Lori Pender/November 2, 2010
American education presents two opposing forces with today’s teachers caught in the crossfire. On one side is the intense curriculum, and on the other side are the learning needs of diverse students. Both forces provide a solid rationale for co-teaching. In Purposeful Co-Teaching: Real Cases and Effective Strategies, Greg Conderman, Val Bresnahan, and Theresa Pedersen encourage teachers to keep their eyes on the target-the individual learning needs and achievement of each student. They use their experience in co-teaching and their college level collaborative efforts to coach teachers in their co-teaching endeavors. This book was written to provide administrators, general and special education teachers, service providers, and interdisciplinary team members with practical, research-based, proven, and successful ways to experience co-teaching.

Chapter one includes an overview of co-teaching including the definition, components, prerequisites, and models of co-teaching. Chapter two continues with common issues and concerns paired with possible solutions. The remaining chapters, chapters three through nine, are examples of co-teaching in various grade levels, in various subjects, with various levels of expertise in co-teaching. Each chapter emphasizes research-based instructional methods and effective interpersonal skills as the co-teaching team seeks to address an issue. A rationale is given for each instructional method, along with important teacher behaviors, charts, checklists, inventories, lesson plans, and other additional resources.

The authors of this book have authority on the subject of co-teaching, the information is current as this book was published in 2009, and it covers multiple grade levels, content areas, and levels of expertise in co-teaching. This book contains real case studies to show how co-teachers blend their interpersonal skills and instructional expertise to support all children in the general education classroom. The information is clearly presented and draws on the experience of co-teachers who have seen positive results. Teachers can easily pick up this book, read a chapter, and adapt the information to their context of teaching by using the communication strategies to solve interpersonal issues and the teaching strategies to solve instructional challenges. The charts, checklists, and inventories are excellent resources that can be used immediately to enhance any co-teaching relationship. The lesson plans and additional lists of books, articles, and web sites at the end of each chapter are excellent resources. Examples of lower elementary co-teaching cases would be most helpful, but again, the examples given can be easily adapted to serve teachers and students at all grade levels.

This book is a valuable resource for any educator considering or experiencing co-teaching. Any person involved in the co-teaching process in a school setting would benefit from owning this book. This book should be kept in a professional library and on any co-teacher’s desk as a guide. The information is current and the examples are clear. Teachers in the beginning, compromising, and collaborating stages of co-teaching would gain insight into effective interpersonal communication and successful teaching strategies as well as multiple models of co-teaching.