Positive Learning Environment and the Inclusion Model

Purpose – This web blog aims to provide information from a research study designed to evaluate classroom learning environments in an urban school district.  More specifically, this study follows academic progress of a group of nine students with a variety of learning disabilities as they navigate throughout the day in general education classrooms for entire school year. What is being evaluated is their ability to learn with the general education students in a highly active behaviorally assertive classroom environment.  The theoretical position taken is that learning in safe and positive learning environments support academic performance and the students’ academic scoring will reflect on that.  There are some assumptions being made in this study one being that the data gathered from the respondents is not political motivated.

Design/methodology/approach – The design of this research project is based on the PAR project research model which attempts to:

PAR (Participatory Action Research Project)

  1. Identify individuals for the collective project. Identify a target group for the study and collect data to support actions taken during the study.
  2. Help them make changes and studying discourse, practice, and social organization. Decide on the problem(s) that exist and what type of corrective actions to take to effect change.
  3. Change the culture of working groups, institutions, and society. Ensure “reciprocity and symmetry of relations in the” PAR group (participants that represent the community being researched, and researchers) “and at maintaining community control of the project and its staff” (McTaggart).
  4. Take Action and Reflect on results. Implement actions for change and reflect on the results.
  5. Unifying the Intellectual and Practical Project- People act deliberately, though remaining open to surprises and responsive to opportunities.
  6. Knowledge Production– from the workers, shared by group participants, and from academics.
  7. Engaging the Politics of Research Action– PAR “involves people in making critical analyses of the situations (projects, programs, systems) in which they work” (McTaggart).
  8. Methodological Resources– Information is collected in the usual naturalistic research ways” seeking “understanding of people’s subjective experience of their institutional situation and at the same time try to give working accounts of the contexts in which meanings are constituted” (McTaggart).
  9. Creating the Theory of the Work– PAR “allows and requires participants to give a reasoned justification of their social and educational work to others” (McTaggart) through self-reflection “because they can show how the evidence they have gathered and the critical reflection they have done have helped them to create a developed, tested, and critically-examined rationale for what they are doing” (McTaggart).

Findings – the final results of this project are documented on this web blog to be shared with stakeholders in the field of education.

Originality/value – Most of the information in this study comes from field observations, interviews, surveys, and other scholarly writings.  This web blog is intended to be a direct and concise guide summarizing the findings in one urban middle school (Huntington K-12 Middle School in Syracuse, N.Y.).



McTaggart, R. (1991).  Principles for participatory action research.  Adult Education Quarterly, 41(3), 168-187. https://getit.library.nyu.edu/go/9430492