Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Elizabeth Warren


AbstractGeneral Education and Special Education Teachers’ Perceptions of Co-Teaching in High Schools by Julia A. Pitts

Doctoral Study Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education

Walden University March 2021 Abstract Students with special needs are being integrated into general education classrooms. To accommodate these students, schools are using an instructional delivery method with two teachers, one general education and one special education in the same classroom. The goal of this qualitative study was to understand perceptions of general and special education teachers who were assigned to work in co-taught classrooms. The concept that supports cooperative learning is the sociocultural theoretical framework of Vygotsky that focuses on connections between people and the sociocultural context in which they act and interact. Six general education teachers and six special education teachers who are now or have been involved in co-teaching participated in semistructured interviews and provided valuable information regarding three facets of co-teaching: common planning time, administration support for co-teaching, and professional development for co-teaching. Data from the interviews were analyzed using content analysis, with four themes emerging from the data: common planning time, lack of professional development training for general and special education teachers, lack of administrative support, as well as challenges and benefits of co-teaching. Implications for social change include improving educational opportunities for students with special needs, as well as encouraging social interactions among all students. Based on these themes, a three-day professional development program was developed to provide teachers and administrators with information and strategies that could be used to make co-teaching a more viable instructional method that would provide optimum teaching and learning for both teachers and students.