Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education

First Advisor

Allan Bellman

Second Advisor

Kenya Wolff

Third Advisor

Roy Thurston


University of Mississippi

Relational Format



Co-teaching is the practice of general educators and special educators sharing instruction in a general education setting to deliberately meet the needs of students with and without disabilities. Co-teacher research tends to focus on the processes of co-teaching, and little is known about how teachers go about creating a system of interconnected professional expertise that flexibly meets the diverse learning needs of students. This comparative case study examines the interpersonal and professional relationships of two co-teaching teams who were supported by their respective administration, who shared common planning time, co-instructed together in the mathematics classroom, and were engaged in a common professional learning experience. The teams were both young partnerships and were actively engaged in developing collaboration norms and making sense of their partnerships within their respective schools. These teachers reported that their practices were supported by interpersonal relationships founded on honesty, trust, and open communication. The extent to which teachers created a cohesive instructional practice was related to the teachers’ ability to cross boundaries of expertise and engage in critical conversations about best practices for teaching mathematics to students with and without disabilities. Effective co-teaching seeks a balance of professional expertise and personalities, and teachers reported that attributes of their interpersonal relationship and parity in teacher roles were mirrored by the students in the classroom.



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