A Case Study To Identify How Shared Decision Making and Collaboration between General and Exceptional Education Teachers Impact Effective and Ineffective Inclusion Practices
Strong, Faith Renee
CommitteeWallin, Patsy D.
King, Stephaine B.
Fincher, Mark E.
Sergiovanni (1994) believed that the rationale for shared decision making is that those who are closest to students are best equipped to make educational decisions to improve instructional programs. Liontos (1994) believed that change is most likely to be effective and lasting when those who implement it feel a sense of ownership and responsibility for the process. Building level administrators along with general and exceptional education teachers play a vital role in making educational practices a reality in schools (Kilgore, 2011). The administrator must have adequate knowledge of what the practices entail and how to mobilize staff so these educational practices are implemented effectively. In order to embrace the philosophy of inclusion, teachers must eliminate the focus on labels of students and make students with disabilities and support needs the determining factors in the provision of services and placement settings. This requires the school staff to shift paradigms when determining how best to meet the needs of students with disabilities. The overall purpose of this study was to determine whether or not general and exceptional education teachers working together had an impact on the inclusion process. These two groups of teachers collaborated to address challenges that students meet in the general educational setting. Their goal was to provide the best possible learning experience for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment. While this study only took into account the challenges and successes of one school, in one school district, it is a glimpse of what other teachers, general and exceptional education are facing in inclusive settings. Results of the study showed that collaboration between general and exceptional education teachers clearly resulted in greater teacher efficacy. These teachers believed that they could make a positive difference. Teachers who exhibited this confidence were more likely to engage in collaboration. Some of the general education teachers who had the strongest desire for collaboration and worked closely with an exceptional education teacher exhibited a number of positive traits that led to more effective inclusion instruction. With this in mind, it is important for educational leaders to do all that they can to provide professional training and development to offer ideas and instances of collaboration to help the students with disabilities and teachers involved in educating them.