Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Adair White-Johnson


Male African American students with disabilities in a South Carolina school district have received a greater proportion of discipline referrals and exclusionary consequences than have other demographic groups. The purpose of this sequential mixed methods study was to explore classroom management strategies that may reduce this disproportionality. The conceptual framework was Skinner's applied behavior theory, which states that to change behavior, the environment must be changed. The qualitative guiding question investigated teacher beliefs about best classroom management practices. The quantitative research questions were intended to provide a description of discipline preferences. Quantitative data were collected through the Behavior and Instructional Management Scale (BIMS) survey (n = 20). Qualitative data were gathered from interviews with and observations of teachers of male African American students with behavioral disorders. Descriptive statistics of 20 BIMS responses indicated that participants' self -reported preferences were instructional management strategies and approaches that emphasized organizing the learning environment. Qualitative interview and observation data were analyzed using axial coding and a matrix. Findings indicated that although participants could identify disciplinary best practices, they lacked confidence to implement them. Based on these results, a professional development workshop for teachers was developed to implement research-based classroom management practices. This project will introduce social change for teachers by improving their efficacy in managing challenging behaviors and increasing instructional time. Students will also benefit from improved productivity in the learning environment.