From Observer to Collaborator: Finding Balance in a Co-Taught Classroom

Erin Riojas

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ASHA Course Number: ACEF0540
Course Credits: 0.3 ASHA CEUs (3 hours); Intermediate Level
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Co-teaching is a model of teaching, while common in many schools, is frequently difficult. Lack of planning, collaboration, and understanding of co-teaching culture often undermine best intentions. It is particularly challenging for a speech-language pathologist to co-teach, as it is less traditional, and guidance for SLPs is limited. This is even more evident during the pandemic as we navigate hybrid and virtual classroom/therapy delivery models. This course will review the six traditional approaches to co-teaching and re-imagine this approach in a virtual classroom.

Creating a culture of collaboration, working with parents as facilitators, and understanding the need for language learning techniques in the classroom will also be addressed. Specific attention will be given to aligning IEP goals to curriculum standards with discussion of how to incorporate these goals in a co-taught classroom. Post-pandemic concerns, specifically related to behavior, chronic stress and trauma as children return to in person instruction, will be discussed. Tier 1 modifications and strategies to support these issues will be reviewed.

Instructor Information

Dawn Dennis

Dawn M. Callahan Dennis, Ed.D. CCC-SLP is a Regional Director with EBS in the Kansas City area. Dawn has a long career that has spanned working in hospitals, private practice, schools, and universities. She received her B.S. and M.S. from Boston University (‘90 and ‘91) and completed her doctoral degree in Educational Leadership at Baker University in Baldwin City, KS (2012). Her passion is empowering others, which she fulfills through providing mentorship, guidance, and collaboration with EBS staff. She currently resides in the Kansas City area.

Financial Disclosure: Dawn Dennis is a paid employee of EBS Healthcare. She has no other relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Non-Financial Disclosure: Dawn Dennis has no other non-financial information to disclose.

Learner Objectives

Following instruction, participants will be able to:

  1. Learners will identify the six traditional approaches of co-teaching.
  2. Explain the six traditional approaches of co-teaching as they apply to the virtual classroom.
  3. Describe the unique pros and cons of having parents as facilitators in virtual therapy and classroom sessions.
  4. Explain the difference between coaching and consulting.
  5. Describe ways to create a culture of collaboration.
  6. Explain why language instruction belongs in the general education setting.
  7. Explain what is and is not co-teaching and how to problem solve within the co-teaching model.
  8. Explain the importance of planning and class selection in the co-teaching model.
  9. Describe how IEP goal alignment to curriculum standards is the key to supporting language and academics in the classroom.
  10. Demonstrate goal writing for verbal and non-verbal students that can be incorporated in the co-taught classroom.
  11. Describe behavior, chronic stress and trauma issues to consider when we return to in person learning.
  12. List several Tier 1 modifications and strategies for virtual and in-person platforms to encourage student engagement and positive behavior.


  • 10 minutes: Welcome and introduction of speaker
  • 20 minutes: The Co-Teaching Model: Six Traditional Approaches
  • 20 minutes: Co-Teaching in a Virtual Classroom: The Six Traditional Approaches Re-Imagined
  • 15 minutes: When Parents are Your Facilitators: Considerations and Silver Linings
  • 25 minutes: Coaching vs. Consulting: Creating a Culture of Collaboration
  • 10 minutes: Language and Learning Techniques for the Classroom: Why Language Instruction Belongs in the General Education Setting
  • 35 minutes: Stop Standing in the Back! How to address Speech and Language Goals in a Co-Taught Classroom
  • 15 minutes: Behavior, Chronic Stress and Trauma: Covid Considerations. What happens when we go back?
  • 15 minutes: Review strategies from Marzano’s “What Works” research that applies to both the principles of language therapy and the language of the classroom
  • 20 minutes: Student Engagement and Behavior: Tier 1 Modifications and Strategies for Virtual and In-person Platforms
  • 10 minutes: Questions and Answers