Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. C. Elliott Ostler


This qualitative study utilized a semi-structured interview approach to better understand the experiences of general education teachers (n = 8) with the inclusion of special education students in the general education classroom. By gaining information about the experiences that general education teachers have with supports and services for, as well as communication about, inclusion, the study results provide additional information about experiences in order to inform the supports teachers receive to better educate students with and without disabilities. Each semi-structured interview was transcribed and coded for themes. Seven key themes emerged from findings: Acceptance, Time in General Education Classroom, Supports and Strategies, Special Education Teacher Role, Collaboration and Communication, Dangerous, Destructive, Disruptive Behaviors, and Other Barriers. Literature names the frequent barrier to inclusion being negative attitudes of general education teachers, special education teachers, and parents; that was not the case in the findings of this research, which found the large barrier described by all participants to be experiences with dangerous, destructive, disruptive behavior. Along with the large barrier described as a result of student behavior, teachers detailed experiences with a lack of human supports because of student behavioral support needs. Research findings include that despite teachers having supports and services in place for the education and inclusion of special education students in the general education classroom, such things didn’t appear to be enough to combat the significant barrier that arose from dangerous, destructive, disruptive behavior. Behavior affected the presence, participation, and achievement of special education students. Additionally, participants detailed the rippling effects that dangerous, destructive, disruptive behavior had on inclusion, as well as the learning of other students in the classroom and often across the school. Of importance is for leaders and districts to be cognizant and focused on providing supports to school staff when programming and providing supports for students with significant behavioral needs. Adequate staffing is a must. Candid, supportive Individualized Education Program (IEP) conversations around least restrictive environment are critical.


A Dissertation Presented to the Faculty of the Graduate College of the University of Nebraska in Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education. Copyright 2017 Jennifer L. Sinclair.

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