Cooperating Teachers' Role in Preparing Preservice Special Education Teachers: Moving Beyond Sink or Swim

Carly A. Roberts, Amber E. Benedict, Rachel A. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Practicum experiences, a crucial component of preservice teacher preparation, help establish the foundational knowledge and skills necessary for beginning special education teachers (SETs). Preservice SETs need cooperating teachers (CTs) who support preservice SETs in proper emotional development (i.e., feeling like a teacher), who can model and support preservice teachers in the development of effective practices (i.e., acting like a teacher), and who promote the cognitive processes involved in instructional decision making (i.e., thinking like a teacher). When CTs are mindful of the learning needs of beginning special education teachers while also embracing the knowledge and skills they can bring to the partnership, they are more likely to help preservice teachers develop the skills needed to succeed on their own. This article presents strategies from the literature that CTs can use to effectively support their preservice SETs as they begin to feel, act, and think like a teacher.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-180
Number of pages7
JournalIntervention in School and Clinic
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • collaboration
  • education/training/preparation
  • field experiences
  • personnel preparation/professional development
  • teacher(s)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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