Publication Date

Fall 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)




Allison Briceno


classroom community, Comparative Case Study, Engagement, full inclusion, invitational theory, Social Emotional Learning

Subject Areas

Elementary education; Education; Educational sociology


This research documented how elementary school teachers build, structure, and maintain classroom community in a full-inclusion district. Specifically, this study applied Invitational Theory to investigate the relationship between a full-inclusion school model and the construction of classroom community. The study focused on the teachers’ behaviors to structure and maintain an environment of inclusion, care, and belonging. This qualitative comparative case study documented teachers’ behaviors over a series of 10 weeks at the start of the school year. Documentation evidence of classroom community- building were collected in two formats: classroom observations and teacher interviews. By the end of the observational period, 11 classroom codes, and 11 context-dependent sub-codes summarized teachers’ actions. The codes were deduced into five groups based on context and behavior. These contexts and behaviors allowed for the synthesizing of trends and patterns to generate central themes, which are also the significant findings of the study. The significant findings of the study indicated that the teacher’s intention impacts the classroom environment, teacher encouragement affects student participation, and each teacher’s design of the classroom environment facilitated conditions of learning. The study shared how teachers in a full-inclusion district built and maintained their classroom community. From the findings, the teachers noted the importance to purposefully personalize the learning experience for their students. The research also noted implications for school leaders to promote and enhance community-building experiences for students. Future research to align the relationship between a classroom community and student engagement can further highlight the importance in classroom community construction.