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A Co-Teaching Training Program’s Impact on Female Student Teachers: Department of Special Education, King Saud University:

A Co-Teaching Training Program’s Impact on Female Student Teachers: Department of Special... This study investigated the effects of a co-teaching training program on female pre-service teachers of special education at the Faculty of Education, King Saud University. It also examined whether the participants’ academic majors affected their total knowledge gains obtained from the administered training program. A co-teaching training program was designed to train the assigned participants of the study on the main principles of co-teaching. Fifty-one female pre-service teachers were randomly selected to receive the co-teaching training program for six sessions. They studied in four different academic majors: behavioral disorders, mental disabilities, learning difficulties, and deaf and hearing impaired. A pre-measurement scale was administered prior to the treatment and immediately after the treatment to see the possible knowledge gains from the program. Results revealed significant improvements in the students’ knowledge from pre-treatment to post-treatment. However, no statistically significant differences among the participants could be ascribed to the participants’ academic majors. Recommendations, limitations, and tips for future studies have been provided. Keywords co-teaching, special needs, training, teachers, special education IDEA (2004) and Slamacana statement which affirm the Introduction right for any individual to receive education specially chil- A new trend adopted by many international organizations, dren with disability. Another justification to conduct such a such as Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement study related to the study context where it was carried out in (Individual with Disability Education Improvement Act Saudi Arabia that could meet the Saudi Arabian Vision (IDEA) 2004), has been to focus on how students with dis- 2030, which devoted to achieving a successful comprehen- abilities learn rather than where they learn (McDuffie et al., sive integration of students by building a comprehensive 2009). Inclusive education, an approach that expresses how learning environment for all students. This could be achieved to change educational structures and other learning atmo- through creating high-quality curricula that meet all stu- spheres to meet the needs of the variety of learners (UNESCO, dents’ needs by applying the best modern educational prac- 2005), is one the best strategies used to integrate students tices and developing teachers’ capabilities to promote with disabilities with their peers in general education, con- education to its highest levels and achieve effective out- sidering that isolating learners with disabilities from accom- comes that accomplish social development of the Saudi modating with their peers deter them from academic society (Vision 2030, 2016). Therefore, the current study achievements and thus could negatively affect their learning aims to find out how pre-service teachers who teach stu- outcomes (Jeannite, 2018). Furthermore, one of the benefits dents with disabilities can improve their teaching capabili- of inclusive education is to raise the self-esteem of learners ties to align with Saudi Arabia Vision 2030. with disabilities and build their self-confidence to be part of society and not to feel that disability has a stigma. The con- siderable demand for inclusive education is justified by the King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia increasing number of students with learning disabilities and Corresponding Author: related minor disabilities worldwide who receive their edu- Wedad Albahusain, Department of Special Education, King Saud cation in public schools (Gebhardt et al., 2015). University, Prince Turkey Street, B.O. Box 2454, Riyadh 11451, Saudi The current study is based on international statements Arabia. reported by my many international organizations such as Email: walbahusain@ksu.edu.sa Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open Comprehensive education is the simplest way to describe Declaration (UNESCO, 2019), the United Nations Conven- public education of students with disabilities according to tion on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) and accommodations that suit their individual needs. For com- other laws on eligibility for free education and less restric- prehensive education to succeed, schools require conditions tive environments. The No Child Left Behind Act (U.S. of high-quality services, well-trained teachers, supportive Department of Education, 2001) has contributed to consider- staff and financial resources (Bouillet, 2013; Curski, 2008). ation of co-teaching by emphasizing students’ need to access Therefore, conditions in Saudi Arabia have been established the public-education curriculum with all schools meeting all to ensure the successful implementation of comprehensive students’ comprehensive educational needs and all students education. The most important conditions are the collective having access to effective learning, including those with dis- work of each person involved, involvement of parents, modi- abilities (Friend،, 2017). To raise schools’ performance lev- fication of curricula and teaching practices and provision of els, school teams needed to collaborate and provide support for staff and students. These conditions allow team differentiated teaching according to needs in regular classes members to exchange knowledge and skills and help improve (Tomlinson, 2017). Collaboration is one of the best strategies achieving learning goals. The optimal benefits of compre- used to ensure educational interventions success especially hensive education have not only benefited learners with dis- for students with special needs. abilities who require individual educational support but also The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; U.S. Department non-disabled students. However, this approach involves the of Education, 2015) confirmed for the first time that all United significance of thoroughly developing each lesson’s work States students are taught according to academic standards agenda, so teachers and students can focus on its instruc- sufficiently high to prepare them to succeed in university tional objectives (Villa et al., 2013). study and their careers. ESSA’s implementation has resulted This research study emerged from the urgent need to pro- in the historically highest graduation rates from high schools, vide a database that contributes to co-teaching methods’ opti- while dropout rates have fallen to a historical low (Every mal employment in regular classrooms within comprehensive Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), 2015). Therefore, in accor- education programs. This goal is achieved through the spe- dance with ESSA’s accounting system for low graduation cial-education teacher and the public-school teacher’s coop- rates, U.S. schools have become keen on instructional quality eration in the regular, “less restricted” classroom environment, and providing public-school services to students with special considering individual differences of students with special needs. Additionally, the Council for Exceptional Children needs (The IRIS Center, 2018). The significance of the pres- raised the importance of teachers’ awareness to apply evi- ent study lies in directing educators’ attention to the impor- dence-based practices (Council for Exceptional Children tance of co-teaching, in identifying models for its application [CEC], 2014). The previous literature stated a considerable and in identifying competencies teachers need to implement need to identify how teachers conceptualized evidence-based co-teaching successfully. Therefore, this study aims to find a practices and how to develop their knowledge about them training program’s effect on female special-education pre- (Gapsis, 2017). Although IDEA mandates that teachers use service teachers through a newly developed co-teaching evidence-based practice with the students with special needs, training program at King Saud University and to reveal their some of them do not apply it in their classrooms, affecting knowledge level according to academic track. Additionally, practice opportunities (Scheeler et al., 2016). the study identifies the importance of pre-service training Teacher preparation programs need to develop pre-service and measures the training program’s effect on student teach- teachers’ skills in using evidence-based practices including ers’ understanding of the co-teaching concept. The study co- teaching skills. Moreover, these programs should prepare attempts to answer the following two questions: teachers to practice these skills efficiently in the classroom with students with disabilities and their peers (Scheeler et al., 1. Do pre- and post-measurement performances in 2016). Teachers’ preparation programs should prepare pre- the co-teaching concept differ significantly among service teachers to be well-informed, aware of their own female special-education student teachers? strengths and appreciate the impact of the environment on 2. Do pre- and post-measurement performances in the their instructional decisions. It is known that pre-service co-teaching concept differ significantly according to teachers are trained in many teachers’ preparation programs academic track among female special-education stu- in evidence-based practice. However, training to use and dent teachers? generalize newly acquired skills to classrooms is still lack- ing. Hence, teacher education programs should orient pre- service teachers to be aware in selecting and implementing Literature Review practices that were supported by research findings (Detrich Legislative law has continued to protect the rights of students & Lewis, 2013). Faculties of education are the best places with special needs and to provide access to free comprehen- that could refine the capabilities, competencies, and skills of sive education in regular classrooms by highly qualified pre-service teachers to be capable to practice co-teaching teachers and private education teachers since the Salamanca skills collaboratively with their peers. Cooperation among Albahusain 3 teachers is the key for successful co-teaching (Abbye-Taylor, difficulties in the classroom. Teaching these students in the 2013). In addition, preservice teachers need to be trained in classroom has become a responsibility that requires how to achieve the students’ learning outcomes by providing improved communication and cooperation between teachers them with the most effective tools and teaching strategies. to ensure the achievement of the planned teaching objec- To develop pre-service teachers’ skills, studies (Kim & tives. Therefore, many collaborative and evidence-based Pratt, 2021; Sebald et al., 2021) indicate that it is useful to teaching practices have emerged to address the educational practice co- teaching with pre-service teachers until they challenges of teaching students with learning disabilities master it. This will ensure that their implementation of co- in general education classrooms, including co-teaching teaching in future will be better improved with students with (McDuffie et al., 2009). Studies have argued that co-teaching disabilities. In addition, Kim and Pratt (2021) suggested that as an evidence-based practice leads to improvement in stu- much implementation of a co-teaching in a university class- dents’ performance and has contributed to meaningful learn- room would increase positive perceptions of pre-service ing (Hurd & Weilbacher, 2018). Training in co-teaching in teachers toward the use co-teaching. Preservice teachers teacher education programs is an urgent need and is driven must be prepared in using evidence-based practice in the by pedagogical theories, considering it the most appropriate teacher preparation programs because research suggests that strategy for engaging students with learning difficulties in they are likely to continue to practice the same techniques regular classes (Ellis & Gary, 2018). throughout their teaching career (Scheeler et al., 2016). Despite this, the limited use of evidence-based teaching Studies indicated that the more the implementation of strategies in the classroom and providing effective teachers’ evidence-based practices, the more the progress in students’ education programs to meet students with special educa- performance (Cook et al., 2012). Despite the positive effect tional needs remains a crucial issue in special education of these practices on the learning outcomes of students with since the release of the special education laws (Borgmeier disabilities, they are not used effectively and consistently in et al., 2016). Many educators have agreed that the wide schools (Aubyn et al., 2018). However, the most important application of evidence-based practices leads to augmenting puzzling issues in the field of special education were the lim- the students’ learning performance (Cook et al., 2012; Slavin, ited implementation of evidence-based practices in the class- 2008). However, evidence-based practices are still not up to room and poor teachers’ education programs that meet the the expected level in classes of students with disabilities needs of students with disabilities (Borgmeier et al., 2016). (Pellicano et al., 2018), possibly because of a lack of pre- These deficiencies could be ascribed to the low level of service teacher training. Previous studies (Pancsofar & teachers’ competence from the lack of training. According to Petroff, 2013) have demonstrated that teachers’ practices of Faraclas (2018), pre-service and in-service teachers indi- co-teaching could be shaped before and during service cated that one of the challenges they faced was that they were besides their individual practical experience of co-teaching asked to implement co-teaching strategies without even during the internship program. This finding demonstrates receiving sufficient training, resulting in difficulty in team- that teacher education programs have a pivotal role in pre- work. Despite the provision of co-teaching services, teachers paring teachers for evidence-based practices such as co- do not practice it well. Therefore, they need more training in teaching. Raybould (2017) also reported that teachers co-teaching models to improve their self-efficacy in col- continue to see the need for more pre-service training on laboration and to apply these models effectively and suc- these evidence-based practices to improve their performance, cessfully (Raybould, 2017). Scheeler et al. (2016) discussed implement co-teaching and solve challenges to co-teaching. six challenges: insufficient preparation, lack of reinforce- Bantwini (2013) asserts that co-teaching training in teacher ment, competing demands, lack of generalization, absence of education programs is a promising practice for enhancing evidence-based practice culture and lack of expertise. collaborative skills, increasing student participation and con- Efforts to instruct students with learning disabilities tributing to improved classroom teaching and professional sound incomplete if general education teachers and special growth for all participating teachers. education teachers do not share educational services for By contrast, a number of empirical studies have indicated students with special needs in general education classrooms that effective professional development should be character- (Dollarage & Lewis, 2011). This initiative requires training ized by five basic elements: adequate training duration, them to use teaching strategies based on scientific evidence meaningful content, coherence, active learning, and group in teaching general education classes. One of these impor- participation (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009; Snow-Renner tant strategies is co-teaching. & Lauer, 2005). Given educational frameworks, current The increasing number of students with learning disabili- inclusion practices and differentiation demands that all ties who receive their learning in general education classes depend on teachers working together, the adoption of co- with their non-disabled peers within the inclusive education teaching within the framework of the teacher education and department imposes needs for implementation of reforms in-service training program is an urgent and fundamental and significant changes in teaching practices by teachers of need for education (Ellis & Gary, 2018). Chitiyo and Brinda general education and teachers of students with learning (2018) conducted a study that aimed to reveal the level of 4 SAGE Open education programs of teachers who use co-teaching. The student, a small group of students or the whole class. Both study found that the majority of teachers are not well pre- teachers must already have agreed on which one observes. To pared. Although they understand the basics of co-teaching, make observations more meaningful, the teachers must they need training in how to implement it efficiently. Cramer decide which students need the observations and the relevant et al. (2010) confirmed that the need for training in imple- behaviors to be analyzed. They also need to make decisions menting co-teaching, especially in the selection, planning about the observation objectives and the ways of recording and application of different methods of co-teaching. In this observations, whether through class lists or informal behav- regard, Barnes (2017) recommended that teacher education ioral forms. They should maintain all the collected data from programs should be evaluated to determine whether teachers observation to be further examined and render instructional perceive themselves qualified enough to be involved in decisions. co-teaching. Second, Station teaching: Both teachers positively Several studies (e.g., Chapple, 2009; Gebhardt et al., engage in station teaching, enabling them to achieve a clear 2015) have recommended and highlighted the importance division of work. The two teachers divide teaching content, of training teachers, students and co-teachers on inclusive each taking responsibility for planning and teaching part of practices and the needs of students with disabilities. This it. This method has the advantage of each specialist having training helps the next generation of teachers become pre- separate responsibility for delivering instruction. Teaching pared for co-teaching in a comprehensive learning environ- here is divided into three non-consecutive parts, in which the ment. To the best of the author’s knowledge, studies that students are divided into three groups, and they move from address the issue of pre-service teachers training on the co- station to station, they receive instruction from the teacher in teaching model are lacking. Thus, the present study is two stations and work alone in the third station or under the needed for training pre-service female student teachers in supervision of a student of practical education, educational co-teaching skills. assistant or another adult available in the class, and moves Students from station to station according to a predetermined schedule (Friend, 2016; Lerner & Beverly, 2014). Theoretical Framework One characteristics of this model is that a teacher Co-teaching is often applied by special and general educators instructs all the students even if they are assigned in differ- who are considered part of an initiative to create a more com- ent groups, leading to achieve equivalence resulting from prehensive classroom (CAST Professional Publishing, 2021). the equal status between students and their teacher. Station Bin Jalal (2018) defined co-teaching as a “teaching model in teaching requires teachers to share responsibility for plan- which public-education teachers collaborate with teachers of ning to divide the instructional content. It has the advantage students with disabilities in planning, teaching, and evaluating that each one has separate responsibility to deliver the responsibilities within the classroom that includes students instructional content. Thus, this method can be fruitful with learning disabilities in middle and secondary schools, and when teachers have different teaching strategies or do not it is applied in several ways.” Abahusain and Al Hussein (2016) know each other well. However, teachers must be careful in further explained that “[co-teaching] is an educational process, dividing the content and taking into account the importance based on collaboration and cooperation between regular class- of knowledge sequence so that it does not affect students’ room teachers and learning-difficulties teachers. They collab- understanding. orate in presenting subjects and educational plans for the Third, Parallel teaching: Parallel teaching reduces the benefit of students in general and those with learning disabili- teacher–student ratio. In this type of co-teaching, teachers ties in particular and is applied in different ways.” Wilson plan together, but each delivers content to two groups that (2006) stated that co-teaching is a combination of public and differ in their characteristics. Both teachers offer the same special-education teachers who teach in public school, and in content, but the fewer the number of students in each group, most forms of co-teaching, teachers plan to coordinate and the greater their opportunity to participate with the teacher adapt lessons using a variety of strategies, followed by evalu- and reduce unwanted behavior (Bin Jalal, 2018). This type of ation of student performance. teaching model requires teachers to cooperate as students receive the same information. It would be much beneficial Co-teaching models. Several studies Cook and Friend for practicum activities, exam revisions, topics that need a (2017); Friend and Cook (2010); Lerner and Beverly (2014) high level of interactivity, or projects that need close supervi- have explained that co-teaching involves professionals who sion from the teacher. plan for education and implement it using six methods. Fourth, Alternative teaching: Alternative teaching pro- First, One teach, one observe model: In this method, the vides high-intensity teaching in public-education classes. first teacher leads instruction and has primary responsibility Here, the first teacher works with most students, while the for designing and delivering a particular learning process to second works with a small group of students for treatment, the whole class. The second teacher observes and collects enrichment, assessment, pre-education or any other objec- academic, behavioral or social data relating to a single tive. The large group receives content or performs an activity Albahusain 5 that the small group can miss (Lerner & Beverly, 2014). One level of knowledge of co-teaching, its components and the of the most important features of this model is that it allows basics of its implementation. teachers to target the individual needs of a specific group of Following a descriptive approach over two consecutive students based on previous data that to be considered during semesters, Shaffer and Thomas-Brown (2015) identified the planning of the alternative lesson. When teachers use practical foundations of the teaching style that integrates alternative teaching, they must first ensure that each teacher co-teaching and professional development. The sample takes responsibility for the small group and handles cases as consisted of two teams of public-school teachers and a par- planned. ticipant’s special-education teacher. Data were collected Fifth, Teaming: Teachers lead instruction with the whole through informal conversations, self-reports and semi- group through lessons, lectures and/or discussion, each rep- permanent interviews. The most important study results resenting a different opinion, thereby presenting, explaining were that teamwork is a main element in the co-teaching and clarifying two perspectives or two solutions to problems. professional development model. Teachers are responsible for teaching all students whether in In another descriptive study, Magiera and Zigmond large groups, for monitoring students working independently (2005) compared the effect of a special-education teacher’s or for facilitating student groups working on joint projects. presence in public classes on the educational experiences of In this model, students see that the teachers have equal sta- middle school students with disabilities to the same stu- tus. The two teachers work collaboratively to manage the dents’ experiences when taught by a regular teacher under students’ teaching processes such as planning, teaching, and routine educational conditions. Study results indicated sta- evaluation. This model is suitable for teachers who want to tistically significant differences in target students in the use innovative teaching strategies that they would not have interaction between the public-education teacher and indi- tried on their own. vidual education. Sixth, One teaches, one assists: The first teacher leads Using a questionnaire to address the challenges that face instruction, while the second walks among students, provid- co-teaching, Chitiyo and Brinda (2018) conducted a study to ing individual support and assistance. That is, one teacher reveal co-teachers’ extent of prior training. The result of retains the primary role of managing and leading the teach- descriptive analysis showed that most teachers were not ing process, while the other walks around the classroom properly trained and that such training was urgently needed. helping students who need redirection or who have questions Similarly, Chapple (2009) conducted a descriptive study about their coursework. This type of teaching requires group that aimed at identifying the obstacles facing successful co- planning, enabling co-teaching to be carried out even when teaching teams and provide solutions to these obstacles. group planning time is scarce. Data were collected through interviews with a sample By using these six methods, teachers achieve the goals (N = 15) from general teachers, special education teachers, and objectives of individual education programs for stu- school leaders and university professors in the field of co- dents with disabilities, while at the same time helping to teaching in the US. Results revealed that the most major meet other class members’ educational needs (Al-Sudairi, obstacle facing the co-teaching teams is the lack of profes- 2019). sional development; the study revealed that workers who received professional training before applying co-teaching were more compatible and achieved greater communication Previous Studies and integration in collaborative classes. Another obstacle is Bin Jalal (2018) identified the effects of a co-teaching model time allocated for planning co-teaching because setting time in middle and high schools as perceived by the study partici- for lesson planning in teachers’ timetables was difficult. pants, students with learning disabilities and their teachers Additionally, low professional satisfaction, low compatibil- (N = 323). The study also attempted to determine the effi- ity and poor cooperation were reported as obstacles that ciency of the co-teaching model and reveal if there were limit co-teaching success. statistically significant differences that could be attributed Sims (2010) investigated whether the professional devel- to the type of work and co-teaching training and identified opment resulting from co-teaching affects the improvement the correlation between the implementation and the effec- of teachers’ attitudes toward students with disabilities, their tiveness of the program. Results showed a high level of teamwork when implementing co-teaching and their teach- effectiveness of the co-teaching model and found significant ing competence. The author used action research and the differences that ascribed to the work type for the benefit of mixed-method design in a suburb of Arizona in the US. The the public-education teachers and students with learning study sample consisted of seven teachers who were divided disabilities. into three teams, each with a special education teacher and a Abahusain and Al Hussein (2016) also conducted a descrip- general education teacher, except for one of the teams that tive study identifying the situation of implementing co- consisted of two general education teachers and a special teaching in learning-difficulties programs in Riyadh, Saudi education teacher. Results from a questionnaire, verification Arabia. Results indicated learning-difficulties teachers’ high forms, focus interviews, class notes and observations using 6 SAGE Open computer programs revealed that the participants’ percep- a qualitative study to identify the collaboration between a tions and attitudes toward co-teaching improved in curricula primary school and a US faculty of education and how co- objectives and modifications, personal communication and teaching practices could contribute to the improvement of evaluation after conducting a training program. Results also pre-service teachers’ co-teaching skills and the capabilities revealed that the training and various sources and support of integrating students with disabilities in an inclusive edu- provided to the participants helped them improve their co- cation program. The results of the triangulated data collec- teaching competence. Results indicated the participants’ tion tools, namely, interviews, observation, lesson plans and desire to increase professional development in co-teaching to journals, revealed that collaboration played an integral part further improve their practice in co-teaching. in boosting the cooperative work which helped the pre-ser- To gauge teachers’ perceptions, Malian and McRae (2010) vice teachers to meet the needs of students with disabilities. conducted a study that aimed to determine the perceptions of Härkki et al. (2021) explored how co-teaching emerged in general education teachers and special education teachers light of second-order educational change and the challenges toward the compatibility and contradiction between their that teachers faced when implementing co-teaching prac- teaching strategies, their personal characteristics and the tices. The authors conducted their study in the Finnish con- effectiveness of co-teaching, using a descriptive survey text in which L2 teachers were recruited to appear in a approach. The study sample was selected randomly and con- semi-structured interview. Many themes and sub-themes sisted of 290 teachers in general education and special edu- were generated to focus on six topics: planning, co-teaching cation who implement co-teaching from 160 primary schools. concept, shared reflection on time, structural support, and Results revealed that co-teaching reduced the gap between linear pedagogy. Results showed that co-teaching in the general education and special education. Results also showed Finnish context was highly implemented that could help no significant differences between teachers of general educa- develop teachers’ co-teaching practices. The participants tion and special education in their beliefs, teaching methods reported that insufficient planning time and low resources and personal characteristics toward co-teaching, reflecting and instructional materials were the top barriers facing their willingness to cooperate to improve the students’ learn- implementing meaningful co-teaching. ing outcomes. Barnes’s (2017) mixed-design case study determined the Similarly, Tzivinikou (2015) examined how general edu- effects of professional development in co-teaching on teach- cation teachers and special education teachers could improve ers’ attitudes and classroom practices in California middle the concept of co-teaching in an inclusive setting in Greece. and high schools. Results concluded that time planning, The study analyzed 15 cases of co-teaching in which the managerial support and teacher-related teaching methods special education teacher supports students with disabilities were some of co-teaching’s influential factors. Similarly, in an inclusive class from first grade to fourth grade. The Jeannite (2018) qualitatively examined how co-teachers study used the descriptive analytical approach, and the study from general education and special education programs used sample was selected convincingly. The sample consisted of strategies to improve the concept of co-teaching and identify 15 classes in general education, and in each class, at least the students’ academic achievement. The results of the struc- one student with learning disabilities is present. A total of 30 tured and semi-structured interviews with the sample teach- teachers (3 males, 27 females) were included, and the aver- ers indicate that lack of training, poor instructional strategies age years of experience for teachers is 10 years. Findings to teach students with disabilities and low content awareness showed that creating a spirit of cooperation between teach- were the main reasons for the low competencies of general ers is practical and appropriate, leading to building co- and special educations teachers to meet the challenges of teaching models that cope with the special circumstances in integrating the students with disabilities with non-disabled schools. The results showed that the tension and disagree- students. Kim and Pratt (2021) investigated the pre-service ment that existed between teachers in general education and teachers’ perceptions about co-teaching after they received a special education disappeared after training in co-teaching. co-teaching program in a special education context. Their Furthermore, teachers’ attitudes toward cooperative educa- participants viewed positive attitudes to the co-teaching par- tion change after in-service training. adigm and showed their willingness to carry out co-teaching In a qualitative study, Hoppey and Mickelson (2017) in their future careers. They also expressed the role played by explored (1) organization of a partnership between a primary the university to form positive opinions about co-teaching school and a college of education in an American state, (2) and its optimal benefits on achieving learning outcomes. co-teaching practices to refine teachers’ skills before serving Research on how to find out effective strategies that in collaborations and (3) the ability to integrate students with helped pre-service teachers to accommodate students with disabilities in comprehensive education classes. Results disabilities in inclusive classrooms is severely lacking. In the revealed that partnership played a prominent role in collab- Saudi Arabian context, to date, no single study has investi- orative work, helping pre-service teachers develop their gated how pre-service teachers could be prepared to meet the knowledge of policies to meet the needs of students with dis- needs of students with disabilities to be a part of general edu- abilities. Similarly, Hoppey and Mickelson (2017) conducted cation and to integrate them with their peers of non-disabled Albahusain 7 Table 1. Distribution of Sample Participants According to 2. Laws and legislation that support co-teaching Academic Major Variable. 3. Definition of co-teaching, as distinguished from related concepts Academic major Repetition % 4. Elements of co-teaching Behavioral disorders 22 43.1 5. Stages of co-teaching Mental disability 5 9.8 6. Implementation methods of the co-teaching model Learning difficulties 7 13.7 7. Competencies of co-teachers Deaf and hearing impaired 17 33.3 8. Obstacles to implementation of co-teaching Total 51 100 9. Benefits of implementation of co-teaching 10. Principles of collaboration between co-teachers 11. Advantages and disadvantages of co-teaching students through implementing a co-teaching strategy. Therefore, it examining empirically the feasibility of prepar- The most significant challenges that teachers and students ing pre-service teachers is of paramount interest, as is find- might face in implementation of the co-teaching model. ing out how the possible gains of a training program prepared The program was carried out with the participants of the by the author are moderated by the variable of the academic present study who had voluntarily agreed to be involved in track of the participants. the treatment to receive the content during (6) sessions. The participants’ background knowledge had been determined through the administering a scale prior to the treatment (see Method Appendix 1). Next, the program sessions (N = 6) have been Design implemented for about 4 hours a day; each session lasted for 30 minutes and preceded by a pre-evaluation session and a The present study adopted a quasi-experimental design, spe- post-evaluation session. Each session included a specific cifically, a design with one group that received the treatment goal stemmed from the predetermined goals, which were 12 where the author is interested to see the development of goals using various teaching strategies such as: lecture, dis- the group from the pre- to the post-measurement as a result cussion, work groups, practical application, video, stories, of the independent variable (i.e., the co-teaching training brainstorming, worksheets, training games, and a mini teach- program). ing. After reviewing the theoretical framework of the pro- gram regarding the goal of the six co-teaching strategy, the Sample and Population micro-teaching strategy was adopted by the participants as a type of diagnostic activities to ensure the appropriate perfor- The study population consisted of female pre-service teach- mance of the participants for those strategies. The partici- ers (N = 100) in the Department of Special Education, pants were provided feedback during the sessions to develop College of Education, King Saud University, 2017 to 2018. performance and the weaknesses were investigated with the The participants studied in four different academic trainers as to be avoided. majors; Behavioral Disorders, Mental Disability, Learning Difficulties, and Deaf and Hearing Impaired. All the popula- The participants showed high positive impressions of the tion (N = 101) of the study was invited to take part. A ran- quality of the information presented. They expressed their dom sample of 51 was chosen to compose the sample of the positive perceptions through meaningful comments during the study where they received the training program. The sample sessions. It was also observed through their involvement with was told that their participation in the treatment was volun- the program activities. The participants unanimously agreed tary and those who agreed to participate were selected to that this kind of training on co-teaching was presented in take part in the study. Table 1 shows the distribution of sam- scientific form. In addition, the views of the participants about ple participants according to the academic major variable. the program were collected through a survey conducted by the department administration to evaluate the program at the end of the day, resulting in positive responses. Instruments Second: Scale design. The researcher designed a scale The data collection tools consisted of the following: to measure the participants’ gain of the program |and was First: The co-teaching training program administered before and after the training program’s imple- The co-teaching training program included six training mentation. The scale has been constructed by the author sessions based on this study’s general objectives and recent to achieve the training program outcomes used as a main literature. The program’s main outline was as follows. intervention of the present study. The author built the scale considering the previous literature related to the co-teaching 1. The co-teaching model’s emergence and historical models and the surveys used in the previous studies that context 8 SAGE Open Table 2. Pearson’s Correlation Coefficients of Questionnaire Research question 1: Do pre- and post-measurement Items. performances in the co-teaching concept differ sig- nificantly among female special-education student Total correlation Item Total correlation teachers? Item number coefficient number coefficient 1 0.518** 13 0.644** To answer this question, the researcher used the paired- 2 0.565** 14 0.760** sample t-test, and the results are shown in Table 4. 3 0.876** 15 0.510** The results in Table 4 indicate statistically significant 4 0.856** 16 0.847** differences at 0.05 between pre- and post-measurements 5 0.687** 17 0.665** in favor of post-measurement, thereby indicating that the 6 0.532** 18 0.674** proposed training program was effective in developing the 7 0.628** 19 0.689** co-teaching concept among female special-education student 8 0.747** 20 0.568** teachers. 9 0.629** 21 0.675** 10 0.754** 22 0.681** Research question 2: Do pre- and post-measurement 11 0.606** 23 0.506** performances in the co-teaching concept differ signifi- 12 0.706** 24 0.719** cantly according to academic major among female **Significant at the level of (0.01). special-education student teachers? To answer this question, the researcher used one-way examined the efficacy of co-teaching to aid learning objec- ANOVA analysis, with results shown in Table 5. tives (Brown, 2013; Friend, 2016; Friend & Cook, 2010; Results in Table 5 indicate no statistically significant dif- Gately & Gately, 2001; Tzivinikou, 2015; Wilson, 2006). ferences at 0.05 in the study sample’s post-measurement per- The scale is composed of 24 statements (Appendix 1), using formance by the variable of academic major. a multiple-choice question on a three-point Likert scale (agree, neutral, disagree). The scale was validated to ensure reliability and validity. It was first sent out to seven special- Discussion ist referees from different disciplines. They provided their This study sought to understand whether a designed program constructive feedback and new modifications were made that entailed a co-teaching strategy could improve their based on their suggestions. The final 24 statements that knowledge about the concept of co-teaching. The partici- composed the scale were produced in their final forms. Sta- pants of the present study were pre-service teachers of stu- tistically, Pearson correlation was run to calculate the degree dents with disabilities from different academic departments. of correlation of each item with the scale’s overall corre- After the comprehensive training sessions, the results lation. Table 2 shows these correlation coefficients. Cron- obtained from a scale showed the positive effect of the train- bach’s alpha was also used along with the split-half equation ing program in developing the concept of co-teaching among to confirm the reliability of the scale, and it is depicted in the pre-service teachers, indicating the contribution of the Table 3. training program to the development and growth of the con- Table 2 indicates that every statement has a high internal cept among the study participants. This finding could be consistency with the total items, meaning that a high validity attributed to a number of reasons that are related to the train- of the scale items was found. The consistency is summarized ing program and the study participants. in Table 3. The training program includes the meaningful content Table 3 shows that the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of training program, time appropriateness, the activities and consistency was 0.765 while the split-half segment was experiences in which the participants were involved and a 0.710, indicating that the tool has an acceptable degree of variety of strategies used such as lecture, discussion, coop- reliability because it exceeds the reliability threshold (>0.7). erative learning, brainstorming and problem solving. These Therefore, the findings can be generalized to other popula- approaches helped the participants acquire skills. The train- tions in the field. ing program was also concerned with providing room for involvement and interaction between the trainer and the par- 1. Data analysis ticipants through group discussions. The study participants showed their willingness to get Descriptive and statistics (frequency, means and standard training and their desire to benefit from these skills presented deviation) were used to answer the research questions. and their awareness of the intended objectives and clarity of Furthermore, inferential statistics (paired-sample t-test, objectives for the participants, making them interested in one-way ANOVA) were used to identify the development of achieving the planned objectives at the end of training. students’ gains before and the post-treatment. The statistical Furthermore, the participants’ use of their experiences greatly significance was used at the level of 0.05. Albahusain 9 Table 3. Calculation of Scale Consistency by Cronbach Alpha and Half-Split Equations. Focus of the questionnaire Number of items Consistency Split-half General consistency 24 0.765 0.710 Table 4. Paired-Sample T-Test Results for Statistically Significant Differences Between Pre- and Post-Measurement. Track Group Number means SD T-value p Academic major variable Pre 51 2.6895 0.15 2.105 0.038* Post 51 2.7516 0.14 *Statistically significant at 0.05 and below. Table 5. Results of One-Way ANOVA for Differences in Post-Measurement by Academic Major Variable. Track ANOVA source Sum of squares DF Average of squares F-value Statistical significance Academic track Between groups 0.066 3 0.022 1.002 0.400 Within groups 1.025 47 0.022 Total 1.090 50 helped in developing and consolidating the concept of for extra professional development about the co-teaching to co-teaching. further improve their practice of co-teaching. The present study results corroborate with Chapple’s The results of this study agree with those of previous (2009) findings where teachers who received professional studies findings (Barnes, 2017; Chitiyo & Brinda, 2018; training before implementing co-teaching were more com- Härkki et al., 2021; Kim & Pratt, 2021) that the more the patible and achieved greater communication and were much teaching education programs, the higher the level of co- more inclusive in co-teaching sessions, thereby emphasizing teaching practices that teachers would obtain. More train- the importance of training prior to implementing co-teaching ing programs for teachers would also enhance teachers’ lessons. This finding is also confirmed by Tzivinikou (2015), positive attitudes, thereby leading to improvement in their who revealed that the tension and dispute that existed among co-teaching implementation. teachers in general education and special education disap- The second research question investigated whether statis- peared after receiving training in co-teaching and teachers’ tically significant differences in the participants’ knowledge attitudes toward cooperative education dramatically changed from the training program could be attributed to their aca- after they received training. The results of this study were demic major. No significant differences were found. A pos- also in line with the findings of Abahusain and Al-Hussein sible justification for this result is that the training program (2016), in that the lack of training is one of the biggest was presented to all participants in the same manner, and the obstacles facing general education teachers and learning target gains were attained regardless of the students’ aca- difficulties. demic majors. The participants’ prior knowledge and the This result is also consistent with Bin Jalal (2018), who courses they received during their academic career are the found that the differences tend to favor female teachers who same, and the field training period in the major is the same. received training in co-teaching, indicating the high effect of In addition, the whole group’s showed considerable enthusi- pre- and in-service training on co-teaching. These findings asm for the training program sessions, making them achieve also agree with those of Shaffer and Thomas-Brown (2015), similar results. This finding aligns with those of Malian and who argued that the professional training on co-teaching McRae (2010), which showed no differences between spe- implementation would mainly depend on teachers’ coopera- cial-education and public-education teachers and their beliefs tion and their willingness to use it. This result was demon- about co-teaching. This result is consistent with those of strated during the training application of the participants who Hoppey and Mickelson (2017), which indicated that co- accepted this type of training, their cooperation in under- teaching practices contribute to improving the level of co- standing some co-teaching concepts and their involvement in teaching for pre-service teachers. This finding is also co-teaching exercises. observed during training which the participants showed high This finding is consistent with those of Sims (2010), cooperation, leading to positive results. which demonstrated that training, diverse resources and sup- The present study results are partially consistent with port provided helped teachers raise their competence toward those of Shaffer and Thomas-Brown (2015) in that teachers’ co-teaching. The study also revealed the participants’ desire acceptance of the co-teaching model plays a pivotal role in 10 SAGE Open successful teaching. This finding is indicated by our results improve their teaching skills and provide them with the new- which showed no significant differences obtained between est techniques and strategies to accommodate the students pre-service teachers with different academic majors in com- with disabilities to be a part of the society and integrate them prehending the concept of co-teaching. All the participants in general education. showed progress in conceptualizing co-teaching. Likewise, the present study results are in line with those Limitations, Recommendations and of Shaffer and Thomas-Brown (2015) that teachers’ accep- Tips for Future Research tance of the co-teaching model is the most important factor in teaching success. Our results indicate no statistically sig- The study was conducted during the intact class where the nificant difference in developing the concept of co-teaching participants received their normal classes at their university. among the pre-service teachers of the special education Future studies are recommended to examine training pro- department that could be attributed to the academic major. grams on teachers of special education and general education All the participants showed considerable improvement in the programs. One limitation of the present study is the absence concept of co-teaching. Results of the present study confirm of a control group. Future research could manipulate a con- previous studies findings which emphasized the role of train- trol group that would receive no intervention; the partici- ing programs that could enhance the teachers’ knowledge pants’ gains from such programs would be compared. The about the co-teaching concept. For example, Jeannite (2018) present study recommends that policymakers augment train- argued that the absence of training programs would boost the ing workshops for pre-service teachers and normal teachers teachers’ professional development regardless of their aca- to improve their teaching skills and prepare them to be ori- demic majors. Similarly, Bin Jalal found that no differences ented with new trends in teaching strategies that help achieve were recorded among the teachers who received training that learning outcomes and improve the students’ knowledge and could be ascribed to academic major. The results are also abilities to learn new concepts and gain knowledge. Another consistent with those of Barnes (2017) and Kim and Pratt recommendation is to increase the number of pre-service (2021), which affirmed that the co-teaching concept was training programs to develop concepts of teaching students similarly obtained by teachers in different academic majors. with special needs in comprehensive education schools. They affirmed that teaching strategies and the role of the Supervisors and special education and general education institution would help in successful teaching and ensure the teachers are also advised to improve themselves and find best implementation of co-teaching. By contrast, the study ways to implement mechanisms that help to implement com- findings contradict those of Magiera and Zigmond (2005), prehensive education in schools. who found significant differences in favor of special educa- tion teachers over general education teachers in providing Appendix 1 instructional experiences for students with disabilities. Co-Teaching Scale for the Pre-Service Teachers of Conclusion Special Education This study draws on global application trends of the inter- Dear Trainer vention response model that considers co-teaching one of the Greetings most important early intervention strategies. Additionally, as The researcher carries out a study entitles “effectiveness of a far as the author knows, this study is one of the first directed training program to develop the co-teaching concept for pre- toward female student teachers to raise their co-teaching service teachers of special education department.” To this awareness. The study revealed the effectiveness of the train- end, the author designs a scale to identify the effectiveness of ing programs that focused on improving the pre-service the programs and to check whether the academic track vari- teachers’ co-teaching skills that enable them to adopt the able mediates the effectiveness of the program. I would newest strategies to meet the students’ needs and help inte- appreciate your kind cooperation to fill in the scale statements grate them with non-disabled students in general education. by checking the answer that reflects your view. Your data are The study found statistically significant differences in the confidential and will be used for the research purpose. participants’ gains for the content proposed in the training Your cooperation is highly appreciated. program from the pre-measurement to the post-measurement The author achievement, indicating that pre-service teachers need to be Name (optional): .................................................... fully oriented on skills and capabilities that help them academic track:....................................................... Albahusain 11 Attempt all the questions: Statement Agree Neutral disagree 1. Comprehensive schools are those in which you can accommodate and educate all students in general education programmes 2. Co-teaching is not synonymous to inclusion 3. Co-teaching is defined as a teaching model in which two teachers interactively work to teach academically and behaviorally heterogeneous groups of students in an inclusive environment 4. In most types of co-teaching, teachers collaboratively plan and implement lessons using a variety of strategies and then evaluate all students’ performance. 5. Examples of co-teaching synonyms are collaborative teaching and in-class support. 6. Effective communication requires using social skills, verbal, and nonverbal skills 7. Teachers need to anonymously agree on the arrangement of the classroom environment 8. Planning is crucial to teachers, and more time must thus be given, and this development goes on until cooperation has been maintained 9. At the beginning, the special education teacher manages the students’ discipline and his role develops until teachers have a common classroom management system 10. co-teaching goes through a number of stages such as planning to evaluation and entails administration and teaching 11. Co-teaching methods vary between four styles, five styles, and six styles. 12. The one teaches-one-observes model is the simplest form of co-teaching and is usually used at the beginning of the year. 13. The education in the stations model is divided into three non-consecutive parts while they are divided into three groups; they move from one situation to another, they receive education from a teacher in two situations, and they work alone in the third situation. 14. In the parallel model, the two teachers co-plan, divide the class into small groups, and each teacher presents simultaneously the same teaching module to all groups of students. 15. In alternative teaching, the first teacher works with most of the students while the second teacher works with a small group of students with the goal of treatment and enrichment 16. Teaching as a team is to fully contribute to deliver the basic content to one group of students, and each of them complementarily contribute to the delivery of the basic content simultaneously through a turn-based strategy. 17. In a one teaches, one assists model, the first teacher leads the teaching, while the second teacher walks around the students and provides individual support and assistance. 18. teachers need multiple skills when they involved in co-teaching; interpersonal, interactive, practical, and dynamic skills 19. One of the major challenges to co-teaching is the lack of teachers’ education programs both in public and private sectors. 20. One of the main advantages of co-teaching is an immediate academic support for all students. 21. Cooperative education contributes to alleviating the stigma faced by special education students, reduces the ratio of students to the teacher, and increases the value of individual support. 22. Equality is that teachers work equally without a monopoly or one of them dictates the other. They simply plan, implement, evaluate the lesson, and give equal responsibility for each regardless of years of experience, or age, and this is one of the most important principles of co-teaching 23. One of the most important challenges facing intermediate and secondary school teachers is the multiplicity of content areas and the depth of objective knowledge of the topics covered in the curriculum. This would limit their competence during co-teaching. 24. Co-teaching may not meet the needs of students with multiple disabilities and those with severe disabilities Thank you 12 SAGE Open Declaration of Conflicting Interests Chitiyo, J., & Brinda, W. (2018). Teacher preparedness in the use of co-teaching in inclusive classrooms. Support for Learning, The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to 33(1), 38–51. the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Cook, G., Smith, J., & Tankersley, M. (2012). Evidence-based practices in education. In K. R. Harris, S. Graham, & T. Urdan Funding (Eds.), APA educational psychology handbook (Vol. 1, pp. The author received no financial support for the research, author- 495–528). American Psychological Association. ship, and/or publication of this article. Cook, L., & Friend, M. (2017). Co-teaching: Guidelines for creat- ing effective practices. Focus on Exceptional Children, 28(3), 1–16. ORCID iD Council for Exceptional Children. (2014). Council for exceptional Wedad Albahusain https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4251-6155 children: Standards for evidence-based practices in special education. Teaching Exceptional Children, 46(6), 206–212. References Cramer, E., Liston, A., Nevin, A., & Jacqueline, J. (2010). Abahusain, W., & Al Hussein, R. (2016). Learning difficulties Co-teaching in urban secondary school districts to meet the teachers’ level of implementation of co-teaching in middle and needs of all teachers and learners: Implications for teacher edu- high school. 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A Co-Teaching Training Program’s Impact on Female Student Teachers: Department of Special Education, King Saud University:

SAGE Open , Volume 12 (1): 1 – Feb 24, 2022

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Abstract

This study investigated the effects of a co-teaching training program on female pre-service teachers of special education at the Faculty of Education, King Saud University. It also examined whether the participants’ academic majors affected their total knowledge gains obtained from the administered training program. A co-teaching training program was designed to train the assigned participants of the study on the main principles of co-teaching. Fifty-one female pre-service teachers were randomly selected to receive the co-teaching training program for six sessions. They studied in four different academic majors: behavioral disorders, mental disabilities, learning difficulties, and deaf and hearing impaired. A pre-measurement scale was administered prior to the treatment and immediately after the treatment to see the possible knowledge gains from the program. Results revealed significant improvements in the students’ knowledge from pre-treatment to post-treatment. However, no statistically significant differences among the participants could be ascribed to the participants’ academic majors. Recommendations, limitations, and tips for future studies have been provided. Keywords co-teaching, special needs, training, teachers, special education IDEA (2004) and Slamacana statement which affirm the Introduction right for any individual to receive education specially chil- A new trend adopted by many international organizations, dren with disability. Another justification to conduct such a such as Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement study related to the study context where it was carried out in (Individual with Disability Education Improvement Act Saudi Arabia that could meet the Saudi Arabian Vision (IDEA) 2004), has been to focus on how students with dis- 2030, which devoted to achieving a successful comprehen- abilities learn rather than where they learn (McDuffie et al., sive integration of students by building a comprehensive 2009). Inclusive education, an approach that expresses how learning environment for all students. This could be achieved to change educational structures and other learning atmo- through creating high-quality curricula that meet all stu- spheres to meet the needs of the variety of learners (UNESCO, dents’ needs by applying the best modern educational prac- 2005), is one the best strategies used to integrate students tices and developing teachers’ capabilities to promote with disabilities with their peers in general education, con- education to its highest levels and achieve effective out- sidering that isolating learners with disabilities from accom- comes that accomplish social development of the Saudi modating with their peers deter them from academic society (Vision 2030, 2016). Therefore, the current study achievements and thus could negatively affect their learning aims to find out how pre-service teachers who teach stu- outcomes (Jeannite, 2018). Furthermore, one of the benefits dents with disabilities can improve their teaching capabili- of inclusive education is to raise the self-esteem of learners ties to align with Saudi Arabia Vision 2030. with disabilities and build their self-confidence to be part of society and not to feel that disability has a stigma. The con- siderable demand for inclusive education is justified by the King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia increasing number of students with learning disabilities and Corresponding Author: related minor disabilities worldwide who receive their edu- Wedad Albahusain, Department of Special Education, King Saud cation in public schools (Gebhardt et al., 2015). University, Prince Turkey Street, B.O. Box 2454, Riyadh 11451, Saudi The current study is based on international statements Arabia. reported by my many international organizations such as Email: walbahusain@ksu.edu.sa Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open Comprehensive education is the simplest way to describe Declaration (UNESCO, 2019), the United Nations Conven- public education of students with disabilities according to tion on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006) and accommodations that suit their individual needs. For com- other laws on eligibility for free education and less restric- prehensive education to succeed, schools require conditions tive environments. The No Child Left Behind Act (U.S. of high-quality services, well-trained teachers, supportive Department of Education, 2001) has contributed to consider- staff and financial resources (Bouillet, 2013; Curski, 2008). ation of co-teaching by emphasizing students’ need to access Therefore, conditions in Saudi Arabia have been established the public-education curriculum with all schools meeting all to ensure the successful implementation of comprehensive students’ comprehensive educational needs and all students education. The most important conditions are the collective having access to effective learning, including those with dis- work of each person involved, involvement of parents, modi- abilities (Friend،, 2017). To raise schools’ performance lev- fication of curricula and teaching practices and provision of els, school teams needed to collaborate and provide support for staff and students. These conditions allow team differentiated teaching according to needs in regular classes members to exchange knowledge and skills and help improve (Tomlinson, 2017). Collaboration is one of the best strategies achieving learning goals. The optimal benefits of compre- used to ensure educational interventions success especially hensive education have not only benefited learners with dis- for students with special needs. abilities who require individual educational support but also The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA; U.S. Department non-disabled students. However, this approach involves the of Education, 2015) confirmed for the first time that all United significance of thoroughly developing each lesson’s work States students are taught according to academic standards agenda, so teachers and students can focus on its instruc- sufficiently high to prepare them to succeed in university tional objectives (Villa et al., 2013). study and their careers. ESSA’s implementation has resulted This research study emerged from the urgent need to pro- in the historically highest graduation rates from high schools, vide a database that contributes to co-teaching methods’ opti- while dropout rates have fallen to a historical low (Every mal employment in regular classrooms within comprehensive Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), 2015). Therefore, in accor- education programs. This goal is achieved through the spe- dance with ESSA’s accounting system for low graduation cial-education teacher and the public-school teacher’s coop- rates, U.S. schools have become keen on instructional quality eration in the regular, “less restricted” classroom environment, and providing public-school services to students with special considering individual differences of students with special needs. Additionally, the Council for Exceptional Children needs (The IRIS Center, 2018). The significance of the pres- raised the importance of teachers’ awareness to apply evi- ent study lies in directing educators’ attention to the impor- dence-based practices (Council for Exceptional Children tance of co-teaching, in identifying models for its application [CEC], 2014). The previous literature stated a considerable and in identifying competencies teachers need to implement need to identify how teachers conceptualized evidence-based co-teaching successfully. Therefore, this study aims to find a practices and how to develop their knowledge about them training program’s effect on female special-education pre- (Gapsis, 2017). Although IDEA mandates that teachers use service teachers through a newly developed co-teaching evidence-based practice with the students with special needs, training program at King Saud University and to reveal their some of them do not apply it in their classrooms, affecting knowledge level according to academic track. Additionally, practice opportunities (Scheeler et al., 2016). the study identifies the importance of pre-service training Teacher preparation programs need to develop pre-service and measures the training program’s effect on student teach- teachers’ skills in using evidence-based practices including ers’ understanding of the co-teaching concept. The study co- teaching skills. Moreover, these programs should prepare attempts to answer the following two questions: teachers to practice these skills efficiently in the classroom with students with disabilities and their peers (Scheeler et al., 1. Do pre- and post-measurement performances in 2016). Teachers’ preparation programs should prepare pre- the co-teaching concept differ significantly among service teachers to be well-informed, aware of their own female special-education student teachers? strengths and appreciate the impact of the environment on 2. Do pre- and post-measurement performances in the their instructional decisions. It is known that pre-service co-teaching concept differ significantly according to teachers are trained in many teachers’ preparation programs academic track among female special-education stu- in evidence-based practice. However, training to use and dent teachers? generalize newly acquired skills to classrooms is still lack- ing. Hence, teacher education programs should orient pre- service teachers to be aware in selecting and implementing Literature Review practices that were supported by research findings (Detrich Legislative law has continued to protect the rights of students & Lewis, 2013). Faculties of education are the best places with special needs and to provide access to free comprehen- that could refine the capabilities, competencies, and skills of sive education in regular classrooms by highly qualified pre-service teachers to be capable to practice co-teaching teachers and private education teachers since the Salamanca skills collaboratively with their peers. Cooperation among Albahusain 3 teachers is the key for successful co-teaching (Abbye-Taylor, difficulties in the classroom. Teaching these students in the 2013). In addition, preservice teachers need to be trained in classroom has become a responsibility that requires how to achieve the students’ learning outcomes by providing improved communication and cooperation between teachers them with the most effective tools and teaching strategies. to ensure the achievement of the planned teaching objec- To develop pre-service teachers’ skills, studies (Kim & tives. Therefore, many collaborative and evidence-based Pratt, 2021; Sebald et al., 2021) indicate that it is useful to teaching practices have emerged to address the educational practice co- teaching with pre-service teachers until they challenges of teaching students with learning disabilities master it. This will ensure that their implementation of co- in general education classrooms, including co-teaching teaching in future will be better improved with students with (McDuffie et al., 2009). Studies have argued that co-teaching disabilities. In addition, Kim and Pratt (2021) suggested that as an evidence-based practice leads to improvement in stu- much implementation of a co-teaching in a university class- dents’ performance and has contributed to meaningful learn- room would increase positive perceptions of pre-service ing (Hurd & Weilbacher, 2018). Training in co-teaching in teachers toward the use co-teaching. Preservice teachers teacher education programs is an urgent need and is driven must be prepared in using evidence-based practice in the by pedagogical theories, considering it the most appropriate teacher preparation programs because research suggests that strategy for engaging students with learning difficulties in they are likely to continue to practice the same techniques regular classes (Ellis & Gary, 2018). throughout their teaching career (Scheeler et al., 2016). Despite this, the limited use of evidence-based teaching Studies indicated that the more the implementation of strategies in the classroom and providing effective teachers’ evidence-based practices, the more the progress in students’ education programs to meet students with special educa- performance (Cook et al., 2012). Despite the positive effect tional needs remains a crucial issue in special education of these practices on the learning outcomes of students with since the release of the special education laws (Borgmeier disabilities, they are not used effectively and consistently in et al., 2016). Many educators have agreed that the wide schools (Aubyn et al., 2018). However, the most important application of evidence-based practices leads to augmenting puzzling issues in the field of special education were the lim- the students’ learning performance (Cook et al., 2012; Slavin, ited implementation of evidence-based practices in the class- 2008). However, evidence-based practices are still not up to room and poor teachers’ education programs that meet the the expected level in classes of students with disabilities needs of students with disabilities (Borgmeier et al., 2016). (Pellicano et al., 2018), possibly because of a lack of pre- These deficiencies could be ascribed to the low level of service teacher training. Previous studies (Pancsofar & teachers’ competence from the lack of training. According to Petroff, 2013) have demonstrated that teachers’ practices of Faraclas (2018), pre-service and in-service teachers indi- co-teaching could be shaped before and during service cated that one of the challenges they faced was that they were besides their individual practical experience of co-teaching asked to implement co-teaching strategies without even during the internship program. This finding demonstrates receiving sufficient training, resulting in difficulty in team- that teacher education programs have a pivotal role in pre- work. Despite the provision of co-teaching services, teachers paring teachers for evidence-based practices such as co- do not practice it well. Therefore, they need more training in teaching. Raybould (2017) also reported that teachers co-teaching models to improve their self-efficacy in col- continue to see the need for more pre-service training on laboration and to apply these models effectively and suc- these evidence-based practices to improve their performance, cessfully (Raybould, 2017). Scheeler et al. (2016) discussed implement co-teaching and solve challenges to co-teaching. six challenges: insufficient preparation, lack of reinforce- Bantwini (2013) asserts that co-teaching training in teacher ment, competing demands, lack of generalization, absence of education programs is a promising practice for enhancing evidence-based practice culture and lack of expertise. collaborative skills, increasing student participation and con- Efforts to instruct students with learning disabilities tributing to improved classroom teaching and professional sound incomplete if general education teachers and special growth for all participating teachers. education teachers do not share educational services for By contrast, a number of empirical studies have indicated students with special needs in general education classrooms that effective professional development should be character- (Dollarage & Lewis, 2011). This initiative requires training ized by five basic elements: adequate training duration, them to use teaching strategies based on scientific evidence meaningful content, coherence, active learning, and group in teaching general education classes. One of these impor- participation (Darling-Hammond et al., 2009; Snow-Renner tant strategies is co-teaching. & Lauer, 2005). Given educational frameworks, current The increasing number of students with learning disabili- inclusion practices and differentiation demands that all ties who receive their learning in general education classes depend on teachers working together, the adoption of co- with their non-disabled peers within the inclusive education teaching within the framework of the teacher education and department imposes needs for implementation of reforms in-service training program is an urgent and fundamental and significant changes in teaching practices by teachers of need for education (Ellis & Gary, 2018). Chitiyo and Brinda general education and teachers of students with learning (2018) conducted a study that aimed to reveal the level of 4 SAGE Open education programs of teachers who use co-teaching. The student, a small group of students or the whole class. Both study found that the majority of teachers are not well pre- teachers must already have agreed on which one observes. To pared. Although they understand the basics of co-teaching, make observations more meaningful, the teachers must they need training in how to implement it efficiently. Cramer decide which students need the observations and the relevant et al. (2010) confirmed that the need for training in imple- behaviors to be analyzed. They also need to make decisions menting co-teaching, especially in the selection, planning about the observation objectives and the ways of recording and application of different methods of co-teaching. In this observations, whether through class lists or informal behav- regard, Barnes (2017) recommended that teacher education ioral forms. They should maintain all the collected data from programs should be evaluated to determine whether teachers observation to be further examined and render instructional perceive themselves qualified enough to be involved in decisions. co-teaching. Second, Station teaching: Both teachers positively Several studies (e.g., Chapple, 2009; Gebhardt et al., engage in station teaching, enabling them to achieve a clear 2015) have recommended and highlighted the importance division of work. The two teachers divide teaching content, of training teachers, students and co-teachers on inclusive each taking responsibility for planning and teaching part of practices and the needs of students with disabilities. This it. This method has the advantage of each specialist having training helps the next generation of teachers become pre- separate responsibility for delivering instruction. Teaching pared for co-teaching in a comprehensive learning environ- here is divided into three non-consecutive parts, in which the ment. To the best of the author’s knowledge, studies that students are divided into three groups, and they move from address the issue of pre-service teachers training on the co- station to station, they receive instruction from the teacher in teaching model are lacking. Thus, the present study is two stations and work alone in the third station or under the needed for training pre-service female student teachers in supervision of a student of practical education, educational co-teaching skills. assistant or another adult available in the class, and moves Students from station to station according to a predetermined schedule (Friend, 2016; Lerner & Beverly, 2014). Theoretical Framework One characteristics of this model is that a teacher Co-teaching is often applied by special and general educators instructs all the students even if they are assigned in differ- who are considered part of an initiative to create a more com- ent groups, leading to achieve equivalence resulting from prehensive classroom (CAST Professional Publishing, 2021). the equal status between students and their teacher. Station Bin Jalal (2018) defined co-teaching as a “teaching model in teaching requires teachers to share responsibility for plan- which public-education teachers collaborate with teachers of ning to divide the instructional content. It has the advantage students with disabilities in planning, teaching, and evaluating that each one has separate responsibility to deliver the responsibilities within the classroom that includes students instructional content. Thus, this method can be fruitful with learning disabilities in middle and secondary schools, and when teachers have different teaching strategies or do not it is applied in several ways.” Abahusain and Al Hussein (2016) know each other well. However, teachers must be careful in further explained that “[co-teaching] is an educational process, dividing the content and taking into account the importance based on collaboration and cooperation between regular class- of knowledge sequence so that it does not affect students’ room teachers and learning-difficulties teachers. They collab- understanding. orate in presenting subjects and educational plans for the Third, Parallel teaching: Parallel teaching reduces the benefit of students in general and those with learning disabili- teacher–student ratio. In this type of co-teaching, teachers ties in particular and is applied in different ways.” Wilson plan together, but each delivers content to two groups that (2006) stated that co-teaching is a combination of public and differ in their characteristics. Both teachers offer the same special-education teachers who teach in public school, and in content, but the fewer the number of students in each group, most forms of co-teaching, teachers plan to coordinate and the greater their opportunity to participate with the teacher adapt lessons using a variety of strategies, followed by evalu- and reduce unwanted behavior (Bin Jalal, 2018). This type of ation of student performance. teaching model requires teachers to cooperate as students receive the same information. It would be much beneficial Co-teaching models. Several studies Cook and Friend for practicum activities, exam revisions, topics that need a (2017); Friend and Cook (2010); Lerner and Beverly (2014) high level of interactivity, or projects that need close supervi- have explained that co-teaching involves professionals who sion from the teacher. plan for education and implement it using six methods. Fourth, Alternative teaching: Alternative teaching pro- First, One teach, one observe model: In this method, the vides high-intensity teaching in public-education classes. first teacher leads instruction and has primary responsibility Here, the first teacher works with most students, while the for designing and delivering a particular learning process to second works with a small group of students for treatment, the whole class. The second teacher observes and collects enrichment, assessment, pre-education or any other objec- academic, behavioral or social data relating to a single tive. The large group receives content or performs an activity Albahusain 5 that the small group can miss (Lerner & Beverly, 2014). One level of knowledge of co-teaching, its components and the of the most important features of this model is that it allows basics of its implementation. teachers to target the individual needs of a specific group of Following a descriptive approach over two consecutive students based on previous data that to be considered during semesters, Shaffer and Thomas-Brown (2015) identified the planning of the alternative lesson. When teachers use practical foundations of the teaching style that integrates alternative teaching, they must first ensure that each teacher co-teaching and professional development. The sample takes responsibility for the small group and handles cases as consisted of two teams of public-school teachers and a par- planned. ticipant’s special-education teacher. Data were collected Fifth, Teaming: Teachers lead instruction with the whole through informal conversations, self-reports and semi- group through lessons, lectures and/or discussion, each rep- permanent interviews. The most important study results resenting a different opinion, thereby presenting, explaining were that teamwork is a main element in the co-teaching and clarifying two perspectives or two solutions to problems. professional development model. Teachers are responsible for teaching all students whether in In another descriptive study, Magiera and Zigmond large groups, for monitoring students working independently (2005) compared the effect of a special-education teacher’s or for facilitating student groups working on joint projects. presence in public classes on the educational experiences of In this model, students see that the teachers have equal sta- middle school students with disabilities to the same stu- tus. The two teachers work collaboratively to manage the dents’ experiences when taught by a regular teacher under students’ teaching processes such as planning, teaching, and routine educational conditions. Study results indicated sta- evaluation. This model is suitable for teachers who want to tistically significant differences in target students in the use innovative teaching strategies that they would not have interaction between the public-education teacher and indi- tried on their own. vidual education. Sixth, One teaches, one assists: The first teacher leads Using a questionnaire to address the challenges that face instruction, while the second walks among students, provid- co-teaching, Chitiyo and Brinda (2018) conducted a study to ing individual support and assistance. That is, one teacher reveal co-teachers’ extent of prior training. The result of retains the primary role of managing and leading the teach- descriptive analysis showed that most teachers were not ing process, while the other walks around the classroom properly trained and that such training was urgently needed. helping students who need redirection or who have questions Similarly, Chapple (2009) conducted a descriptive study about their coursework. This type of teaching requires group that aimed at identifying the obstacles facing successful co- planning, enabling co-teaching to be carried out even when teaching teams and provide solutions to these obstacles. group planning time is scarce. Data were collected through interviews with a sample By using these six methods, teachers achieve the goals (N = 15) from general teachers, special education teachers, and objectives of individual education programs for stu- school leaders and university professors in the field of co- dents with disabilities, while at the same time helping to teaching in the US. Results revealed that the most major meet other class members’ educational needs (Al-Sudairi, obstacle facing the co-teaching teams is the lack of profes- 2019). sional development; the study revealed that workers who received professional training before applying co-teaching were more compatible and achieved greater communication Previous Studies and integration in collaborative classes. Another obstacle is Bin Jalal (2018) identified the effects of a co-teaching model time allocated for planning co-teaching because setting time in middle and high schools as perceived by the study partici- for lesson planning in teachers’ timetables was difficult. pants, students with learning disabilities and their teachers Additionally, low professional satisfaction, low compatibil- (N = 323). The study also attempted to determine the effi- ity and poor cooperation were reported as obstacles that ciency of the co-teaching model and reveal if there were limit co-teaching success. statistically significant differences that could be attributed Sims (2010) investigated whether the professional devel- to the type of work and co-teaching training and identified opment resulting from co-teaching affects the improvement the correlation between the implementation and the effec- of teachers’ attitudes toward students with disabilities, their tiveness of the program. Results showed a high level of teamwork when implementing co-teaching and their teach- effectiveness of the co-teaching model and found significant ing competence. The author used action research and the differences that ascribed to the work type for the benefit of mixed-method design in a suburb of Arizona in the US. The the public-education teachers and students with learning study sample consisted of seven teachers who were divided disabilities. into three teams, each with a special education teacher and a Abahusain and Al Hussein (2016) also conducted a descrip- general education teacher, except for one of the teams that tive study identifying the situation of implementing co- consisted of two general education teachers and a special teaching in learning-difficulties programs in Riyadh, Saudi education teacher. Results from a questionnaire, verification Arabia. Results indicated learning-difficulties teachers’ high forms, focus interviews, class notes and observations using 6 SAGE Open computer programs revealed that the participants’ percep- a qualitative study to identify the collaboration between a tions and attitudes toward co-teaching improved in curricula primary school and a US faculty of education and how co- objectives and modifications, personal communication and teaching practices could contribute to the improvement of evaluation after conducting a training program. Results also pre-service teachers’ co-teaching skills and the capabilities revealed that the training and various sources and support of integrating students with disabilities in an inclusive edu- provided to the participants helped them improve their co- cation program. The results of the triangulated data collec- teaching competence. Results indicated the participants’ tion tools, namely, interviews, observation, lesson plans and desire to increase professional development in co-teaching to journals, revealed that collaboration played an integral part further improve their practice in co-teaching. in boosting the cooperative work which helped the pre-ser- To gauge teachers’ perceptions, Malian and McRae (2010) vice teachers to meet the needs of students with disabilities. conducted a study that aimed to determine the perceptions of Härkki et al. (2021) explored how co-teaching emerged in general education teachers and special education teachers light of second-order educational change and the challenges toward the compatibility and contradiction between their that teachers faced when implementing co-teaching prac- teaching strategies, their personal characteristics and the tices. The authors conducted their study in the Finnish con- effectiveness of co-teaching, using a descriptive survey text in which L2 teachers were recruited to appear in a approach. The study sample was selected randomly and con- semi-structured interview. Many themes and sub-themes sisted of 290 teachers in general education and special edu- were generated to focus on six topics: planning, co-teaching cation who implement co-teaching from 160 primary schools. concept, shared reflection on time, structural support, and Results revealed that co-teaching reduced the gap between linear pedagogy. Results showed that co-teaching in the general education and special education. Results also showed Finnish context was highly implemented that could help no significant differences between teachers of general educa- develop teachers’ co-teaching practices. The participants tion and special education in their beliefs, teaching methods reported that insufficient planning time and low resources and personal characteristics toward co-teaching, reflecting and instructional materials were the top barriers facing their willingness to cooperate to improve the students’ learn- implementing meaningful co-teaching. ing outcomes. Barnes’s (2017) mixed-design case study determined the Similarly, Tzivinikou (2015) examined how general edu- effects of professional development in co-teaching on teach- cation teachers and special education teachers could improve ers’ attitudes and classroom practices in California middle the concept of co-teaching in an inclusive setting in Greece. and high schools. Results concluded that time planning, The study analyzed 15 cases of co-teaching in which the managerial support and teacher-related teaching methods special education teacher supports students with disabilities were some of co-teaching’s influential factors. Similarly, in an inclusive class from first grade to fourth grade. The Jeannite (2018) qualitatively examined how co-teachers study used the descriptive analytical approach, and the study from general education and special education programs used sample was selected convincingly. The sample consisted of strategies to improve the concept of co-teaching and identify 15 classes in general education, and in each class, at least the students’ academic achievement. The results of the struc- one student with learning disabilities is present. A total of 30 tured and semi-structured interviews with the sample teach- teachers (3 males, 27 females) were included, and the aver- ers indicate that lack of training, poor instructional strategies age years of experience for teachers is 10 years. Findings to teach students with disabilities and low content awareness showed that creating a spirit of cooperation between teach- were the main reasons for the low competencies of general ers is practical and appropriate, leading to building co- and special educations teachers to meet the challenges of teaching models that cope with the special circumstances in integrating the students with disabilities with non-disabled schools. The results showed that the tension and disagree- students. Kim and Pratt (2021) investigated the pre-service ment that existed between teachers in general education and teachers’ perceptions about co-teaching after they received a special education disappeared after training in co-teaching. co-teaching program in a special education context. Their Furthermore, teachers’ attitudes toward cooperative educa- participants viewed positive attitudes to the co-teaching par- tion change after in-service training. adigm and showed their willingness to carry out co-teaching In a qualitative study, Hoppey and Mickelson (2017) in their future careers. They also expressed the role played by explored (1) organization of a partnership between a primary the university to form positive opinions about co-teaching school and a college of education in an American state, (2) and its optimal benefits on achieving learning outcomes. co-teaching practices to refine teachers’ skills before serving Research on how to find out effective strategies that in collaborations and (3) the ability to integrate students with helped pre-service teachers to accommodate students with disabilities in comprehensive education classes. Results disabilities in inclusive classrooms is severely lacking. In the revealed that partnership played a prominent role in collab- Saudi Arabian context, to date, no single study has investi- orative work, helping pre-service teachers develop their gated how pre-service teachers could be prepared to meet the knowledge of policies to meet the needs of students with dis- needs of students with disabilities to be a part of general edu- abilities. Similarly, Hoppey and Mickelson (2017) conducted cation and to integrate them with their peers of non-disabled Albahusain 7 Table 1. Distribution of Sample Participants According to 2. Laws and legislation that support co-teaching Academic Major Variable. 3. Definition of co-teaching, as distinguished from related concepts Academic major Repetition % 4. Elements of co-teaching Behavioral disorders 22 43.1 5. Stages of co-teaching Mental disability 5 9.8 6. Implementation methods of the co-teaching model Learning difficulties 7 13.7 7. Competencies of co-teachers Deaf and hearing impaired 17 33.3 8. Obstacles to implementation of co-teaching Total 51 100 9. Benefits of implementation of co-teaching 10. Principles of collaboration between co-teachers 11. Advantages and disadvantages of co-teaching students through implementing a co-teaching strategy. Therefore, it examining empirically the feasibility of prepar- The most significant challenges that teachers and students ing pre-service teachers is of paramount interest, as is find- might face in implementation of the co-teaching model. ing out how the possible gains of a training program prepared The program was carried out with the participants of the by the author are moderated by the variable of the academic present study who had voluntarily agreed to be involved in track of the participants. the treatment to receive the content during (6) sessions. The participants’ background knowledge had been determined through the administering a scale prior to the treatment (see Method Appendix 1). Next, the program sessions (N = 6) have been Design implemented for about 4 hours a day; each session lasted for 30 minutes and preceded by a pre-evaluation session and a The present study adopted a quasi-experimental design, spe- post-evaluation session. Each session included a specific cifically, a design with one group that received the treatment goal stemmed from the predetermined goals, which were 12 where the author is interested to see the development of goals using various teaching strategies such as: lecture, dis- the group from the pre- to the post-measurement as a result cussion, work groups, practical application, video, stories, of the independent variable (i.e., the co-teaching training brainstorming, worksheets, training games, and a mini teach- program). ing. After reviewing the theoretical framework of the pro- gram regarding the goal of the six co-teaching strategy, the Sample and Population micro-teaching strategy was adopted by the participants as a type of diagnostic activities to ensure the appropriate perfor- The study population consisted of female pre-service teach- mance of the participants for those strategies. The partici- ers (N = 100) in the Department of Special Education, pants were provided feedback during the sessions to develop College of Education, King Saud University, 2017 to 2018. performance and the weaknesses were investigated with the The participants studied in four different academic trainers as to be avoided. majors; Behavioral Disorders, Mental Disability, Learning Difficulties, and Deaf and Hearing Impaired. All the popula- The participants showed high positive impressions of the tion (N = 101) of the study was invited to take part. A ran- quality of the information presented. They expressed their dom sample of 51 was chosen to compose the sample of the positive perceptions through meaningful comments during the study where they received the training program. The sample sessions. It was also observed through their involvement with was told that their participation in the treatment was volun- the program activities. The participants unanimously agreed tary and those who agreed to participate were selected to that this kind of training on co-teaching was presented in take part in the study. Table 1 shows the distribution of sam- scientific form. In addition, the views of the participants about ple participants according to the academic major variable. the program were collected through a survey conducted by the department administration to evaluate the program at the end of the day, resulting in positive responses. Instruments Second: Scale design. The researcher designed a scale The data collection tools consisted of the following: to measure the participants’ gain of the program |and was First: The co-teaching training program administered before and after the training program’s imple- The co-teaching training program included six training mentation. The scale has been constructed by the author sessions based on this study’s general objectives and recent to achieve the training program outcomes used as a main literature. The program’s main outline was as follows. intervention of the present study. The author built the scale considering the previous literature related to the co-teaching 1. The co-teaching model’s emergence and historical models and the surveys used in the previous studies that context 8 SAGE Open Table 2. Pearson’s Correlation Coefficients of Questionnaire Research question 1: Do pre- and post-measurement Items. performances in the co-teaching concept differ sig- nificantly among female special-education student Total correlation Item Total correlation teachers? Item number coefficient number coefficient 1 0.518** 13 0.644** To answer this question, the researcher used the paired- 2 0.565** 14 0.760** sample t-test, and the results are shown in Table 4. 3 0.876** 15 0.510** The results in Table 4 indicate statistically significant 4 0.856** 16 0.847** differences at 0.05 between pre- and post-measurements 5 0.687** 17 0.665** in favor of post-measurement, thereby indicating that the 6 0.532** 18 0.674** proposed training program was effective in developing the 7 0.628** 19 0.689** co-teaching concept among female special-education student 8 0.747** 20 0.568** teachers. 9 0.629** 21 0.675** 10 0.754** 22 0.681** Research question 2: Do pre- and post-measurement 11 0.606** 23 0.506** performances in the co-teaching concept differ signifi- 12 0.706** 24 0.719** cantly according to academic major among female **Significant at the level of (0.01). special-education student teachers? To answer this question, the researcher used one-way examined the efficacy of co-teaching to aid learning objec- ANOVA analysis, with results shown in Table 5. tives (Brown, 2013; Friend, 2016; Friend & Cook, 2010; Results in Table 5 indicate no statistically significant dif- Gately & Gately, 2001; Tzivinikou, 2015; Wilson, 2006). ferences at 0.05 in the study sample’s post-measurement per- The scale is composed of 24 statements (Appendix 1), using formance by the variable of academic major. a multiple-choice question on a three-point Likert scale (agree, neutral, disagree). The scale was validated to ensure reliability and validity. It was first sent out to seven special- Discussion ist referees from different disciplines. They provided their This study sought to understand whether a designed program constructive feedback and new modifications were made that entailed a co-teaching strategy could improve their based on their suggestions. The final 24 statements that knowledge about the concept of co-teaching. The partici- composed the scale were produced in their final forms. Sta- pants of the present study were pre-service teachers of stu- tistically, Pearson correlation was run to calculate the degree dents with disabilities from different academic departments. of correlation of each item with the scale’s overall corre- After the comprehensive training sessions, the results lation. Table 2 shows these correlation coefficients. Cron- obtained from a scale showed the positive effect of the train- bach’s alpha was also used along with the split-half equation ing program in developing the concept of co-teaching among to confirm the reliability of the scale, and it is depicted in the pre-service teachers, indicating the contribution of the Table 3. training program to the development and growth of the con- Table 2 indicates that every statement has a high internal cept among the study participants. This finding could be consistency with the total items, meaning that a high validity attributed to a number of reasons that are related to the train- of the scale items was found. The consistency is summarized ing program and the study participants. in Table 3. The training program includes the meaningful content Table 3 shows that the Cronbach’s alpha coefficient of training program, time appropriateness, the activities and consistency was 0.765 while the split-half segment was experiences in which the participants were involved and a 0.710, indicating that the tool has an acceptable degree of variety of strategies used such as lecture, discussion, coop- reliability because it exceeds the reliability threshold (>0.7). erative learning, brainstorming and problem solving. These Therefore, the findings can be generalized to other popula- approaches helped the participants acquire skills. The train- tions in the field. ing program was also concerned with providing room for involvement and interaction between the trainer and the par- 1. Data analysis ticipants through group discussions. The study participants showed their willingness to get Descriptive and statistics (frequency, means and standard training and their desire to benefit from these skills presented deviation) were used to answer the research questions. and their awareness of the intended objectives and clarity of Furthermore, inferential statistics (paired-sample t-test, objectives for the participants, making them interested in one-way ANOVA) were used to identify the development of achieving the planned objectives at the end of training. students’ gains before and the post-treatment. The statistical Furthermore, the participants’ use of their experiences greatly significance was used at the level of 0.05. Albahusain 9 Table 3. Calculation of Scale Consistency by Cronbach Alpha and Half-Split Equations. Focus of the questionnaire Number of items Consistency Split-half General consistency 24 0.765 0.710 Table 4. Paired-Sample T-Test Results for Statistically Significant Differences Between Pre- and Post-Measurement. Track Group Number means SD T-value p Academic major variable Pre 51 2.6895 0.15 2.105 0.038* Post 51 2.7516 0.14 *Statistically significant at 0.05 and below. Table 5. Results of One-Way ANOVA for Differences in Post-Measurement by Academic Major Variable. Track ANOVA source Sum of squares DF Average of squares F-value Statistical significance Academic track Between groups 0.066 3 0.022 1.002 0.400 Within groups 1.025 47 0.022 Total 1.090 50 helped in developing and consolidating the concept of for extra professional development about the co-teaching to co-teaching. further improve their practice of co-teaching. The present study results corroborate with Chapple’s The results of this study agree with those of previous (2009) findings where teachers who received professional studies findings (Barnes, 2017; Chitiyo & Brinda, 2018; training before implementing co-teaching were more com- Härkki et al., 2021; Kim & Pratt, 2021) that the more the patible and achieved greater communication and were much teaching education programs, the higher the level of co- more inclusive in co-teaching sessions, thereby emphasizing teaching practices that teachers would obtain. More train- the importance of training prior to implementing co-teaching ing programs for teachers would also enhance teachers’ lessons. This finding is also confirmed by Tzivinikou (2015), positive attitudes, thereby leading to improvement in their who revealed that the tension and dispute that existed among co-teaching implementation. teachers in general education and special education disap- The second research question investigated whether statis- peared after receiving training in co-teaching and teachers’ tically significant differences in the participants’ knowledge attitudes toward cooperative education dramatically changed from the training program could be attributed to their aca- after they received training. The results of this study were demic major. No significant differences were found. A pos- also in line with the findings of Abahusain and Al-Hussein sible justification for this result is that the training program (2016), in that the lack of training is one of the biggest was presented to all participants in the same manner, and the obstacles facing general education teachers and learning target gains were attained regardless of the students’ aca- difficulties. demic majors. The participants’ prior knowledge and the This result is also consistent with Bin Jalal (2018), who courses they received during their academic career are the found that the differences tend to favor female teachers who same, and the field training period in the major is the same. received training in co-teaching, indicating the high effect of In addition, the whole group’s showed considerable enthusi- pre- and in-service training on co-teaching. These findings asm for the training program sessions, making them achieve also agree with those of Shaffer and Thomas-Brown (2015), similar results. This finding aligns with those of Malian and who argued that the professional training on co-teaching McRae (2010), which showed no differences between spe- implementation would mainly depend on teachers’ coopera- cial-education and public-education teachers and their beliefs tion and their willingness to use it. This result was demon- about co-teaching. This result is consistent with those of strated during the training application of the participants who Hoppey and Mickelson (2017), which indicated that co- accepted this type of training, their cooperation in under- teaching practices contribute to improving the level of co- standing some co-teaching concepts and their involvement in teaching for pre-service teachers. This finding is also co-teaching exercises. observed during training which the participants showed high This finding is consistent with those of Sims (2010), cooperation, leading to positive results. which demonstrated that training, diverse resources and sup- The present study results are partially consistent with port provided helped teachers raise their competence toward those of Shaffer and Thomas-Brown (2015) in that teachers’ co-teaching. The study also revealed the participants’ desire acceptance of the co-teaching model plays a pivotal role in 10 SAGE Open successful teaching. This finding is indicated by our results improve their teaching skills and provide them with the new- which showed no significant differences obtained between est techniques and strategies to accommodate the students pre-service teachers with different academic majors in com- with disabilities to be a part of the society and integrate them prehending the concept of co-teaching. All the participants in general education. showed progress in conceptualizing co-teaching. Likewise, the present study results are in line with those Limitations, Recommendations and of Shaffer and Thomas-Brown (2015) that teachers’ accep- Tips for Future Research tance of the co-teaching model is the most important factor in teaching success. Our results indicate no statistically sig- The study was conducted during the intact class where the nificant difference in developing the concept of co-teaching participants received their normal classes at their university. among the pre-service teachers of the special education Future studies are recommended to examine training pro- department that could be attributed to the academic major. grams on teachers of special education and general education All the participants showed considerable improvement in the programs. One limitation of the present study is the absence concept of co-teaching. Results of the present study confirm of a control group. Future research could manipulate a con- previous studies findings which emphasized the role of train- trol group that would receive no intervention; the partici- ing programs that could enhance the teachers’ knowledge pants’ gains from such programs would be compared. The about the co-teaching concept. For example, Jeannite (2018) present study recommends that policymakers augment train- argued that the absence of training programs would boost the ing workshops for pre-service teachers and normal teachers teachers’ professional development regardless of their aca- to improve their teaching skills and prepare them to be ori- demic majors. Similarly, Bin Jalal found that no differences ented with new trends in teaching strategies that help achieve were recorded among the teachers who received training that learning outcomes and improve the students’ knowledge and could be ascribed to academic major. The results are also abilities to learn new concepts and gain knowledge. Another consistent with those of Barnes (2017) and Kim and Pratt recommendation is to increase the number of pre-service (2021), which affirmed that the co-teaching concept was training programs to develop concepts of teaching students similarly obtained by teachers in different academic majors. with special needs in comprehensive education schools. They affirmed that teaching strategies and the role of the Supervisors and special education and general education institution would help in successful teaching and ensure the teachers are also advised to improve themselves and find best implementation of co-teaching. By contrast, the study ways to implement mechanisms that help to implement com- findings contradict those of Magiera and Zigmond (2005), prehensive education in schools. who found significant differences in favor of special educa- tion teachers over general education teachers in providing Appendix 1 instructional experiences for students with disabilities. Co-Teaching Scale for the Pre-Service Teachers of Conclusion Special Education This study draws on global application trends of the inter- Dear Trainer vention response model that considers co-teaching one of the Greetings most important early intervention strategies. Additionally, as The researcher carries out a study entitles “effectiveness of a far as the author knows, this study is one of the first directed training program to develop the co-teaching concept for pre- toward female student teachers to raise their co-teaching service teachers of special education department.” To this awareness. The study revealed the effectiveness of the train- end, the author designs a scale to identify the effectiveness of ing programs that focused on improving the pre-service the programs and to check whether the academic track vari- teachers’ co-teaching skills that enable them to adopt the able mediates the effectiveness of the program. I would newest strategies to meet the students’ needs and help inte- appreciate your kind cooperation to fill in the scale statements grate them with non-disabled students in general education. by checking the answer that reflects your view. Your data are The study found statistically significant differences in the confidential and will be used for the research purpose. participants’ gains for the content proposed in the training Your cooperation is highly appreciated. program from the pre-measurement to the post-measurement The author achievement, indicating that pre-service teachers need to be Name (optional): .................................................... fully oriented on skills and capabilities that help them academic track:....................................................... Albahusain 11 Attempt all the questions: Statement Agree Neutral disagree 1. Comprehensive schools are those in which you can accommodate and educate all students in general education programmes 2. Co-teaching is not synonymous to inclusion 3. Co-teaching is defined as a teaching model in which two teachers interactively work to teach academically and behaviorally heterogeneous groups of students in an inclusive environment 4. In most types of co-teaching, teachers collaboratively plan and implement lessons using a variety of strategies and then evaluate all students’ performance. 5. Examples of co-teaching synonyms are collaborative teaching and in-class support. 6. Effective communication requires using social skills, verbal, and nonverbal skills 7. Teachers need to anonymously agree on the arrangement of the classroom environment 8. Planning is crucial to teachers, and more time must thus be given, and this development goes on until cooperation has been maintained 9. At the beginning, the special education teacher manages the students’ discipline and his role develops until teachers have a common classroom management system 10. co-teaching goes through a number of stages such as planning to evaluation and entails administration and teaching 11. Co-teaching methods vary between four styles, five styles, and six styles. 12. The one teaches-one-observes model is the simplest form of co-teaching and is usually used at the beginning of the year. 13. The education in the stations model is divided into three non-consecutive parts while they are divided into three groups; they move from one situation to another, they receive education from a teacher in two situations, and they work alone in the third situation. 14. In the parallel model, the two teachers co-plan, divide the class into small groups, and each teacher presents simultaneously the same teaching module to all groups of students. 15. In alternative teaching, the first teacher works with most of the students while the second teacher works with a small group of students with the goal of treatment and enrichment 16. Teaching as a team is to fully contribute to deliver the basic content to one group of students, and each of them complementarily contribute to the delivery of the basic content simultaneously through a turn-based strategy. 17. In a one teaches, one assists model, the first teacher leads the teaching, while the second teacher walks around the students and provides individual support and assistance. 18. teachers need multiple skills when they involved in co-teaching; interpersonal, interactive, practical, and dynamic skills 19. One of the major challenges to co-teaching is the lack of teachers’ education programs both in public and private sectors. 20. One of the main advantages of co-teaching is an immediate academic support for all students. 21. Cooperative education contributes to alleviating the stigma faced by special education students, reduces the ratio of students to the teacher, and increases the value of individual support. 22. Equality is that teachers work equally without a monopoly or one of them dictates the other. They simply plan, implement, evaluate the lesson, and give equal responsibility for each regardless of years of experience, or age, and this is one of the most important principles of co-teaching 23. One of the most important challenges facing intermediate and secondary school teachers is the multiplicity of content areas and the depth of objective knowledge of the topics covered in the curriculum. This would limit their competence during co-teaching. 24. Co-teaching may not meet the needs of students with multiple disabilities and those with severe disabilities Thank you 12 SAGE Open Declaration of Conflicting Interests Chitiyo, J., & Brinda, W. (2018). Teacher preparedness in the use of co-teaching in inclusive classrooms. Support for Learning, The author declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect to 33(1), 38–51. the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. Cook, G., Smith, J., & Tankersley, M. (2012). Evidence-based practices in education. In K. R. 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Journal

SAGE OpenSAGE

Published: Feb 24, 2022

Keywords: co-teaching; special needs; training; teachers; special education

References