INCLUSION AS A REFORM: HOW SECONDARY GENERAL EDUCATORS MAKE SENSE OF AND ENACT THEIR ROLES AS TEACHERS OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES
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Federal legislation and individual state requirements have prompted exponential growth in the inclusion of students with special needs in the general education classroom, for which general education teachers report not feeling prepared. In addition to an accompanying increase in both preservice and in-service offerings, various organizations have established standards detailing the expectations for what general education teachers should know and be able to do; however, there is minimal research that examines these standards in terms of the teachers who are expected to meet them or to determine why certain inclusive practices are more often and easily enacted than others. My goal in this study was to examine the ways that teachers make sense of their roles and responsibilities related to students with disabilities and learn more about how and why certain inclusive practices are enacted more than others. Because teachers say they "weren't prepared" for this student population, an equally important goal was to connect that information to recommendations for teacher preparation. I designed the current study using sensemaking theory (Weick, 1995) and Spillane's (1999) model of enactment zones as a framework to address the research questions. The findings of this study suggest that teachers identified the same inclusive practices as had been detailed in the literature: instructional and professional practices, legal requirements, and dispositions. Through a combination of direct questioning and culling through teachers' responses with a sensemaking lens, I identified two facilitating factors and seven barriers that affect teachers' enactment of these roles and responsibilities. The various data (focus group, interview, and observations) yielded specific information about whether and how inclusive practices are being enacted in secondary inclusive settings, and a secondary analysis focusing primarily on how teachers made sense of these practices provided additional insight into their enactments. Additionally, the teachers in this study provided three specific ways that teacher preparation (preservice and in-service) can be adapted in such a way that a total redesign is not required: SHOW ME examples of inclusive practices, GIVE ME the tools to do them more effectively, and LET ME practice them.