Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education

First Advisor

Susanna Thornhill, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Scot Headley, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Dane Joseph, Ph.D.


This phenomenological study explored three general educators’ experiences of including students with Emotional Behavior Disorder (EBD) in the general education classroom. Given the challenges of including children with severe behaviors, the study aimed to understand what educational and behavioral practices teachers found useful as they strove to help students be successful. This study took place in a suburban school district with first-through-fourth grade elementary general education teachers who were perceived as being successful with students with EBD. This study used in-depth interviews to explore the teachers’ lived experiences around their efforts to include students with EBD, using descriptions, quotes, and supporting detail to explore four emergent themes: a) practices teachers valued, b) aiming for success, c) administrative support, d) advice to fellow teachers. Recommendations for practice suggest the importance of school districts implementing Social Emotional Learning (SEL) practices in classrooms that include students with EBD. Teachers also spoke of the need for consistent and visible administrative support, increased collaboration between general and special educators, safe and open dialogue with other teachers, and increased training to ensure classroom safety. With increased attention on the challenges that face educators who include students with EBD, this study offers new insights on how to effectively include students with EBD in the general education classroom.