Date of Award

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

Abstract

This research investigated the perceptions and attitudes of principals and headmasters about the inclusion of students with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD), the factors supporting or inhibiting school leaders in their effort to implement inclusive practices, and the approaches they use to initiate, facilitate, support and sustain the inclusion of students with EBD. Grounded in a mixed-method research, this investigator surveyed 71 school leaders and interviewed five of them. Descriptive and correlational findings supported by qualitative results reveal that principals and headmasters exhibit positive attitudes toward the inclusion of students with EBD. Overwhelmingly, attitudinal predictive variables such as school characteristics (size, academic level, percentage of students with EBD, and adequately yearly progress status) and demographic variables of school leaders (gender, and experience) were insignificant in determining principals’ and headmasters’ attitudes. In spite of a noted positive attitude, school leaders in this study remained uncertain or unwilling to implement inclusive settings for students with EBD. Firstly, this suggests a leadership schism between central administration and school leaders. A top-down mandate is found to be ineffective in initiating and sustaining inclusionary practices. Secondly, some school leaders lack the knowledge and skills necessary to undertake such endeavor. The study also revels that to make inclusion work for students with EBD, school leaders must engage in a real shift in paradigm by investing in the reculturing process rather than focus on restructuring issues. They must lead rather than merely manage their school. Finally, school leaders must exude moral courage by impacting change with their actions rather than anticipating directives from central office.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Language

English

Number of Pages

266