Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
In a Georgia middle school, general and special education teachers expressed concerns about the challenges of working collaboratively in the inclusive classroom. Effective teacher collaboration is pivotal to ensure academic success of all students. The purpose of this qualitative bounded instrumental case study was to explore middle school teachers' perceptions and attitudes toward shared teacher collaboration in inclusion classrooms. Lave and Wenger's situated learning theory was the conceptual framework. Purposeful sampling was used to select 4 general and 4 special education teachers who worked in middle school coteaching classrooms. Face-to-face interviews and teacher lesson plans were the data sources. Data were analyzed using inductive analysis and open and axial coding strategies. Teachers identified ongoing training emphasizing coteaching models, collaboration, and classroom management strategies, coplanning periods, teacher selection guidelines for inclusion classes, and administrative involvement in collaboration as challenges of and optimal opportunities for working collaboratively. Based on these findings, a 3-day professional development project was designed to support effective teacher collaboration and foster positive communication with administration teams. These endeavors may contribute to positive social change when administrators establish and cultivate a school culture of positive teacher collaboration between general and special education teachers involved in coteaching, thereby improving teachers' coteaching experiences and improving the academic environment for all learners.