Breaking down the walls of the ‘Ivory Tower’: critical reflections on how co-teaching partnerships can bridge the gap between inclusive education theory and practice

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For decades, the gap between theory and practice has remained the central problem of teacher education. This study will present an alternative approach in an attempt to try to bridge the gap between theory and practice in a teacher education course focused on inclusive education. The approach is based on a model that integrates a university-based and school-based curriculum to promote collaborative partnerships through an arrangement that involved university lecturers and school teachers co-teaching an inclusion unit. The aim of this study was to explore how the experience may have influenced the practice of two university lecturers and two secondary school teachers who co-taught an inclusive unit over a 12-week period. Critical reflections of the university lecturers and school teachers were collected using reflective journal entries and semi-structured interviews. Data was analysed using a critical reflection framework for transformative learning proposed by Liu (2015), as an extension of the Brookfield’s critical reflection model. Findings showed that a co-teaching partnership provided opportunities for university lecturers to draw on the practical real-life examples of the two school teachers they co-taught with, they reflected on how this helped them make connections between inclusive education theory and practice for their students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-495
Number of pages21
JournalTeachers and teaching: theory and practice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • co-teaching
  • critical reflection
  • Inclusive education
  • preservice teachers
  • teacher education
  • theory and practice

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