You are on page 1of 8

Collaboration between Special and General 1

Collaboration between Special Education and General Education Teachers

Jose Ybarra


The University of Arizona

Spring 2016
Collaboration between Special and General 2


This paper is a look at collaboration between special education teacher and general educations.

Along with the complications and benefits collaborating with each other brings. Using these

articles, a better picture on collaboration between the two will hopefully be developed. Three

major articles were reviewed and dissected to bring to light this subject even more. These

included 6 Steps to Successful Co-Teaching from, Collaboration Between General and

Special Education: Making it Work from, Collaboration/Cooperative Teaching | Special

Connections from special and Creating Collaborative Teams for Special

Education Classrooms from Each of these articles each have a view on

collaboration between general and special education teachers.


Collaboration between teachers has always been seen as ordeal, however the greater

ordeal has been when two very different teaching styles such as special education and general

education collide. Collaboration by definition is the action of working with someone to produce

or create something. This can occur in the workplace, schools or even with friends. But in this

paper it will be viewed more specifically in the eyes of education. Collaboration between special

and general education teachers is seen as nothing to the masses because they think a teacher can

work with anyone no problem. However, that is wrong because in education collaboration is seen

as a marriage since you spend most of your day and life at school when you are an educator.
Collaboration between Special and General 3

Collaboration involves commitment by the teachers who will be working together, by

their school administrators, by the school system, and by the community. It involves time,

support, resources, monitoring, and, above all, persistence. (

This quote shows that collaboration is not a simple thing as many regular people think

however as it states it is still possible. In this paper it will be discussed why collaboration

between special education and general education teachers is important as well as answer some

questions. Those questions include what are the proper ways for general education and special

education teacher to collaborate? Is collaboration between general education and special

education teachers more positive or negative? Also what are the complications and benefits of

special and general education teachers collaborating? For this project I dived into different

articles that each gave a view on how to accomplish these questions.


The goal of the research that was done is to show that collaboration between special and general

education teachers is not only possible but very reliable as well. In this paper. From the

researched papers/articles its been revealed that to achieve collaboration it is actually they very

simple and reasonable answers. These answers overall include communication, reliability,

accountability and trust between the two different teachers. While these may seem like a simple

list of answers the overall problem can be the egos of the teachers, simply put one or both

teachers may feel the need to have more authority in the classroom compared to the other. But

even if the teachers cant truly overcome this road block they must understand one thing and that
Collaboration between Special and General 4

is to put the needs of the students above all else, especially a petty argument over who will be the

main teacher. The reason for this is because collaboration is a tool not only for the teachers but

for the students to learn when they become adults and work with any and every one. That is the

purpose of this project to show collaboration between general and special education teachers

may not be perfect but it can be achieved for the students benefit.

Literature Review

Collaboration between special education and general education teachers has been an ongoing

discussion whether it is or can be successful in anyway. One of the articles from Marston

( showed 6 steps to developing a successful co-teaching between special and general

education teachers. In each of the articles they talk about a different number of necessary steps

for a successful collaboration four from Special Education Guide (Crawford, 2015) and three

from University of Kansas (Dieker). However, the best visualization of this is in the Five Step

Process (Sharpe and Hawes, 2003). This process begins with reviewing the standards for the

students by both special and general education teacher discussing how to go about this. Then

with talking about what are the needs for the students, afterwards is deciding on

accommodations. Then to monitor and provide feedback where provides an opportunity for the

collaborative team to determine who will be responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of the

accommodation. ( Then lastly to evaluate the students to understand the student and

create the perfect plan for the student. In one of the articles Mrs. Crawford talked about her

experience from the side lines compared to teaching where she said The most important thing I

learned was that special education doesnt work without purposeful collaboration between all
Collaboration between Special and General 5

stakeholders. Students with individualized education programs (IEPs) who stay in class grow

more than kids who are constantly pulled out of the general education setting to meet some

arbitrarily set goal created to meet the requirements of an antiquated special education system.

(Crawford 2015). Each of these papers show that with collaboration that these ideas can work but

only if both teachers are willing to implement them.


While no testing was done due to conflict of time for the people I would have

administered these testing on the different articles did extinguish some information on whether

are not these work. As stated earlier there were many different ideas on how to create a perfect

collaboration between special education and general education teachers, however there were

some that felt to be the greater than some of the others. These included confidence in partner's

skills because if you didnt trust them as a person you could at least trust their skills as an

educator who wished only greatness for the students. Adding to trusting their skills is the creation

of learning and teaching environments where each person's contributions are valued. Along with

that is designing perfect learning environments for both the educators and students that require

active involvement between both. Also the teachers need to develop effective routines to

facilitate in-depth planning. Lastly is having an increase in productivity, creativity, and

collaboration over time. While this can work it is said though that participants in collaborative

programs agreed that the time required for planning does not decrease during the year, but the

quality of instruction continues to improve.

Collaboration between Special and General 6


While researching I was able to find that while some teachers may not have a great

understanding or want to work together they do want to be there to help their students in the end.

For example, when working together some of their students with disabilities can develop a better

self-image for themselves, as well as becoming less critical and more motivated of themselves,

and be able to recognize their own academic and social strengths. Along with that the staff have

also reported professional growth, personal support, and also enhanced teaching

motivation. Along with that everyone from teachers and students can develop a stronger sense of

self, a new appreciation of their own skills and accomplishments, and all learned to value

themselves and others as unique individuals. This occurs because collaboration is bringing ideals

of each teacher into a union, like a marriage, because youll be with that person at work longer

than most people and you need to build a good relationship.


Overall collaboration between special education and general education teachers is

possible it just requires the attempt to understand one another, create a relationship between each

other and understand the students come first. But in order for the teachers to be truly successful

these are the necessary steps to take for collaboration to work, first is knowing your strengths

and weaknesses as a teacher and team member of the class. Second is maintaining a growth

mindset and an open mind. Third is to believe that all students can succeed not will succeed.

Fourth is sharing your time and vision with each other in case someone has a problem they dont

understand or to work off each other to create a new idea. Fifth is to have consistent
Collaboration between Special and General 7

communication to help one another as well as make the time to interact with each other more

often than just before/after school. Fifth is formulate a plan of action and act as a unified team

not as individuals. And last is to take risks sometimes in order to grow because if you dont take

a chance whether it is to try someones idea, listen to an opinion or something else you will never

grow as a teacher or a person the students can look up to.

Collaboration between Special and General 8


6 Steps to Successful Co-Teaching. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2016,


Collaboration Between General and Special Education Teachers. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2016,
Collaboration/Cooperative Teaching | Special Connections. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2016,

Creating Collaborative Teams for Special Education Classrooms. (2015). Retrieved April 10,
2016, from

Issue Brief. (n.d.). Retrieved April 10, 2016,