• Mastering the Ropes of the Climb: A Case Study Exploration of Educator Perceptions of Their Preparedness to Teach in Behaviorally Inclusive Classroom Environments

      Fannin, Kaminsia M; Tift College of Education
      This study examined general education teacher perceptions of being prepared to meet the needs of students with emotional and behavior disabilities in inclusive classrooms. Preparation with the knowledge and skills needed for addressing the various needs of students with behavior disabilities is coupled with the metaphorical backdrop of scaling a mountain. This metaphor was used to illustrate the foundational necessity for training of skills and knowledge for tackling the undertaking, as well as the uphill venture it presents. Current research has examined the effect on teacher attitudes for working with EBD students and its influence on student outcomes. However, few researchers have utilized a qualitative case study to explore the relationship of their perceptions to their preservice and in-service (professional learning) preparation. This study implemented a qualitative design through a single exploratory case study methodology. Semi-structured questionnaires, journal reflections, and a focus group was utilized to gather participant experiences and reflections. Findings indicated 10 emerging themes associated with preparation for behaviorally inclusive classrooms. An overwhelming majority of the negative perceptions were associated with preservice and in-service preparation. Positive perceptions were in the areas of student teaching experiences and school-based collaboration/support teams. The positive perceptions found were not associated with preparation provided by either institution but gained by way of experiences while teaching. Recommendation for further study include expanding the participant pool by diversifying the geographic areas and school districts, gathering perceptions from special education teacher regarding the same institutions to compare to the perceptions of general education teachers, and gathering perceptions from students in behaviorally inclusive classrooms regarding their experiences with the teachers in the environment.