Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Linda Gaughan

Committee Member

Daniel Turner III


collaborative lesson planning, high impact instructional strategies, high yield instructional strategies, professional learning community, significant cognitive disabilities, teacher self-efficacy


During the generic qualitative research, a system for facilitating collaborative lesson planning for teachers of students with significant cognitive disabilities was developed and studied. The collaborative model allowed teachers to meet both school and district expectations for lesson plans. The purpose of the study, however, was to focus on the teachers’ experience of participating in the collaborative lesson planning system.

Questions were asked of teachers at three points during the study: (a) during business as usual individual planning, (b) after 3 weeks of collaborative lesson planning training and practice, and (c) at the end of 6 weeks of PLC lesson planning participation. The focus of interview questions was on teachers’ experiences in the process of planning, teacher self efficacy, incorporating high impact instructional strategies, and meeting district and school expectations for preparing lessons.

Participants shared that participating in collaborative lesson planning and PLC meetings better equipped them to meet requirements for lesson planning, improves the overall quality of lesson plans, and positively impacts student achievement. Additionally, teachers recommended more protected planning time in which to develop better quality lesson plans. Planning lessons for students with significant cognitive disabilities takes more time since teachers have to create instructional materials and resources to meet the unique needs of the student population.

Future research should include conducting a similar study with a larger and more diverse sample. Another recommendation is to look at the viability of planning by department for students with significant cognitive disabilities. Finally, examining the impact of training teachers of students with significant cognitive disabilities to implement Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles in their lesson plans would be beneficial.