Expert Secondary Inclusive Classroom Management
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The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the management practices of expert secondary general education teachers in inclusive classrooms. Specifically, expert teachers of classrooms who included students with severe cognitive disabilities, including autism, intellectual disability, and traumatic brain injury were of interest in this study. Further, this study was designed to determine how the teachers learned to expertly manage their inclusive classrooms. Eight teachers met criteria for inclusion in this study as expert teachers, through confirmed nomination, experience requirements, holding required teaching certifications, and through evidencing positive impacts on their included students with disabilities. Interviews were conducted with these eight teachers, in addition to telephone interviews with their special education teaching peers. Through a constant-comparative method of data analysis, it was found that teachers learned to manage their inclusive classes in a variety of ways. They learned from traditional opportunities, self-directed learning, and through learning from others. Each of these teachers engaged in continual learning strategies that began during pre-service preparation and continued through professional development while in-service. Additionally, the teachers in this study managed their classrooms in a variety of ways which addressed student learning, the environment, and student behavior. Management of student learning was evidenced through 17 identifiable practices, including ones such as modifying product expectations, including multi-sensory opportunities, and including real-world applicability. Teachers managed their inclusive classroom environments through 11 different practices, such as establishing a structure with rules, working as a whole group/class, and creating a calm learning environment. Management of behavioral expectations was executed by these expert teachers through 12 distinct management practices, including consistency with consequences, maintaining a respectful attitude ant tone with the class, and being aware of student stressors. Management practices of these expert teachers additionally aligned well with the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL).