Collaborative Teaching: Creating a Partnership between General and Special Education

By Melanie Jones, Craig Michael, James Mandala and David Colachico.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Successful teaching and learning involves an interaction of the teacher, the learner, the materials, and the context. Upon entering today’s classrooms we find a diverse population of students who have a wide range of learning styles and needs. Teachers are faced with challenges daily about what to teach and how to teach content information so that maximum learning takes place. Successful teaching involves the interaction of the teacher, the learner, the materials, and the context. Today’s classrooms have a diverse population of students with a wide range of learning needs. Schools must provide options to students who require support. Teachers need to be prepared with a range of strategies that can be used to modify an activity or assignment when students’ lack of comprehension dictates it. Because of the movement toward the inclusion of special needs students in the general education classrooms, teachers must present information that meets the needs of the curriculum and the students at different ability levels within the same classroom. Teachers must address these various levels of ability and, in the instructional design, are also expected to meet designated standards for the various lesson plans being taught. One system that can be used to address the needs of both faculty and students is collaborative teaching. In collaborative teaching, general education teachers and special education teachers or instructional assistants share responsibility for planning and teaching exceptional students who are in the general education classroom. When these individuals work collaboratively they combine subject area knowledge with special education techniques and create change in the way classes are taught. The presenters in this journal article will share one collaborative teaching program that was developed and proven successful for a middle school (grades 6-8) in a southern California setting.

Keywords: Special Education, Collaboration, Collaborative Teaching

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 15, Issue 7, pp.203-208. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.272MB).

Melanie Jones

Special Education Teacher, Special Education, Edgewood Middle School, West Covina, California, USA

Melanie Jones has been a special education teacher at Edgewood Middle School for two years. Melanie works in collaborative settings with students and teachers in grades 6-8.

Craig Michael

Teacher, English Department, Edgewood Middle School, West Covina, California, USA

Craig Michael has taught at Edgewood Middle School for over 10 years. Craig is an English teacher (grades 6-8) and a strong advocate and supporter of the collaborative teaching programs at his school.

James Mandala

Principal, Edgewood Middle School, Edgewood Middle School, West Covina, California, USA

James Mandala has been the Principal of Edgewood Middle School for five years. He has strong background in program improvement and within the field of physical education. James is a supporter of the collaborative teaching model developed and implemented at his school.

Dr. David Colachico

Director, Office of Faculty Development, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, California, USA

David P. Colachico is Professor and Director of Faculty Development at Azusa Pacific University (Azusa, California). David has worked extensively in Special Education, K-12 education and Educational Administration. David has taught in both public education and higher education for over thirty years. David is the author of several books and articles including “Stress and Children with Disabilities,” a chapter in Children and Stress: Understanding and Helping, a book written in reaction to the attack on the World Trade Center on 9/11. He is currently conducting research in the area of collaborative teaching as well as effective program change.


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