Valayne May

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Barbara Tobolowsky


Laws require special education students to be educated in the least restricted environment, which often means placing special education students with their general education peers in inclusion classroom settings. Inclusion classroom research has focused mainly on the efficacy for special education students, ignoring the effects of inclusion on the general education students, who make up the majority of students in K-12 education. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perceptions of four content and three special education teachers who teach in inclusion classrooms in a successful middle school in Texas regarding the efficacy of inclusion for teaching general education students in inclusion classrooms and how inclusion affects their learning. Social learning theory served as a lens to understand how inclusion helped or hindered student learning, including the role of peers in the acquisition of knowledge in inclusion classrooms and the effectiveness of inclusion for the general education student. The study found that teachers note benefits of inclusion for all students such as learning empathy and having two adults to help in the classroom. However, most of the teachers felt inclusion was not working well for either the general education or the special education students. The teachers cited the lack of teacher training, overcrowded classes, inconsistent support, large special education population, and a wide range of ability levels within one class among the challenges of inclusion. Recommendations and implications for practice, theory, and research are included.


Inclusion, General education student, Special education, Middle school, Mainstreaming, Co-teaching, Education, Inclusion education


Education | Educational Leadership


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington