Date of Conferral







Peggy Locke


Implementation of federally mandated classroom inclusion of students with disabilities (SWDs) in the United States is inconsistent. Research has been limited on how teachers implement inclusion in classrooms, which has prevented systemwide improvements of inclusion practices. The purpose of this basic qualitative study was to describe the circumstances and experiences of regular and special education teachers in 3rd to 6th grade inclusion classes. The theory of organizational learning served as the conceptual framework for the study. Data were collected in interviews with 7 regular education teachers (RETs) and 5 special education teachers (SETs) from 3 public school districts in a south-central U.S. state. Data were analyzed using open coding to identify themes and patterns. Results indicated that SETs served SWDs from multiple classes and sometimes from multiple grades rather than following 1 student throughout the day. Further, RETs had students with and without disabilities from up to 7 different grade levels in their inclusion classrooms. Findings also revealed that none of the participants engaged in collaborative content planning. Almost all participants expressed the need for additional teachers to reduce the teacher-to-student ratio and for more training for RETs to support inclusion of SWDs in their classes. Findings may provide information to leaders at the building, district, regional, state, and legislative levels regarding how inclusion can be improved in classrooms, including how systemic change in public school systems may be implemented.

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