Exclusionary practices based on a deficit perspective of disability are not supported by law and are inconsistent with the rigorous standards for teaching, learning, and accountability in our public schools. Moreover, consequences of failed change will continue to have significant negative effects on the performance of educational organizations. The purpose of this mixed-methods phenomenological research (MMPR) study was to explore the lived experience of teachers who identify as champions of inclusion, including their views, perceptions and appraisal of the status of inclusion in a large urban school system. The research questions were designed to generate insight and recommendations for establishing norms, values, practices and policies that might mitigate teacher resistance to inclusion, support and reinforce inclusive culture, and position the organization (school district) itself as a facilitator of implementation and agent of change in cultivating positive attitudes and beliefs about inclusion as a social justice imperative in the public schools. The lived experiences of teachers who have this distinct perspective and insight into the phenomenon of inclusion were explored through focus group sessions and individual interviews. The results of the study suggest that (1) organizations can build and strengthen a culture of inclusion by identifying individuals who demonstrate a commitment and competency for supporting inclusion, by supporting them as they promote change through coaching, educating, networking and mentoring efforts and embed and reinforce inclusive values throughout the system; and (2) educational organizations must be responsive to norms, values, practices and policies that both support and work against inclusive organizational culture. The findings suggest that this type of research may be of value to organizations in identifying contextual factors which either facilitate or inhibit inclusive education and therefore either advance or diminish educational outcomes for students with disabilities.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Education and Human Performance
Teaching, Learning and Leadership
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Sellers, June, "Inclusion: A Question of Practice, Stance, Values and Culture" (2016). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4945.