Ready, Set, Go | April 2014

“Co-teaching: Two or more professionals sharing the planning, instructing, and assessing of students” (Murawski & Spencer, 2011) is a service delivery option in schools implementing inclusive practices. Murawski & Spencer go on to say that what these two teachers are doing together is substantially different than what one teacher could do alone. In order for that to happen, we must remember that good teaching involves planning what you are going to do, doing it well, and assessing what did and did not work. Co-teaching involves the same elements, but equally shared - a professional parity.


GetREADY to become effective co-teachers by:

Knowing that collaboration and co-teaching go well beyond students with disabilities. Public schools are diverse. English language learners, students with disabilities, students who are gifted or those who don’t like school – all benefit from specialized teaching strategies.
Avoiding stereotyping students by their label; focus on strengths rather than deficits.

Being willing to break out of the stereotypical paradigm of the teacher as the king/queen of the classroom….and reach across the hallway to colleagues to ask for assistance and share information and skills.
Being respectful of all individuals and using “people first language.”
Sharing responsibility for the students; not “my kids” and “your kids.” They are all “our kids.”

Having the time to get to know each other, share beliefs, problem solve, and communicate their own needs. Having the desire to collaborate and co-teach – wanting to make this “teaching marriage” work!

Adapted from Murawski & Spencer, 2011


To SET the stage for co-teaching, planning time must be discussed. Co-teachers need to decide when, where, and how co-planning will take place. In her book, Co-Teach!, Marilyn Friend outlines A Contemporary Co-Teaching Planning Model, which includes:

Periodic face-to-face planning
Electronic planning
On-the-spot planning

The second part of Dr. Friend’s planning model includes using Marilyn’s Sixty-Minute Planning Protocol to make sure that planning time is efficiently used.

When co-planning instruction for the co-taught classroom, it is important to remember that the goal is to heighten instructional intensity and engagement. This is accomplished by making the best instructional use of the adults in the classroom to meet the needs of diverse learners. To maximize teachers’ knowledge and skills in implementing co-teaching, Friend identifies Six Co-Teaching Approaches:

One Teaching, One Observing
Station Teaching
Parallel Teaching
Alternative Teaching
One Teaching, One Assisting

Friend, 2014


For additional information and resources about co-teaching, GO to:

Maryland Learning Links includes co-teaching tools and many resource links

A Co-Teaching Reflection Tool to assist in implementation and development of skills for co-teaching approaches

Co-Teaching: General and Special Educators Working Together, a NICHY legacy resource from the Center for Parent and Family Resources, provides links to videos and additional information about co-teaching approaches

6 Steps to Co-Teaching: Helping Special and Regular Education Teachers Work Together shares six steps to prepare for a working relationship in the co-taught classroom
Your TTAC lending library for books and DVDs, including:
  ° Collaborative teaching in elementary schools: Making the co-teaching marriage work! by Wendy Murawski (Corwin 2010)
  ° Collaborative teaching in secondary schools: Making the co-teaching marriage work! by Wendy Murawski (Corwin 2009)
  ° Leading the co-teaching dance: Leadership strategies to enhance team outcomes by Wendy Murawski & Lisa Dieker (Council for Exceptional Children 2013)


Friend, M. (2014). Co-Teach! Building and sustaining effective classroom partnerships in inclusive schools (2nd ed.). Greensboro, NC: Marilyn Friend, Inc.
Murawski, W.W., & Spencer, S. (2011). Collaborate, communicate, & differentiate! How to increase student learning in today’s diverse schools. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.
This news brief is a collaborative effort of the Virginia Department of Education Training and Technical Assistance Centers at George Mason University and James Madison University. This issue was prepared by the staff of the VDOE TTAC at James Madison University. For questions about content, please contact Lisa Norris at or Kandy Grant at, or Cheryl Henderson at or call 540.568.6746.