Learning Disability, Special Education, Inclusion, Video, Curriculum & Instruction, Literature Circles, Anchored Instruction, Teacher Education, Middle School, Social Studies


For several years emerging trends in special education services have favored inclusion for students with disabilities. Concurrent to this evolution of philosophy in special education has been the advent of what could be considered inclusive instructional practices--those methods that aid in the successful inclusion of students with disabilities. These inclusive practices include co-teaching, cooperative learning, peer-mediated instruction, positive behavioral support, embedded learning strategies, and content-enhancements (Ehren, Lenz, & Deshler, 2005; King-Sears, 1997). As inclusive placements become an increasingly common standard of practice, particularly for students with learning disabilities, the need to assist general educators in establishing inclusive classrooms becomes a major priority. It is logical then to prioritize the propagation of inclusive practices in general education classrooms--practices that would take into account the natural diversity of student populations likely to be present in American classrooms. Cooperative learning, in the form of Literature Circles, is offered in this study as a highly effective method for laying the groundwork for inclusion. This study, rooted in the theory of anchored instruction, attempted to address the need for incorporating inclusive practices by investigating the potential for students with learning disabilities to implement Literature Circles by viewing video models. This research evaluated the impact of video models on three levels--the extent to which the video models improve the ability for students with learning disabilities to a) learn the foundational information and rationale of a strategy, b) implement the strategy effectively, and c) improve academic outcomes by implementing the strategy. Finally, an attempt was made to further probe student perception of learning a strategy from a video model through focus group interviews. Data was collected using a quasi-experimental design. Forty-nine classrooms were randomly assigned to video-based and traditional treatments. Students attempted to implement Literature Circles in their middle school social studies classes. Following data collection, quantitative statistical analysis was completed using Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) to examine group differences in knowledge of the essential elements of the strategy, implementation of the strategy, and content achievement. Qualitative analysis of student focus group responses was completed by scrutinizing transcripts for general themes (Erickson, 1986). This study made a connection between lines of research on video-based anchored instruction for students with learning disabilities and video-anchors in teacher preparation. The full sample of 196 students, including 43 students with learning disabilities, demonstrated significantly more effective implementation of Literature Circles. Students in the video model focus group indicated that they benefited from the explicit, positive peer models demonstrated in the video. The continued proliferation of visual images in the form of video-based models represents a positive step toward increasing available resources to students and teachers and ultimately improving outcomes for students with learning disabilities.


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Graduation Date





Dieker, Lisa


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education


Child, Family, and Community Sciences

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Length of Campus-only Access


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Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

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