Together and apart: co-teaching in the time of COVID-19

Erin Riley-Lepo, Ashley Pollitt, Stephen Tarsitano, Nicole Barnes, Helenrose Fives

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this instrumental-comparative case study, we analysed how seven US teachers reported co-teaching experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting remote instruction. We sought to understand how co-teaching during the pandemic affected teachers’ psychological needs of competence, autonomy, and relatedness. Data collection included: an initial questionnaire, weekly reflections, and semi-structured interviews. We found that special education co-teachers (SE-CTs) reported diminished feelings of competence and autonomy due to scheduling complications and demands associated with meeting the needs of students with disabilities. General education co-teachers (GE-CTs) experienced similar challenges, yet reported experiences of competence and autonomy associated with increased flexibility. SE-CTs with longstanding, trusting relationships with GE-CTs reported feelings of relatedness, which seemed to mitigate some of the threats to competence that we saw otherwise. Although our findings come from a time of crisis across the world, by providing a unique perspective on co-teaching experiences these findings may inform future education research, theory, and practice in K-12 settings considering remote instruction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEducational Review
StateAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Co-teaching
  • remote learning
  • self-determination theory
  • special education


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