School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Sandra Battige


self-efficacy, special education teachers, writing, students with disabilities




The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the perceptions of intermediate special education teachers regarding the factors that influence their self-efficacy toward teaching writing to students with disabilities. Students with learning disabilities rank at the bottom of national test scores for writing, resulting in a dire need for increased writing instruction (Institute of Education Sciences, 2011). Special education teachers may struggle to provide adequate writing instruction because of a lack of training, resources, support, or low self-efficacy (Graham, 2019; Hodges et al., 2019; Risko & Reid, 2019). Teacher self-efficacy influences student self-efficacy and positive student outcomes (Bandura, 1997). This study addressed the central research question relating to how special education teachers described the factors that influence the development of their self-efficacy towards teaching writing to students with learning disabilities. A purposeful sampling of teachers participated in this study. Data collection methods included semi-structured interviews, audio journals, and online focus groups. Data was viewed through Bandura's theoretical framework of self-efficacy. Moustaka's (1994) modification of the Van Kaam method of data analysis was applied. Data were initially read and reread through horizonalization and then coded using NVivo 12 qualitative research software. The following themes emerged: learning to write, teacher training, mentors and models, experiences teaching writing, and feedback. Special education teachers noted fewer experiences that developed high levels of self-efficacy toward teaching writing, creating a need for the development of teacher training and professional development opportunities specific for special education teachers for writing.

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