Date of Award

Summer 8-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Curtis Porter

Second Advisor

Gloria Park

Third Advisor

Beatrice Fennimore


This study examines the negotiations that take place in the coteaching relationships between four elementary school teachers: two mainstream classroom teachers (MTs) and two English Language teachers (ELTs) in two different elementary schools in a semi-urban area of Pennsylvania with a large Spanish-speaking community. With coteaching becoming an increasingly popular method to provide inclusionary instruction in the content areas for English Language Learners (ELLs), this examination of how coteachers negotiate their instructional roles is relevant in the current educational climate.

This qualitative classroom study used positioning theory (Harré & Van Langenhove, 1999; Harré, Moghaddam, Cairnie, Rothbart, & Sabat, 2009) to frame the coteacher negotiations and themes that arose from individual interviews, audio-recorded coplanning sessions, classroom observations, field notes, and classroom maps. Findings exhibited recurring themes of negotiation, positioning, perception of student need, ownership, and group membership, throughout the coteacher negotiations.

The results of this study indicate that most negotiation by and positioning of the coteachers occurred during coplanning sessions. The study also found that the mainstream classroom teachers often took ownership of their academic content and remained static in their instructional roles overall. All coteachers seemed to share a similar perception of student need and showed knowledge of language acquisition strategies. Evidence of group membership in the co-teaching relationship, student groups, and language appeared in the data.

This study’s findings may offer implications for understanding the negotiation of roles between coteachers of ELLs and may therefore influence the way teachers deliver academic content and language instruction—thus encouraging better outcomes for these students.