Graduate Program

Curriculum and Instruction

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2019

Thesis Director

John Bickford

Thesis Committee Member

Melissa Ames

Thesis Committee Member

Dawn VanGunten


This ethnographic qualitative study explores best practices for English Language Learning (ELL) students by analyzing one particular co-taught 8th grade English Language Arts (ELA) classroom where students received instruction from both a trained ELA teacher and one certified in English as a Second Language (ESL). The results suggest that the ELA mainstream teacher, Mr. Scott, was disengaged in class; disinterested in his students; unaware of his students’ backgrounds and needs; unaware of professional development offered; resistant and resentful towards new pedagogical approaches; tentatively interested in but unaware of best practices; displayed unprofessionalism; and indifferent about students' academic success. The ESL co-teacher, Ms. Beasley, overcame several obstacles to teach and when she taught; did not appear to have a supportive relationship with her co-teacher; received no support to teach her ELLs; was overworked and did everything herself; and was knowledgeable about and implemented effective best practices. Implications for school and research include classroom teachers becoming more aware of students’ and the supports they need; non-classroom teachers informing and educating classroom teachers of modifications, accommodations, proper diagnosis, and ways to support all students; and for administrators to have more control of situations happening in the building. Limitations include, but are not limited to, the researcher having one semester to conduct this study; using only one ELA and one ESL co-teacher; eliminating a third teacher due to time constraints; a second researcher was not employed; this study was conducted at one district; and this study focused on one age group of students in 8th grade.