Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


In the age of accountability in education, teachers are expected to meet the needs of all of their students, including English Language Learners (ELLs). In the field of study relating to ELLs, collaboration between classroom teachers and ELL specialists is suggested to support ELLs. What is unknown, however, is the extent to which collaboration is happening, the contextual and interfering conditions of collaboration, and the consequences of collaboration or non-collaboration.

In this qualitative grounded theory study, I investigated whether and how elementary classroom teachers and English Language Learner (ELL) specialists collaborated to instruct ELLs. The research questions were:

1. What does classroom teacher and ELL specialist collaboration look like? What are the outcomes of collaboration?

2. If there is a formal systematic approach to collaboration, what is it? How did this collaboration form, and how is it sustained? Can a model be generated to demonstrate collaborative processes?

During the 2009-2010 school year, I interviewed, observed, and held brainstorming sessions with three administrators, three ELL specialists, and five classroom teachers in three urban elementary schools in one district in the eastern United States.

Findings from the study led to the development of a model demonstrating the relationship among collaborative processes, including causal, contextual, and interfering conditions, actions and interactions, and outcomes of classroom teacher and ELL specialist collaboration. Data support the assertion that classroom teacher and ELL specialist collaboration can be effective, meaning outcomes of collaboration can be desirable, if there is proper support and attention given to the process.

There are several recommendations resulting from this study, including:

1. Teachers and administrators need training on how to meet the needs of ELLs, including collaboration training.

2. Administrators must support collaborative processes in order for collaboration to work.

3. Educators and administrators can use the model I developed as a guide to improve collaboration between classroom teachers and ELL specialists.

Further research needs to be done on the resistance to change in relation to implementing collaborative practices in schools, the impact of teacher collaboration on student achievement, and the relationship between ELL service models and collaboration.