School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Rebecca Dilling


emotional behavioral disabilities, inclusion, co-teaching, least restrictive placement, reintegration




The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to describe the lived experiences of elementary educators in a large suburban district who have engaged in the co-teaching model to support the reintegration of students with or at risk for emotional and behavioral disabilities from self-contained classrooms to the general education classroom. The theories that guided this research were the theory of planned behavior, developed and refined by Ajzen, and the attribution theory, developed by Weiner. Together, these theories support the connection between teacher factors, teacher perspectives, and predictable engagement in the behavior, such as supporting and facilitating inclusion for students with EBD. A sample of 10 participants, comprised of both general and special educators with the unique experience of supporting the inclusion of students previously served in self-contained behavior classrooms, through a reintegration process, from a large suburban school district, provided their perspectives and experiences through individual interviews, journaling, and participation in a focus group. Data were analyzed and coded by hand and underwent a process of phenomenological reduction, horizontalization, and clustering to identify themes and meanings that richly describe the experience of using the co-teaching model to include students with EBD. A triangulation of the data corroborated the identification of themes and subthemes. The results of this study revealed that teacher perspectives are evolving, they would like input on teaching practices, and they value the co-teaching model to support reintegration.

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