Date of Conferral

1-1-2010

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Education

Advisor

Laura Lynn

Abstract

The demands of national educational reforms require high school biology teachers to provide high quality instruction to students with and without special needs. The reforms, however, do not provide teachers with adequate teaching strategies to meet the needs of all students in the same context. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to understand high school biology teachers' perspectives, practices, and challenges in relation to teaching students with special needs. This approach was used to develop a substantive model for high school biology teachers who are challenged with teaching students with and without special needs. Data were collected via in-depth interviews with 15 high school teachers in a Midwestern school district. The data were analyzed using open coding, axial coding, and selective coding procedures in accordance with the grounded theory approach. Essential model components included skills and training for teachers, classroom management strategies, teaching strategies, and student skills. The emergent substantive theory indicated that that teacher preparation and acquired skills greatly influence the effectiveness of inclusion implementation. Key findings also indicated the importance of using of a variety of instructional strategies and classroom management strategies that address students' special needs and their learning styles. This study contributes to social change by providing a model for teaching students and effectively implementing inclusion in regular science classrooms. Following further study, this model may be used to support teacher professional development and improve teaching practices that in turn may improve science literacy supported by the national educational reforms.