Date of Conferral







Karine Clay


Social justice advocates have championed inclusive education, leading to its adoption in many jurisdictions. Despite policy changes designed to support learners with disabilities and research on inclusive education, students with an emotional/behavioral disorder (EBD) experience significantly poorer outcomes than their peers. Teachers often describe including this group of students as impossible and attempts to achieve inclusion often result in extreme stress. Research has identified proven inclusion strategies, but there are often problems with implementation in real-world settings. There is a research gap concerning how teachers understand and select interventions. Classic grounded theory methodology was used to identify the primary concern of teachers who were including a student with an EBD in their general education elementary classroom in Alberta, Canada. Constant comparative analysis of 23 teacher interviews revealed a theory of striving for homeostasis by which teachers maintained the classroom’s optimum functioning and addressed the often-conflicting needs of students with an EBD. Teachers used strategies of managing, unothering (fixing), inclusively excluding, recruiting allies, and conserving energy and resources. This theory provides an interpretation of why many current strategies have been ineffective in creating enduring change, given how teachers are perceiving and selecting interventions. Those who support teachers can use the resulting recommendations to reduce stress for teachers and more effectively encourage the use of evidence-based strategies. Such actions may lead to positive social change, promoting teachers’ emotional health and greater school success for this disadvantaged group of students.