Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Judith Tanner


In a small, rural district in southeastern United States, general and special education teachers have not consistently provided inclusionary practices for students with disabilities to help them be successful in the general education setting. The purpose of this study was to investigate what general and special education teachers perceive are effective inclusionary practices, why they are not implementing the strategies, and what teachers think they need to help them improve implementing inclusion practices. The conceptual framework that grounded this study was Knowles' adult learning theory. The research questions addressed the inclusionary practices teachers use, challenges of inclusion, and teachers' perceptions of what they need to help improve implementing inclusion. A basic qualitative research design was employed in which interview data were collected from 10 general education teachers and 8 special education teachers with a valid state teaching license and at least 1 year of teaching experience in an inclusion classroom. Using NVivo 12, the study findings revealed that coteaching was the inclusion practice that the district implemented for students with disabilities and the challenges that teachers encountered when implementing inclusion were a teacher's perception of inclusion, lack of common planning or collaboration time, and the district's sparse support. Teachers thought more common planning time, additional instructional materials to support students with disabilities, and visiting other schools where inclusion was successful would be most beneficial for them to improve the implementation of inclusion. This study may contribute to positive social change by improving academic gains for students with disabilities through providing teachers with a better understanding of inclusionary practices that could potentially improve graduation rates in the district.