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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities




This study examined how co-teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) and General Education (GE) perceived their roles, agency, and professional positioning within co-taught elementary integrated English as a New Language (ENL) classes. Theories of positioning and educational change guided this study, exploring teachers’ perceptions of parity and observations of their discourse and interactions within the context of school and district cultures and policies. ESOL and GE co-teachers who implemented the collaborative cycle of instruction with fidelity experienced parity in their partnerships. These teachers utilized their distinct areas of expertise and had a common understanding of each teacher’s roles and responsibilities. However, ambiguity or conflicting administrative directives concerning co-teaching often contributed to inequitable teacher hierarchies and challenged GE and ESOL teachers to make sense of their roles in supporting English Language Learners (ELLs). GE teacher discourse revealed perceptions of being lead teachers, with ESOL teachers serving in a supportive role. The study concluded that ESOL teachers perceived a loss of their professional identities when discourse and interactions placed them in a subordinate position to the GE teacher. Implications for policy and practice at the district and school building levels include increasing ESOL teachers’ involvement in curriculum writing at the district level to create a shared discourse of expertise among their GE and content area colleagues, as well as enacting policy change at the district level to establish collaborative structures for co-planning to cultivate equitable roles for co-teachers. Recommendations are offered for future research to expand the understanding of co-teacher positioning.

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