Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Jacqueline A. Specht


This thesis investigates how “Interventionist”, “general education” (GEN) teachers, (or “core” teachers, as opposed to special educators) in the elementary stream, in Ontario, have learned inclusive beliefs and practices that have been considered effective for teaching and including children with exceptionalities in their classrooms. 10 GEN elementary teachers, consisting of 3 men and 7 women, from 2 local school boards, were interviewed to determine if they were “Interventionist” (Stanovich & Jordan, 1998). From this sample, 6 GEN teachers; 2 men and 4 women, were found to be “Interventionist”. Classroom observations and follow-up interviews were used to gain insight into the development of their beliefs and teaching practices. Effective teacher perceptions in the form of qualitative data were coded, themed, and analyzed based on the “constant comparative” method (Miles & Huberman, 1994), which gave rise to single case, and cross case analyses. Teachers’ perceptions are organized in results according to a framework based on 3 main questions: (a) what are teachers’ current practices for inclusion?; (b) how did teachers develop inclusive practices?; and (c) how did the Community of Practice (e.g. teachers, principals) influence and support teachers’ inclusive practices? Discussion centers on teachers’ perceptions of the development of their positive beliefs and practices, ongoing professional development, and the importance of the community of practice.