Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Anne W. Joslin

Committee Member

Deeb Paul Kitchen

Committee Member

Kimberly Durham


general education, special education, teacher collaboration, inclusion, classrooms


This applied dissertation was framed around issues associated with the inclusion of students with disabilities in the general education classroom as these issues related to teacher collaboration. Specifically, the problem on which this study focused was that according to the principal at the research site, the general education teachers and special education teacher needed to collaborate more successfully in order to be more helpful to the students. The purpose of this case study was twofold. First, the researcher wished to determine how and to what extent collaboration practices occurred between general education teachers and special education teachers in a southern rural high school in southeastern Alabama. Second, the purpose of this study was to develop an action plan based on data collected and the research literature for professional development focused on extending teachers’ collaborative skills.

The researcher used a single holistic case study designed employing Glaser’s choice theory as the theoretical framework. The central research question that the study was designed to answer was “How and to what extent does collaboration occurs between general education teachers and special education teachers in a southern rural high school?” Data were collected through classroom observations, a questionnaire, and a focus group. The researcher also kept a reflection journal. The results indicated that collaboration occurred in varied ways and it usually occurred informally based on student needs. Informal training to collaborate, and the one-lead and one-support model were the most commonly used collaborative methods. Additionally, results demonstrated teachers often were cooperating rather than fully collaborating.