As schools move toward inclusion, 2/3 of students with disabilities are spending 80% or more of their time in a general education classroom.

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Inclusion involves providing support for students with disabilities within the general education setting. To give this support, integrated co-teaching (ICT) classes have two teachers: one general education teacher and one special education teacher.

Choosing the right co-teaching models will not only help you and your co-teacher succeed. It will help your students learn better.

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1. One Teach, One Assist/Observe

One instructor actively teaches while the other either assists students who are struggling with the content or observes to collect data.


  • useful when one instructor is learning from the other

  • effective when instructors need to collect data


  • can be overused when teachers don't plan together or if one teacher isn't as confident in the subject matter

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2. Parallel Teaching

Instructors split the class into two equal groups and teach the same content to each group.


  • lowers the student-to-teacher ratio so that each student gets more instructor attention


  • requires strong communication to make sure both instructors are consistent in what they're teaching

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3. Station Teaching

Students rotate from station to station in small groups. Each instructor teaches different content at their station, and some stations may have students working independently.


  • lowers the student-to-teacher ratio so that each student gets more instructor attention

  • gives students the opportunity to move around


  • coordinating logistics can be tough, like making sure your lessons are the same length

4. Alternative Teaching

One instructor teaches a larger group of students while another instructor teaches a smaller group of students.


  • allows instructors to differentiate their lesson to meet certain students needs, whether it's for enrichment, remediation, or assessment


  • requires strong communication between instructors to make sure students don't miss the content being taught to the larger group

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5. Team Teaching

Both instructors teach the same content to the same group at the same time.


  • leverages both instructors' skills

  • provides the opportunity for more creativity in the lesson


  • demands excellent communication between instructors

  • requires time for both teachers to plan together

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Quiz Time

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Ms. Wright and Mr. Graves are teaching their class of 25 students to solve word problems. Three of their students have disabilities that impact speech and language, and another two students are English language learners with intermediate reading skills. These students benefit from reading word problems aloud together and discussing the problem before solving.


Which of the following co-teaching models would be the best choice for this scenario?

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Interested in using co-teaching models in your classroom?


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