How Teacher and Principal Beliefs Inform Inclusive Practice in the Secondary Classroom Through Co-teaching

Open Access
Wenrich, Jill Trostle
Graduate Program:
Educational Leadership
Doctor of Education
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
January 20, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Susan C Faircloth, Dissertation Advisor
  • Susan C Faircloth, Committee Chair
  • Kai Arthur Schafft, Committee Member
  • Nona Ann Prestine, Committee Member
  • James F Nolan Jr., Committee Member
  • Co-Teaching
  • Team Teaching
  • Inclusion
Little is known about the dynamics of the relationship between principal and teacher in a co-teaching classroom at the secondary level. Increasing our understanding of how teacher and principal beliefs, actions and interactions inform the co-teaching process within the secondary classroom will allow us to identify the advantages and disadvantages of this inclusive practice. This can help to explain why a school would choose this type of inclusive model. Using an embedded multi-case study design, this study explored how teacher and principal beliefs, actions and interactions in regard to the co-teaching model informed inclusive practice in the secondary classroom. Specifically, this study collected data from two high schools located in a rural area of Pennsylvania, who utilized the co-teaching model as a means of inclusive practice. Three broad conclusions were drawn from this research. First, not only teachers, but principals as well, make decisions and effectively respond to the co-teaching classroom based on the perceived needs of students. Second, both teachers and principals gain professional development opportunities through collaboration which occurs within the co-teaching partnership. Third, co-teaching not only benefits students, it also benefits the co-teachers, principals, and other members of the school community. Lastly, dialogue is the key to the development of a successful co-teaching partnership. Not only must the two teachers in the co-teaching partnership communicate on a daily basis, two-way, reciprocal communication must occur between teachers and their principal.