Date of Award

January 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Donna Pearson


Through educational reform and federal mandates, general and special education teachers’ responsibilities are designed to intersect. Focusing on secondary social studies teachers, the purpose of this qualitative study was to understand the teachers’ perceptions of special education and how this influences the implementation of special education services in the classroom. From data collected through interviews and analyzed through Moustakas’ phenomenological design, two textural themes emerged (expertise and communication) in addition to three structural themes (placement, Individual Education Plan (IEP)-Reader’s Digest Version, and time). Findings indicate that social studies teachers appreciated the role of special education, but their perception was focused on their content specialization. The secondary social studies teachers valued collaboration, but it was the responsibility of the special education teacher to teach their student. Recommendations include the need for additional special education coursework in pre service teacher education and the dedication of scheduled communication amongst secondary educators to enhance collaboration between departments.