Date of Conferral

2016

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Mary Givens

Abstract

Recent legislative actions requiring schools in the local school system to increase the percentage of students served in the inclusion classroom has led to teachers having difficulty in implementing inclusion best practices. Using Vygotsky's social theory, the purpose of this case study was to examine teachers' understanding, knowledge, and perceptions of inclusive teaching strategies. The research questions were used to explore the teachers' understanding of inclusion, perceived effectiveness of strategies, and the resources that teachers feel are necessary to implement inclusion strategies. A purposeful sample of 10 teachers currently teaching in an inclusion setting were interviewed face-to-face using semistructured questions. The interview transcripts were coded for common themes. Some of the themes included a lack of training and a need for a better understanding of coteaching roles. Findings indicate that the teachers believe inclusion to be worthwhile, but challenging. The findings also indicate a need for more professional development and training on inclusion strategies. Using the findings, a 3-day professional course was designed to address the teachers' needs. This study will provide administrators with a greater understanding of the professional learning needs of the teachers. It has the potential to bring about positive social change in many ways, including better-prepared teachers, leading to more effective teaching practices and greater self-efficacy. Also, this project has the potential to reap many benefits for the county's students with disabilities population, by providing them with more suitable educational opportunities.