What Works? A Collective Case Study of Effective Collaborative Practices in Elementary and Middle School Inclusion Classrooms in Southwest Virginia
School of Education
Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)
Collaboration, Inclusion Teams, Inclusion Classrooms, Group Development, Special Education
Education | Special Education and Teaching
Brown, Shellie Denise, "What Works? A Collective Case Study of Effective Collaborative Practices in Elementary and Middle School Inclusion Classrooms in Southwest Virginia" (2020). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 2606.
The advent of inclusive educational practices in the United States in recent decades has prompted a need for increased and improved levels of collaboration among general and special education teachers. The purpose of this qualitative, holistic, collective case study was to develop an in-depth understanding of general and special education teachers’ best practices for effective collaboration in kindergarten through eighth grade public education inclusion classrooms in Southwest Virginia. This study investigated two teams of general and special education teachers who were demonstrating effective collaborative practices. This study sought to answer the central research question: What are general and special education teachers’ best practices for effective collaboration in K-8 public education inclusion classrooms in Southwest Virginia? The theories guiding this study were Tuckman’s stages of small group development and Vygotsky’s sociocultural learning theory. Data was collected through interviews, cognitive representations, and artifacts. Data analysis occurred by organizing data into patterns and themes to conduct a within-case analysis of each case and cross-case analysis across the two cases of inclusion teams. This study revealed the following themes and sub-themes as best practices for inclusion teams at each stage of group development: (a) communication (talking, planning, reflecting); (b) teamwork (sharing, together, equal, support); (c) attitude (perspective, trust, respect, willing); and (d) perseverance (work, effort). The results provided insights to help other collaborative teams succeed in becoming cohesive, compatible partnerships who can work together for the success of their general and special education students.