Special Education M.A.

Number of Pages


Year Approved


First Advisor

Lindstrom, Michael

Second Reader

Bernard Brady


“Phenomenological research has, as its ultimate aim, the fulfillment of our human nature: to become more fully who we are (van Manen, 1997, p. 12).” Rooted in van Manen’s purpose, this study was a post-intentional phenomenological exploration (Vagle, 2018) of how responses to problematic student behavior came to be for Catholic school elementary educators. This study explored the lived experiences and the meaningful connectednesses present when Catholic elementary school educators made decisions about and made sense of their responses to problematic student behavior, and found that teachers’ experiences with and responses to problematic behavior in the classroom is a profoundly complicated experience that is not held solely individually and is ever-changing and ever-shifting. Building on themes that emerged from these experiences and the extent to which Catholic social doctrine themes and restorative justice principles do or do not inform teachers’ responses to problematic behavior, this study considered how these entangled ideas might give way to lines of flight that invite Catholic educators to consider as they seek to run their classroom in a way that wholly embodies the Catholic tradition. The lines of flight entangled in these research findings suggest ways to lead Catholic education toward a living embodiment of what it means to honor the dignity of the other through true participation and solidarity in pursuit of the common good.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis