Using Practices Shaped by the Sociocultural Perspective in the Special Education Classroom

Open Access
Gonnella, Gina Marie
Area of Honors:
Special Education
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Joseph M Valente, Thesis Supervisor
  • David Lee, Honors Advisor
  • special education
  • sociocultural theory
  • education
  • alternative practices
This thesis proposes the implementation of educational practices rooted in the sociocultural perspective within the special education classroom. Sociocultural practices stand in direct contrast to the current dominant deficit perspective and offer an alternative way to approach special education and teaching practices. Suggestions on how to implement such practices in the special education classroom include setting up appropriate conditions of learning, optimal opportunities to learn, and teaching within the zone of proximal development. Using qualitative research methods including field notes, narratives, and document analysis, I describe the implementation of sociocultural practices within a summer reading camp practicum experience at the Pennsylvania State University. By triangulating the collected date, I analyze and discuss how inclusive practices borrowed from sociocultural perspectives may be incorporated in the special education classroom.