Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
There is a correlation between the professional development that teachers receive and student academic success. It has been shown that knowledgeable teachers have a profound impact on student achievement. Many general and special educators enter the field of education and are placed to teach in inclusive environments with little to no professional development related to inclusion. This placement often adversely impacts the success of students with disabilities on state tests. However, there is limited information on the types of professional development necessary for teaching in inclusion. Guided by Bandura's social cognitive theory, this study explored teachers' perceptions of the types of professional development beneficial for teaching in inclusion. The research questions examined participants' attitudes and perceptions toward professional development needs, professional development experiences, and instructional activities used in inclusion. A qualitative case study approach was used to purposefully select 5 general and 5 special education teachers who taught in inclusion classrooms. Data for the study were collected through individual interviews, which were recorded and transcribed, then analyzed and coded for themes. Teachers' perceptions showed there was insufficient training for new teachers, a need for ample planning time in their professional development routine, and a need to implement models of coteaching as described by Friend (2009). The potential for positive social change includes improved inclusion-based professional development for all teachers, which may increase the likelihood of student academic success.