Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Judy Shoemaker


Many arts educators in Pennsylvania public charter schools do not teach executive functioning (EF) skills to students with learning disabilities (LDs) and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The purpose of this study was to investigate how these art teachers describe their own EF instructional practices and what support they need to improve those practices. The conceptual framework that grounded this study was Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which asserts that learning occurs in a social context with a reciprocal relationship between students, their teachers, and the environment. Research questions were used to explore art teachers’ perceptions of teaching EF skills and what is needed to support EF skills instruction for students with LD or ADHD in the arts classroom. A basic qualitative research design was used to collect semistructured interview data from eight arts educators from Pennsylvanian arts-based public charter schools. Each participant held a bachelor’s degree in arts education and taught at various grade levels, elementary through secondary. Data were analyzed using open and a priori coding as well as thematic analysis. Findings indicated that arts teachers wanted no additional special education training. Rather, they desired training in relational methods to merge academic pedagogy with individually motivated artistic pedagogy to teach EF skills within the arts classroom. Guided by the findings, a 3-day practice-based professional development program was created. This study contributes to positive social change by improving arts educators’ instructional practice. This may result in improved student EF skills and increased access to learning for students with LD and ADHD in arts classrooms as a part of their well-rounded education.