Date of Award

Spring 5-1990

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Philosophy & Religion

First Advisor

Steve Harlow

Second Advisor

Myrna Olson

Third Advisor

Kathy Gershman


This study asked the question: What are the effects of an inservice on classroom modifications for secondary learning disabled students on the teaching practice of four highly able teachers? A secondary question asked was: To what extent are teachers‘ behavior and attitudes affected by follow-up consultation? The participants were four secondary regular classroom teachers representing four curricula areas (English, social studies, health, and biology). All four had been recognized as having the ability to work well with learning disabled students. The procedure used for the study was a form of naturalistic inquiry, specifically participant observation. All four teachers participated in the inservice training provided by the researcher. In order to compare the differences between inservice with and without follow-up, two of the four teachers participated in follow—up consultation. Data were collected from: (a) field notes of classroom observations made in the classes of the four teachers before and after the inservice, (b) informal conversations with the four teachers and the learning disabilities teacher, and (c) formal interviews with the four teachers, the learning disabilities teacher, and the building principal. Only one of the four participants-made significant changes in behavior and attitudes. The hypothesis that evolved was that there were existing constraints (e.g., lack of time to implement change, lack of communication between regular and special educators, and large numbers of learning disabled students in certain classes) that interfered with the participants making significant classroom modifications. It was found that two conditions necessary for changing teacher practice (i.e., administrative support and involvement, and effective collaboration between the learning disabilities department and classroom teachers) were not in place. The "gap" between the special and regular educators was due to a lack of communication among them, as well as a lack of understanding of each other's roles. Teacher education in both regular and special education will have to address the issue of collaboration in making classroom modifications if learning disabled students are to be successfully mainstreamed. Other factors that may exist as barriers to change must also be identified and addressed.