Graduation Date

5-2019

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Education

Program Director

Elizabeth Truesdell, PhD

First Reader

Jennifer Lucko, PhD

Second Reader

Jaci Urbani, PhD

Abstract

While much research addresses the benefits of collaborative professional development, such as Professional Learning Communities and Lesson Study, special educators are often left out of these opportunities. This research focuses on the problems related to limited and specialized collaboration between general and special educators. In addition, special educators are leaving the field at high rates, and often report feelings of isolation and disconnect. This study builds upon current research, with the purpose of explaining how Lesson Study impacts collaboration between general educators and special educators. An explanatory sequential mixed methods approach was used to provide a multifaceted view of the collaborative Lesson Study. This research includes survey data from general and special educators, video data of pre and post discussions from four Lesson Studies, and interviews from teachers, after completing the Lesson Study. The results demonstrate that problem-solving is cyclical during the Lesson Study process and teachers experience benefits from the cyclical opportunities to reflect, collaborate, and improve teaching practices. Lesson Study between general and special educators, at one school-site, challenges the traditional hierarchy between general and special education programs, showing that teachers can work together to improve the practices of all teachers and therefore the learning of all students.

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