action plan that demonstrates the use of ideas and concepts presented in this course. A copy follows and is included at the end of Module Two.
  3. Final Exam - Complete the final exam at the end of Module Ten.

Course Project

Develop a new or evaluate your current co-teaching program. Use the following guidelines for your project:

Freytag (2003) identified nine research-based factors associated with effective co-teaching programs including:
  1. Administrative support
  2. Balanced classroom rosters
  3. Common planning time
  4. Training and staff development
  5. Voluntary participation
  6. Teacher voice
  7. Effective communication
  8. Parity in teacher roles and responsibilities
  9. Teacher efficacy in the instruction of students with special needs

Consider these factors in developing your action plan. Your project should also address the following questions:
  1. Is there a history of collaboration in the school? How is this demonstrated?
  2. Is collaboration strongly supported by the principal and other members of the school community?
  3. What criteria have been established to determine who will be selected to co-teach?
  4. How will teams be established?
  5. What initial and on-going training will be offered to teachers and other school personnel?
  6. What models will be used? Which subjects will be co-taught?
  7. How will students be selected?
  8. How many students will each class have? What percentage of students will be inclusion students? What other types of students will be included in the class?
  9. How much planning time will teachers be allotted?
  10. How will student progress be monitored in co-taught classrooms?
  11. How will co-teaching arrangements and implementation be evaluated?
  12. What other factors have been considered?

Bibliography and Suggested Readings

  • Bauwens, J. & Hourcade, J. (2002). Cooperative teaching: Rebuilding the schoolhouse for all students, (2nd Edition). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.
  • Beattie, J., Jordan, L., & Algozzine, B. (2006). Making inclusion work. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Bender, W. (2002). Differentiating instruction for students with learning disabilities. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Benjamin, A. (1999). Writing in the content areas. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
  • Benjamin, A. (2002). Differentiated instruction: A guide for middle and high school teachers. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
  • Benjamin, A. (2003). Differentiated instruction: A guide for elementary school teachers. Larchmont, NY: Eye on Education.
  • Benninghof, A. & Singer, A. (1995), Ideas for Inclusion: The school administratorís guide. Longmont, CO: Sopris West.
  • Cook, L., & Friend, M. (1995). Co-Teaching: Guidelines for creating effective practices. Focus on Exceptional Children, 28(2), 1-12.
  • Dieker, L.A. (2007). Inclusive practices in secondary schools. Port Chester, NY: National Professional Resources.
  • Dieker, L. (2001). What are the characteristics of effective middle and high school co- taught teams for students with disabilities? Preventing School Failure, 4(1), 14-23.
  • Doyle, M. (1997). The paraprofessionalís guide to the inclusive classroom. Baltimore, MD: Paul Brooks.
  • Dowing, J. E., Ryndak, D. L., & Clark, D. (2000). Paraeducators in inclusive classrooms: Their own perceptions. Remedial and Special Education, 21, 171-181.
  • Elliot, J. & Thurlow, M. (2006). Improving test performance of students with disabilities Ė 2nd edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2003). Inclusive urban schools. Baltimore, MD: Paul Brookes.
  • Friend, M. (Co-Producer with L. Burrello & J. Burrello). (2004). The Power of Two: Including students through co-teaching (2nd edition) [videotape]. Bloomington,IN: Elephant Rock Productions. Distributed by the Council for Exceptional Children, Reston, Va.
  • Friend, M. & Cook, L. (2003). Interactions: Collaboration Skills for School Professionals. (4th Edition). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon.
  • Gately, S.E., & Gately, F. J. (20001). Understanding co-teaching components. Teaching Exceptional Children, 33(4), 40-47.
  • Gore, M.C. (2004). Successful inclusion strategies for secondary and middle school teachers: Keys to help struggling learners across the curriculum. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Hammeken, P. (2000). 450 Strategies for Success. Minnetonka, MN: Peytral Publications.
  • Kagan, S., & Kagan, M. (1998). Multiple intelligences: The complete book. San Clemente, CA: Kagan Cooperative Learning.
  • Lazear, D. (1991). Eight ways of teaching: The artistry of teaching with multiple intelligences. Palatine, IL: IRI/Skylight Publishing Co.
  • Marzano, R. (2000). Transforming classroom grading. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Marzano, R., Pickering, D., & Pollock, J. (2001). Classroom instruction that works: Research-based strategies for increasing student achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Mastropieri, M. & Scruggs, T. (2000). The inclusive classroom: Strategies for effective instruction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
  • Murawski, W., & Dieker, L. (2004). Tips and strategies for co-teaching at the secondary level. Teaching Exceptional Children, 56(5), 52-58.
  • Murphy, F. (2003). Making inclusion work: A practical guide for teachers. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon.
  • Protheroe, N. (2004). Developing effective general education-special education co- teaching relationships. The Informed Educator Series. Educational Research Service. www.
  • Rief, S. (1993). How to reach and teach ADD/ADHD children. West Nyack, NY: The Center for Applied Research in Education.
  • Snell, M. & Janney, R. (2000). Collaborative Teaming. Baltimore, MD. Paul Brookes.
  • Tomlinson, C. (1995). How to differentiate instruction in mixed-ability classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Tomlinson, C. (1999). The differentiated classroom: Responding to the needs of all learners. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Tomlinson, C. (2003). Fulfilling the promise of the differentiated classroom. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Tomlinson, C. & Allan, S. (2000). Leadership for differentiating schools and classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Tomlinson, C. & Eidson, C. (2003) Differentiation in practice: A resource guide for differentiating curriculum - Grades K-5. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Tomlinson, C. & Eidson, C. (2004) Differentiation in practice: A resource guide for differentiating curriculum - Grades 5-9. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Tomlinson, C. & Strickland, C. (2005). Differentiation in practice: A resource guide for differentiating curriculum Ė Grades 9-12. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Villa, R., & Thousand, J. (2005). Creating an inclusive school. 2nd edition. Alexander, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Villa, R., Thousand, J. & Nevin, A. (2004). A Guide to Co-Teaching. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
  • Walther-Thomas, C.S. (1997), Co-teaching experiences: The benefits and problems that teachers and principals report over time. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 30(4), 395-407.
  • Wormeli, R. (2001). Meet me in the middle. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.
  • Wormeli, R. (2005). Summarization in any subject. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
  • Wormeli, R. (2006). Fair isnít always equal. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Student Academic Integrity

Participants guarantee that all academic class work is original. Any academic dishonesty or plagiarism (to take ideas, writings, etc. from another and offer them as one's own), is a violation of student academic behavior standards as outlined by our partnering colleges and universities and is subject to academic disciplinary action.


To register to take TEI's Integrated Co-Teaching Online course, go to the Course Registration page.