Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mel Finkenberg


The increase of students with an emotional and/or behavioral disorder (EBD) and the increased time they are in the regular education classroom presents multiple challenges for untrained regular classroom teachers. At the local site it was noted that leadership needed a deeper understanding of the practices used by the teachers with EBD students. The purpose of this study was to identify educator's descriptions of effective instructional strategies when working with EBD students. Using Vygotsky's theories of defectology and zone of proximal development as the framework, the guiding questions for this study focused on training, instructional strategies, and behavior management tools that teachers deemed successful in the inclusion classroom. Data were collected using a case study exploring the design with purposeful sampling strategies for participant recruitment. Two focus groups with 14 regular Kindergarten through fifth grade classroom teachers were conducted along with personal interviews with 5 behavior specialists. Data were analyzed using open and axial coding with iterative re-categorization strategies. The findings highlighted effective teaching strategies that focused on improving the overall educational experience in the inclusive classroom by targeting improvement of academic performance, social skills, communication techniques, and behavior management strategies. This study focused on a positive social change by positioning teachers to create a successful educational environment for all students. The study's project provided a culminating professional development project that presented the various strategies discovered during the data collection and analysis process.

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