Chapter 2: Collaboration- Partnerships and Procedures

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Upon completion of this chapter the learner will:

  • List and describe the six major steps involved in effective communication to establish collaboration.
  • Describe the general education prereferral process, such as establishing timelines, intervention strategies, and consultations.
  • Identify the educational evaluation or assessment steps as well as the key components comprising the case conference committee and IEP program.
  • Gain understanding of the importance of partnerships between special and general educators.
  • Identify the benefits and potential barriers to co-teaching and research supporting the collaboration among educators.
  • Understand the roles and responsibilities, background, and importance of communicating with paraprofessionals.
  • Describe the importance of positive communication and collaboration with parents and families.

Go to Part 2- Summary of Ideas

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Part 2: Summary of Ideas

Effective communication includes: active listening, depersonalizing situations, identifying goals and solutions, and monitoring progress to achieve those goals.

-Gordon, 1987


Collaboration- involving cooperation, effective communication, shared problem-solving, planning, and finding solutions- is the process for ensuring that all students receive the free, appropriate public education mandated by IDEA.

Both schools and parents have responsibilities under IDEA. Partnerships can involve parents and professionals representing a variety of areas, including general and special education teachers, administrators, school psychologists, counselors, social workers, and community mental health agencies.

Effective communication is critical for successful collaboration. Effective communication involves active listening, depersonalizing situations, finding common goals, brainstorming steps for achieving common goals, identifying possible solutions, and summarizing the conversation. Following these steps can be very important in solving problems.

General education prereferral interventions are steps taken by schools to promote success in the regular classroom, prior to referral for special education. These actions can involve general and special education teachers, specialists, administrators, parents, and students.

Effective communication and collaboration are particularly important in the referral and placement process. For case conference committees to perform successfully, effective communication is essential.

Building effective collaborative partnerships is one of the most significant tasks of a successful inclusive teacher. With effective teamwork, solutions can be found to any number of problems!

Collaboration can take the form of consultation, in which special education teachers work together to decide upon intervention strategies for a specific student. Communication can take the form of notes, informal conversations, or scheduled meetings.

Collaboration can also take the form of co-teaching, in which a general education and special education teacher teach together in an inclusive classroom setting. These models can include one teacher and one assistant, station teaching, parallel teaching, alternative teaching, and team teaching. Teachers should consider all models, and keep records of their own collaboration, to determine which best fits the needs of the students.

Teachers must also collaborate effectively with paraprofessionals, in order to maximize the success of the inclusive classroom. Teachers should carefully consider the background of the paraprofessional, carefully outline roles and responsibilities, and communicate effectively at all times.

Effective collaboration with parents is a key to effective inclusive teaching. Teachers should consider variability in family backgrounds and family structures, and maintain close, positive contacts with parents throughout the year.

Go to Part 3- Chapter Activities

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Chapter Activities

Relationships develop among the many individuals working together as they collaborate to design optimal educational programs for students with disabilities.




Read Chapter 2. Use the Chapter 2 Graphic Organizer to "see" the big ideas in the chapter. Fill in blank sections of the graphic organizer. Add the graphic organizer to your class notebook.


Examine the following World Wide Web links and consider their perspectives based on information from Chapter 2. Print out useful information and add it to your class notebook.


Parents Helping Parents

Education and Health Care Issues

Federation for Children with Special Needs

Links to Education Laws


Educators in the United States have a responsibility to insure that every child receives a free appropriate public education. The IDEA / 504 Flow Chart presents the general processes that are considered to meet the needs of all school age children. Please fill in blank sections of the organizer and add it to your class notebook. (IDEA / 504 interventions are shown on page 56 of the class text.)



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