Date of Award

Spring 4-19-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Ed.D. Transformational Teaching and Learning


Secondary Education

First Advisor

Dr. Mark Wolfmeyer

Second Advisor

Dr. Catherine McGeehan

Third Advisor

Dr. Amy Pfeiler-Wunder


Family-teacher communications have proven beneficial for the academic, social and behavioral success of students at all levels. Research studies have specifically examined this dynamic as it relates to general education teachers and general education families, teachers and families at the primary level, and special education teachers and special education families. However, there is minimal research regarding communication strategies between families of students with disabilities (FSWDs) and general education teachers of inclusive classrooms (GETINs) at the high school level. In order to address this gap in the literature, this action research study investigated the following research questions: 1) To what extent do the perspectives of GETINs and FSWDs at the high school level reflect the social and/or medical models of disability? 2) How do the dynamics of an inclusive classroom impact the communication barriers faced between teachers and families? 3) How can certain avenues and styles of communication foster positive collaboration between GETINs and FSWDs at the high school level? Using Disability Studies as the theoretical framework, this research was conducted using an interpretivist explanatory sequential mixed-methodology approach. Participants consisted of forty FSWDs and thirty-six GETINs. Data was collected using Likert scale surveys, open-ended response questions, and focus group meetings. Both integrative and convergent methods were used to analyze the data. The results of the study confirmed that much of the literature regarding family-teacher communications is applicable and relevant to an area not previously studied, the high school inclusive classroom. This study filled a gap and added to the literature by identifying dynamics that are unique to the inclusive classroom and by providing steps to improve those dynamics. This study also determined specific styles and avenues of communication that GETINs and FSWDs can use to not only collaborate for students, but also with students.



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