New Models of Cooperative Teaching

By Walsh, James M.; Jones, Barbara | Teaching Exceptional Children, May 1, 2004 | Go to article overview

New Models of Cooperative Teaching

Walsh, James M., Jones, Barbara, Teaching Exceptional Children

In a standards-reform era demanding increased access to general education classrooms by students with disabilities, how can less restrictive instructional alternatives like co-teaching be expanded in light of special education teacher shortages and tighter budgets?

This article describes the challenges and benefits of new models of co-teaching that work in schools today.

Although concern has been expressed in the special education literature regarding the need for more research on the instructional benefits of cooperative teaching (Zigmond, 2001), new laws and regulations call for full access to the general education curriculum for students with disabilities-with highly qualified teachers. In fact, this is a time to increase and not retreat from general education initiatives in our schools. Moreover, as school systems are significantly changing instructional programs in response to the standards-reform movement (Nolet & McLaughlin, 2000), and at the same time experiencing an increasing shortage of certified special education teachers (Kozleski, Mainzer, & Deschler, 2000), we need to develop alternative and additional means to support students with disabilities to successfully access general education classrooms.

After reviewing the benefits of cooperative teaching in the public schools of Anne Arundel County, Maryland, on the basis of parent, teacher, and student surveys; academic outcome data; and classroom observations, we propose four alternative models for co-taught classrooms that rely on flexible teacher schedules and the use of paraprofessionals. We describe the advantages and challenges of each model based on classroom teacher comments and experience.

Benefits of Cooperative Teaching

Since cooperative teaching was first suggested as a "mainstreaming strategy" (Bauwens & Hourcade, 1991, p. 19) and "a practical merger between general and special education integration" (Bauwens, Hourcade, & Friend, 1989, p. 17) that provides the direct and immediate support to students with disabilities accessing the general education classroom, many authors have written about best practices in co-teaching (Cook & Friend, 1995; Vaughn, Schumm, & Arguelles, 1997) and the "intuitive sense" co-teaching makes (Murawski & Swanson, 2001). Despite the dearth of experimental research in the area of co-teaching, the requirements for the least restrictive placement of students with disabilities is a foundational principle of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142) based on the long-standing lack of empirically derived research for more restrictive pullout models (Reynolds, Wang, & Walberg, 1987).

The most recent and complete analysis of the benefits of co-teaching as a less-restrictive instructional model for students with disabilities concluded, with some caution, that "co-teaching is a moderately effective procedure for influencing student outcomes" that "can have a positive impact on student achievement" (Murawski & Swanson, 2001, pp. 264-265). Included in this synthesis of quantitative data on the effectiveness of co-teaching were the results of earlier research conducted in the Anne Arundel County Public Schools finding that students in co-taught classrooms perform significantly better on state minimum competency tests as compared to students in similar general education classes without co-teaching (Walsh & Snyder, 1994). This research was conducted in response to early questioning regarding the efficacy of the "mainstreaming movement" and demonstrated that less-restrictive service options could result in positive outcomes for all students served by the collaborative efforts of a general and special education teacher in a co-taught classroom. Indeed, these academic outcome results complemented earlier survey research (Walsh, 1992) documenting that students with disabilities in Anne Arundel County Public Schools preferred co-taught classrooms to self-contained classroom placements, indicating that they enjoyed school more, learned more, and felt better about themselves in the general education classroom setting. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

New Models of Cooperative Teaching


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

    New feature

    It is estimated that 1 in 10 people have dyslexia, and in an effort to make Questia easier to use for those people, we have added a new choice of font to the Reader. That font is called OpenDyslexic, and has been designed to help with some of the symptoms of dyslexia. For more information on this font, please visit

    To use OpenDyslexic, choose it from the Typeface list in Font settings.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search


    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.