Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Three Voices, One Goal: A Narrative Study of High School Facilitators' Experience in a Community of Practice

Ebony Briggs

Data is provided by the student.


Special education and general education teachers must work collaboratively in a single classroom that serves the diverse needs of all children due to federal regulations such as the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004. Evidence-based practices that foster collaboration are scarce. The purpose of this narrative inquiry research was to explore the perceptions of a team of educators which consists of a general education teacher, special education teacher, and an administrator on how their experience of participating in a community of practice is beneficial to addressing collaboration needs of team teachers. Within this purpose, the intent was to explore the value of learning that is attached to social learning. The addition of an administrator as a study participant supports the notion that administrator support is a key factor in establishing a collaborative culture. The research questions that guided this study were: 1. How does a collaborative teaching teams experience of participating in a community of practice provide insight into their perspectives of collaboration?2. How does participating in a community of practice help or hinder the experience of the collaborative teaching team in the inclusion environment?3. To what extent does a collaborative teaching team feel a sense of success in the inclusive environment as a result of participating in a community of practice?Through in-depth semi-structured interviews, observations, and document analysis, participants were able to provide insight about their experiences and explain how the collaborative practice was successful in creating a more inclusive environment for students with disabilities in the general education environment. The common themes to emerge from the data collection were that participating in a community of practice helped create a positive outlook on collaborative practice, helped create shared responsibility, helped increase administrative support of co-teaching teams, helped overcome the challenges of common planning for co-teachers, and helped strengthen co-teaching relationships. This study is significant to the field of special education and inclusive practices because the findings can be used to inform best collaborative practices and professional development for co-teachers.