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Co-Teaching in Wisconsin


Co-Teaching in Wisconsin

Co-Teaching is generally defined as two licensed educators, often a special education teacher and a general education teacher, sharing equal responsibility for planning, delivering, evaluating instruction, and learning to meet the diverse needs of students in a shared space. The overarching goal of co-teaching is to combine and expand upon the expertise of both professionals for the benefit of all students assigned to them. The co-teaching pair learn from each other, and over time, roles become more fluid such that planning, creating modifications, developing accommodations, and content instruction are all done by both as determined through co-planning and assessment of student needs. Attention to implementation science with regard to the application of evidence-based practices for the co-teaching model as well as instruction and behavioral supports is a critical factor to the success of co-teaching. The presence of a special education teacher in a general education classroom does not automatically mean the class is co-taught.

Components of Co-Teaching

For students receiving special education services through an individualized education program (IEP), the co-teaching team uses the IEP as the foundation to ensure specially designed instruction and other special education supports are appropriate and carried out. This is done through:
  • Adequate planning time for the co-teaching team to establish rapport, make curricular decisions, and honor and utilize both teachers' experiences and knowledge;
  • Collective responsibility for the engagement of all students through delivery of instruction; and
  • Ongoing assessment of progress for all students.

Co-teaching Tool Kit

Resources are being developed by Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to support schools in the selection and implementation of co-teaching as an instructional approach to provide meaningful inclusion that facilitates grade-level standards-based education.
  • An Introductory Video about co-teaching was created to provide a quick overview of co-teaching
  • “If your district or school is considering or reflecting on whether co-teaching is a good fit for your district, please consider using THE HEXAGON TOOL, developed by the National Implementation Research Network (NIRN). The Hexagon Tool can be used by communities and organizations to better understand how a new or existing program or practice fits into an implementing site’s existing work and context. The Hexagon Tool can be used at any stage of implementation to assess fit and feasibility. It is most commonly used during the Exploration stage when an implementing site is identifying and selecting new programs and practices to implement (NIRN)
  • The Co-Teaching Implementation Checklist was designed for co-teaching pairs highlighting evidence-based practices to support identification of strengths in existing classroom practices and assist with development of next steps toward evidence-based practice implementation.