Preservice special educators’ perceptions of collaboration and co-teaching during university fieldwork: implications for personnel preparation
Special education teachers today must demonstrate effective skills in collaboration and often engage in co-teaching with general education colleagues to meet the needs of students with disabilities. In this study, we describe a university-based early fieldwork in which university students seeking teaching licensure in special education taught children from the local urban community, thus developing their collaboration and co-teaching skills under the supervision of university faculty. Although citing challenges such as time constraints and overcoming personality differences, the majority of these preservice special educators reported growth in their teaching skills as the main outcome of this fieldwork in co-planning and co-instructing lessons to meet the diverse learning needs of children from the local community. These preservice special educators’ perceptions of this co-teaching fieldwork experience highlight the importance of special education teacher preparation programs that explicitly train students in collaboration and co-teaching skills.
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