Effective Collaboration in Inclusive Settings

by Dale Pennell

What does effective collaboration look like in inclusive settings? Here are 12 "look-fors" to assist you during your next round of classroom observations. These ideas are adapted from the work of Walther-Thomas, Korinek, McLaughlin, and Williams (2000) and Beninhof and Singer (1995).

  • The names of both the general and special educator appear on the classroom door and on all documents that class members receive.
  • Collaborating teachers share space, materials, and equipment equitably.
  • General and special educators share status, power, and authority in making decisions that impact curriculum, instruction, and classroom environment.
  • Collaborative teachers accept joint responsibility for the intellectual, emotional, and social development of all students in the classroom.
  • General and special educators share instructional responsibilities equitably and teach collaboratively.
  • Educational professionals share roles and responsibilities for working with students in such a way that the distinction between generalist and specialist is not obvious.
  • Paraprofessionals in the classroom assist students with and without disabilities.
  • Students with disabilities are seated among their classmates in a way that integrates them naturally within the classroom.
  • Students with disabilities work in student groups that include high-achieving, positive role models willing to provide peer mentoring and support.
  • Differentiated instruction, practice activities, and assessment procedures for all students are evident.
  • A wide variety of instructional materials are available in the classroom.
  • IEP modifications are provided in a manner that protects the dignity of students who require them.

Beninghof, A.M. & Singer, A.L., (1995). Ideas for inclusion: The school administrator's guide, Longmont, CO: Sopris West.

Walther-Thomas, C., Korinek, L., McLaughlin, V.L., & Williams, B.T. (2000). Collaboration for inclusive education. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Date: November/December 2001