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Mawhinney, Monique (2011) CO-TEACHING FOR INCLUSION IN A SUBURBAN MIDDLE SCHOOL:A SOCIO-TECHNICAL PERSPECTIVE. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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A study occurred of the implementation of a regular education and special education co-teaching model in a suburban middle school to determine the changes in the school system's socio-technical subsystems. The Socio-Technical Theory describes the complex relationships between people, tasks and technology (Cooper, Gencturk & Lindley, 1996). The subsystems within this theory consist of a human subsystem, a technical subsystem, a structural subsystem, and a task subsystem. Owens and Steinhoff (1976) believe that these four subsystems are critical elements to be dealt with when initiating change or implementing an innovation in an organization. A three-year study took place to examine the human, task, structural and technical subsystem variables that affected the implementation of co-teaching. The study happened during the redefining/restructuring stage of implementation. I used case study methodology including semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, observations and document analysis. The results of the study discovered that implementing co-teaching in a school district created changes in all four subsystems. Changes in the human subsystem included the need for a shared philosophy of co-teaching between the co-teaching pairs, consistent co-teaching pairs from year to year, and the desire to hire one additional special education teacher. Changes in this subsystem had the most significant impact on the relationship between the co-teachers. Changes in the technical subsystem included the need for special education teachers to increase their knowledge in the subject area, professional development that put more of an emphasis on how to utilize common plan time and to differentiate instruction for students with disabilities, and the need for teachers to incorporate the various co-teaching models into daily lessons more effectively. Changes in the structural subsystem included common plan time, shared responsibility between co-teachers in the planning and delivery of instruction, and consistent pairing of co-teachers. Finally, changes that occurred in the task subsystem included relative advantage, which Rogers (2003) defines as the degree to which the innovation is perceived as being better than the idea it supersedes. The data analysis showed an increase in the clerical and day-to-day responsibilities for the special education teachers, and a decrease in these same responsibilities for the regular education teachers.School administrators would benefit from understanding that implementation of co-teaching can be a complex series of stages and proper planning and preparation must occur for implementation to be successful. Particularly, school administrators should provide meaningful professional development for both administrators and teachers. Additionally, the master schedule must be designed to reflect common plan time for teachers and co-teaching pairs should be consistent from year to year. All teachers should share a common philosophy regarding co-teaching in order to provide a solid co-teaching experience. Analysis of data revealed that these factors related to the findings of several researchers and were the same factors identified from the four socio-technical subsystems. School Administrators would benefit from using The Socio-Technical Theory when implementing an initiative. They should pay particular attention to specific factors from each of the subsystems that could have an affect on the overall success of the initiative prior to implementation.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHughes, Sean
Committee MemberGunzenhauser, Michael
Committee MemberGraf, Otto
Committee MemberIsherwood, Robert
Committee Member Goodwin, Sue
Date: 13 May 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 7 December 2010
Approval Date: 13 May 2011
Submission Date: 7 January 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: EdD - Doctor of Education
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Special Education
Other ID:, etd-01072011-091625
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:30
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:35


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