Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Derek Schroll


To improve the learning of students with disabilities, the collaboration between generaleducation and special education teachers in middle school inclusion classrooms needs to be increased. This basic qualitative study aimed to explore general education and special education teachers’ coteaching relationships in inclusion classrooms. Pratt’s achieving symbiosis theory was used to frame the study. The research question investigated the difficulties middle school general education and special education teachers encountered that prevented them from attaining a symbiotic relationship in the inclusion classroom. A basic qualitative study was used to gain insight from certified, middle school coteachers in inclusion classrooms who taught in an inclusion classroom for at least one period per day, and consented to participate in the study. Data were collected from semistructured interviews with five general education and five special education teachers. Thematic coding was used to identify categories and themes by revealing common threads of collaborative practices when serving students with disabilities. Four themes emerged: (a) lack of equality in the classroom for the special educator (viewed as an assistant), (b) coplanning time needed for effective coteaching, (c) importance of relationships in coteaching, and (d) not enough administrative involvement. The results may be used to inform leaders of the importance of collaborative relationships between coteachers, as well as the need to improve coteaching relationships. School and district leaders could use the results to inform changes that could improve coteaching. Creating highly effective cotaught classrooms can increase the learning of students with disabilities while they are benefiting from being served in an inclusion setting.