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Volume 15, Number 2
March/April 1999

After Initial Reluctance, Co-Teachers Say They Wouldn't Have It Any Other Way


Special education teacher Greg Philippsen was a bit reluctant 10 years ago when an administrator at Bloomington High School North in Bloomington, IN, suggested he co-teach with math teacher Andy Strawn. It was not because he had any bad feelings about Strawn, he emphasizes, but because he felt comfortable with the existing system of teaching special education students in the school.

At the time, he was doing solely "pull-out" and resource room work, assisting special education students individually and in small groups to reinforce concepts taught in the mainstream classroom. The head of student services, Sandy Cole, was in charge of special education and was working with a small group of teachers to figure out how to include students with disabilities in regular education. After studying co-teaching for about six months, they decided they wanted to pursue it. Strawn and Philippsen were one of the first two pairs of teachers she asked to inaugurate the practice at the school.

This is an excerpt from the Harvard Education Letter. Subscribers can click here to continue reading this article.