Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

Ph.D. Education


Interdisciplinary & Inclusive Education


College of Education


Amy Accardo, Ed.D.

Committee Member 1

Stephanie Abraham, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Brie Morettini, Ph.D.


inclusive mindsets, poetic inquiry, professional development schools, teacher identity


Inclusive education; Teachers--In-service training


Disability and Equity in Education


This poetic inquiry sought to understand the tensions, perspectives and experiences of teachers as they work to create more inclusive mindsets and identities despite working in a system that allows for ability profiling and disability stigma in schools. This work fills a gap in the literature in that not much is known about the journeys teachers take as they come to identify as inclusive educators. The conceptual framework drew from scholarship in the fields of Disability Studies in Education, Studies in Ableism, critical pedagogy, and teacher identity. Conducted in a professional development school, I worked as the university's professor-in-residence to provide professional development for teachers that centered a disability memoir and critical reflection. Qualitative data was gathered through interviews and book club discussions. Lines from these transcripts were then used to construct transcription poems. After creating these initial poems, threshold poems were then created that juxtaposed a transcript poem with a found poem from each of the four key areas of the conceptual framework. These poems brought theory and praxis into dialogue, supplemented by my own analytical thinking inspired by the theorists' and participants' words. Significant findings indicate that: (1) ableism is deeply embedded in schools, policy and practice, with teachers inadvertently working from a place of dysconscious ableism; (2) inclusion must be presented as both an ideological commitment and actionable process; (3) teachers' stories to live by must be reframed so that inclusive mindsets are magnified among the school community; and (4) PDSs partnerships can be a driving vehicle to develop inclusive cultures among schools.