Date of Conferral

2017

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Marilyn Robb

Abstract

Rarely is a school-based speech language pathologist (SLP) thought of as an active contributor to the achievement of students or to the learning community in general. Researchers have found benefits for students when members of the learning community collaborate, and the SLP should be a part of this community collaboration. This qualitative case study examined elementary school teachers', administrators', and reading specialists' perspectives related to knowledge of and the inclusion of the SLP in the learning community at a local elementary school in central Georgia. Schon's theory of reflective practice and Coleman's theory of social capital provided the conceptual framework. Via an open-ended questionnaire and intensive interviews, 8 educators with 3 or more years of experience in 1 of the K-5 elementary schools in this local community provided data for this study. Data were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed through inductive methods using open and axial coding with thematic analysis. The results of the study showed 4 common themes that the participants felt were important. These themes included the fact that teachers understood the SLP to be a resource, but were unsure how to access their specialty; teachers and SLPs needed allotted time to work together; teachers and SLPs needed to communicate frequently; and teachers desired more knowledge of the SLP's role in the educational setting. Important implications for social change in elementary school learning communities include increasing involvement of the SLP, promoting SLP involvement in the identification of at-risk students, increasing educator awareness of the SLP's benefit, and increasing collaboration between SLPs and educators promoted through a 3-day professional learning project.