This phenomenological study examined the lived experiences of special education teachers who worked with students with emotional behavioral disabilities (EBD) across various urban settings and educative environments. Given that the overall percentage of students receiving special education services has increased, the overall percentage of students with EBD served among all school-aged children and youth has remained below 1% (U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, 2018). The current failings of reform efforts to improve the academic achievement of students with EBD brings the roles, responsibilities and practices of teachers and their preparation into view. This study examined the impact of culture on the attitudes, beliefs, and practices of special education teachers. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight participants (N = 8). A thematic analysis resulted in three overarching themes. The three themes included: (a) the essentials: keys to student engagement, (b) the frustrations regarding effective program implementation, and (c) elements of an effective program. This study exposed multiple factors affecting the effectiveness of special educators' practices as well as offered recommendations for teachers, schools, districts, policies, and future research.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Learning Sciences and Educational Research
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Mayes, Zerek, "Defining Effective Teacher Practices among Students with Emotional Behavioral Disabilities" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2004-2019. 6534.