Towards nontraditional teachership: co-teaching enhancing teachers' collaboration and inclusion in schools

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

University of Oulu, L10. The public is invited to participate remotely. Remote connection: https://oulu.zoom.us/j/61253590612

Topic of the dissertation

Towards nontraditional teachership: co-teaching enhancing teachers' collaboration and inclusion in schools

Doctoral candidate

Master of Education Marjut Kokko

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Education, Teachers, teaching and Educational communities

Subject of study

Special education

Opponent

Professor Kristina Ström, Åbo Akademi University

Custos

Professor Marjatta Takala, University of Oulu

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Co-teaching promotes teacher collaboration and enables inclusive teaching arrangements

Implementing co-teaching benefits teachers’ work in several ways. Teaching as a team enables collegial support as part of the daily work routine. Combining the skills of teachers provides new opportunities to meet current challenges in the field, such as a deficient ability to meet and teach pupils that need support.

This revelation emerges from a recent dissertation that examined the current state, opportunities, and challenges of co-teaching, as well as teachers’ justification for implementing co-teaching. To define, co-teaching is when teachers plan, implement, and evaluate teaching together as a team. The Finnish comprehensive school as an institution is a major social actor. It builds a foundation for general education and brings children and young people together to grow them into a functioning member of society.

The current state of Finnish comprehensive schools, the work of teachers, and the realization of inclusive education have provoked a wide range of discussions from both teachers and guardians. Co-teaching as a pedagogical way of working is strongly linked to inclusive values. Through co-teaching, the aim is to promote the learning of all pupils, enabling flexible groupings and the differentiation of teaching. Instead of teaching alone, the work is done together with a colleague.

Although Finnish teachers have the option to plan and implement teaching quite freely, professional freedom can lead to a situation where the teacher is left alone while tackling various challenges. The skills of an individual teacher may not be enough to teach an increasingly heterogeneous group of students.

The dissertation is a mixed method study, and it consists of three sub-studies. The material was collected in 2018 by the Ministry of Education and Culture Supported Together! project. The results show that most teachers are supportive of co-teaching and find it useful for various reasons, such as the sharing of responsibilities and skills and opportunities for the differentiation of teaching.

Although most teachers are positive about co-teaching, its implementation rates are quite low. Challenges to co-teaching implementation include a lack of joint planning time and obstacles to smooth collaboration. The results show that teachers’ arguments for the implementation of co-teaching are contradictory, reflecting their attitudes towards inclusion.

The dissertation produces new information on co-teaching in Finnish schools, highlights the opportunities offered by teaching together to provide inclusive pedagogical support, and to support the work of the teacher.
Last updated: 25.11.2021