Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Teacher Education

First Advisor

Dr. Kenneth Smith


This multi-case descriptive study looked at teachers' perceptions regarding the inclusion of special education students in regular education classrooms. The study took place in a public elementary school. The participants were interviewed three times throughout the school year over a nine-month period. The researcher held the role as participant observer since the researcher is also a teacher in the same school. This study examined the process that teachers underwent as their school changed from providing a pull out program for special education students to an inclusion program. The school at where this study took place included both learning disabled students as well as gifted students under their special education inclusion plan. Participants in the study included regular education teachers, special education teachers, and school administrators. Data was gathered through audio taped interviews and a researcher's journal. The audio taped interviews were conducted at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. Data analysis was conducted simultaneously with data collection by identifying coding categories and identifying themes and patterns in the interviews. The study found that although most teachers had to undergo a substantial amount of modification due to the change in the special education program from a pull out program to an inclusion program, most teachers felt that the change was a positive one in terms of the school focusing on the needs of the students. The study also found that when the change occurred, it caused the participants to re-examine their perceptions of their roles as teachers.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Teacher Education and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright 1999 Heather Nebesniak