Inclusion: Classroom teachers' perspectives and experiences in a Bourdieusian framework Public Deposited

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  • March 20, 2019
  • McOuat, Robert C.
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • This dissertation research adds to the literature base by exploring the attitudes of regular education teachers about the inclusion of students with disabilities in the generaleducation classroom. Consistent with the framework of Pierre Bourdieu, the school was conceptualized as a field of struggle. The investigation focused on fifth grade general classroom teachers as the unit of study. A mixed-methods design was used to examine both qualitative and quantitative data. The researcher conducted one semi-structured interview with each of the 24 participants using an interview protocol. The semi-structured interview format identifies differences in the beliefs that teachers hold about the nature of disability as lying along a continuum from social model beliefs to medical model beliefs. Qualitative analysis using the Bourdieusian framework provided a more rich narrative of the struggles by and among teachers on a daily basis. Bourdieu’s concepts provided a theoretical and empirical framework for the critique of classroom practices and prevailing standards practices including curriculum, pedagogy and instruments of assessment. Overall, fifth grade teachers in this study held a variety of perspectives about inclusion, including positive, hesitant or ambivalent, and resistant. In this research, habitus was viewed as teachers’ deeply rooted dispositions that operate only through and by interaction with events and actions. Habitus manifested itself in choices (the roots of which are not wholly conscious) and the identification of opportunities and strategies within the field. Specifically, for the teachers in this study, when resources were scarce, there was a tendency to view the neediest students as the problem and there was incentive to sort them away from the mainstream. Findings of this research revealed that inclusive teaching meant breaking down the barrier between teacher habitus and student habitus. To promote emancipatory practices, inclusive democratic educators must become more aware of the many political and social practices that sustain social division and devaluation. The challenge of school personnel is to provide an educational environment that empowers all students to be successful. This involves a cultural transformation that critically investigates standard procedures in school concerning curricular access and instructional practices, and classroom milieu.
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  • In Copyright
  • "... in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctorate of Education in the Department of Educational Leadership."
  • Brown, Kathleen
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  • Chapel Hill, NC
  • Open access

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