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Abstract

A pair of co-teachers in a U.S., mid-western, suburban school district participated in a co-teacher training and subsequent research study, in an effort to encourage role changes that would increase the engagement of students with disabilities in the classroom, This case study presents the experiences of two co-teachers teaching in an inclusive, seventh grade science class. The teacher participants were first trained through voluntary participation in countywide, three-day in-service on co-teaching and brain-based learning and then interviewed. Over the course of the ten-week study, the co-teachers used a structured collaborative planning protocol to prepare for weekly co-teaching. Teachers and students were observed in the classroom and data was collected regarding teacher behavior and student engagement. At the conclusion of the ten weeks, teachers participated in a collaborative interview. A grounded theory approach to analysis of the pre- and post-interviews and the structured planning protocols illustrated that when the teachers met consistently and used a structured planning protocol to prepare for co-teaching in their inclusive classroom, they were able to make changes to their classroom teaching behaviors and traditional roles. These changes modified their professional relationships with one another, their roles in the classrooms, and their perceptions of their own roles as co-teachers. Implications for practice are discussed.

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