Negotiating Co-Teaching Identities in Multilingual High School Classrooms

Liv T. Dávila, Lan Q. Kolano, Heather Coffey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


School districts in the U.S. are increasingly calling on content area and English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers to work together to plan and deliver instruction in classrooms with linguistically diverse students. Such programming presumes, however, that collaborative teaching dynamics are unproblematic. The aim of this article is to examine ESL and content area co-teaching dyads at an urban high school in the U.S. southeast. Data were drawn from a year-long qualitative study of these classrooms and were analyzed using sociocultural perspectives on learning (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Lave, 1998). Findings highlight structural factors that inhibit the development of positive co-teaching relationships, including top-down decision-making, inadequate training for co-teaching, and lack of time for co-planning. Positive relationships were formed on the basis of shared personal and pedagogical visions, flexibility and adaptability. In addition to recommendations for school-level changes, implications of this study center on the need to prepare teacher candidates for collaborative teaching through cross-disciplinary coursework that includes opportunities to practice and reflect on co-teaching.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)28-43
JournalNABE Journal of Research and Practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • ESL
  • co-teaching
  • cross-disciplinary coursework
  • multilingual
  • high school

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