Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Silver Bullet or Trojan Horse? A Phenomenological Exploration of Universal Design for Learning and Teachers’ Sense of Self-Efficacy in an Inclusive Classroom
by Brown, Kelsey E. E., Ed.D., University of La Verne, 2020, 162; 28022325
Abstract (Summary)

Purpose. This phenomenological study explored TK-5 educators’ perceptions and lived experiences with universal design for learning (UDL) as it related to their sense of self-efficacy within an inclusive classroom of diverse learners.

Theoretical Frameworks. Two theoretical frameworks underpin this phenomenological study: Bandura’s self-efficacy theory (1997) and UDL theory (2014). From a psycho-social-emotional lens, Albert Bandura’s self-efficacy theory suggests that people’s beliefs about their capabilities have an effect on motivation, affect, and action (Bandura, 1989). Using a scientific lens, the UDL framework developed by the Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) draws on a broad base of research that rests in three focus areas: (a) how the brain learns, (b) specific and best instructional and learning practices, and (c) specific applications of UDL (Hall, Meyer, & Rose, 2012).

Methodology. The methodology followed the tradition of phenomenological research. It sought to discover the essence of teachers’ lived experiences with UDL as it related to their sense of self-efficacy within an inclusive classroom. Purposeful convenience sampling was used to obtain 8 research participants from a suburban, TK-5th, high-achieving public elementary school. Data from these participants were gathered using semistructured interviews.

Findings. Results from this study indicate that UDL supported teachers’ sense of self-efficacy (TSSE). Although administrative initiatives may produce site-wide shifts in instructional pedagogy (i.e., UDL), it is imperative that educators have opportunities to collaborate, be intentional architects of learning while providing universal access and options, engage in self-reflective practices, and work to identify and remove barriers. Through these opportunities there is great potential for teachers to develop their sense of self-efficacy.

Conclusions and Recommendations. Six themes emerged from this study indicating that UDL supported TSSE. Leadership, collaboration, intentional lesson design, and self-reflection were key factors that benefitted teachers’ UDL experiences and TSSE beliefs. Conversely, feeling ill-prepared to manage and instruct diverse learners was a significant deterrent to TSSE. Teacher education programs need to better prepare teachers with specific courses on UDL and self-efficacy. Seven recommendations were made for future research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Gratz, Erin
Commitee: Looney, Lisa, Mahoney, Katherine
School: University of La Verne
Department: LaFetra College of Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational psychology, Instructional Design
Keywords: Inclusive classroom, Perceptions and lived experiences, Phenomenological study, Teachers' sense of self Efficacy, Universal design for learning
Publication Number: 28022325
ISBN: 9798662463417
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