School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


James Zabloski


Constructivist Theory, Co-Teaching, Lived Experiences, Special Education


Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Other Education


Few research studies listened to the voices of high school students with disabilities’ regarding their lived experiences during placement in an inclusion setting and a resource setting. The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to understand the central phenomenon of the study for 10 ninth grade students with disabilities served in either an inclusive setting or a resource setting in 2 rural high schools located in Southeastern Georgia. The research design for this study is a qualitative, phenomenological because further exploration is needed to understand the perceptions of students with disabilities regarding their instructional environments. The central research question was, “How do ninth grade students with disabilities describe their lived experiences, either in an inclusion setting or a resource setting?” The setting for this study was 2 high schools located in a small, rural school district in Southeastern United States. The forms of data collection were interviews, focus groups, and observations. The use of MAXqda and the constant comparative data analysis were chosen until data saturation was reached. The 3 themes were Teacher-student Relationships, Classroom Climate, and Perceived Teacher Efficacy. Findings revealed the need for ninth graders’ input into their placement in instructional environments of inclusion and resource settings. The conclusion was that ninth grade SWD felt that they could learn in an inclusion setting with the effective implementation of instructional practices and teacher traits they associated with the resource setting. Further research could focus on how to increase the effectiveness of co-teaching models to emphasize a stronger focus on student learning outcomes and implement processes to include student in the IEP meetings to provide their input regarding their services.