First Advisor

Christine Chaille

Date of Publication

Summer 7-26-2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum & Instruction




Special education teachers -- Training of -- Case studies, Teachers -- Professional relationships -- Case studies, Group work in education -- Case studies



Physical Description

1 online resource (v, 156 pages)


Collaboration between general and special education teachers is essential for students with disabilities to have access to general education curriculum and instruction, and improved outcomes in school. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), and No Child Left Behind Legislation, include mandates that increase demands for collaboration. However, many general and special education teachers report not feeling prepared to step outside traditional roles to collaborate to meet the needs of this population. Collaboration is also a strong element of teaching and special education standards for teacher preparation. Yet, research shows many teacher education programs lack coursework and field experiences that focus on collaboration. The purpose of this study was to explore experiences special education teacher candidates had in collaboration with general education teachers during student teacher field placements. The research questions include: (a) To what extent are special education student teachers expected to collaborate with general education teachers during field placements; and (b) How are perspectives on collaboration with general education teachers different between special education student teachers and their mentor teachers?

The study used qualitative multiple-case study design and content analysis. Data were collected across three different school contexts (elementary, middle school, and high school) in which special education candidates were placed for student teaching. Participants included special education student teachers and their mentor teachers from each setting. Data sources included interviews, a survey of collaborative practices, text analysis of teacher work samples, and field-placement evaluations. Results of the study show many collaborative practices occur across different special education settings to various extents, and special education candidates have opportunities to learn about perspectives on collaboration and collaborative practices with general education teachers from mentor teachers. However, the standards-based student teaching performance measures did not guide or document the learning and experiences of special education student teachers in relation to collaboration with general education teachers. Recommendations are made for adding guidelines and performance measures in teacher education programs that prepare special education teacher candidates for collaborative roles in schools.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).

Persistent Identifier