An Investigation of the Perceptions of Teachers, Parents and Students with Disabilities when Learning Remotely at a School District in East Tennessee
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to investigate the perceptions of teachers, parents, and students with disabilities when learning remotely during the 2020-2021 school year. The sample consisted of nine teachers from varied grade levels, five parents, and five students in grades five and six. The students were identified as having a learning disability and had an Individualized Education Plan. The teachers provided instruction remotely during the school year and the students participated in remote instruction for at least half of the 2020-2021 school year. The participant interviews were semi-structured with open-ended questions. The teachers and parents participated via email. The students participated through the online Zoom platform. The interview questions were designed to elicit information on what lacked in the participants remote learning environment. The questions focused on safety, identity and procedural safeguards, whether participants provided or received quality education, and barriers to learning. Data were analyzed using inductive analysis process. The results yielded six themes including online safety, identity confidentiality of students with disabilities, similar implementation of accommodations for both in-person and online learning, convenience and support of online learning, disconnect for online learners, and negative effects of online learning. The results suggest that while there were some identified barriers to the remote learning environment, overall, it was a positive experience for the participants.