Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Andrew T. Alexson


A district in Southwestern Pennsylvania was experiencing disruptive behaviors with students with emotional behavioral disabilities in the elementary mainstream classroom. Grounded in the Bar-On 10-factor structure emotional-social intelligence model, the purpose of the study was to gain understanding of how emotional-social intelligence competency empowered regular-education teachers to maintain positive relationships with students with emotional behavioral disabilities. The qualitative naturalist-constructionist research approach involved implementing the responsive interview technique for data collection. The study involved purposeful sampling for participant recruitment for 10 elementary regular-education teachers. The elementary teachers who taught first through fifth grades were observed by their building principals as maintaining positive relationships with students with emotional behavioral disabilities and recommended to be invited to participate in the research study. Participants were teachers who had a minimum of 5 years of elementary regular-education experience with students with emotional behavioral disabilities. Data analysis was achieved through a 5-step simple qualitative research design. Multiple coding cycles involving a priori, and in vivo coding facilitated the identification of three emergent themes from participant responses for 10 semi-structured questions. The three themes were: (a) social emotional learning in the classroom, (b) expectations for classroom behavior and instructional goals, and (c) positive teacher-student relationships. The results of this study suggest that elementary principals may increase instructional minutes in the mainstream classroom through emotional-social intelligence professional development to enable teachers to maintain mutually satisfying relationships with student with emotional behavioral disability.