Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

1-31-2017

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

College

College of Education

Department

Education

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

First Supervisor

Julie McCann, Ph.D.

Second Supervisor

Robert Voelkel, Ed.D.

Third Supervisor

Jill Williams, Ed.D.,

Keywords

EL Education, growth mindset, grit, school administrators

Abstract

Teacher attrition and movement are difficulties facing school systems today. A variety of concerns contribute to teacher attrition and movement including dissatisfaction, school staffing actions, classroom factors, lack of administrative support, lack of resources, and student performance factors. As a result, educators are prone to burnout due to the stresses of teaching, which in turn leads to attrition and movement. School principals can stem the tide of teacher dissatisfaction and attrition by providing technical and adaptive scaffolds for teachers. Leaders can begin to provide these supports by examining their own beliefs and actions around mindset, grittiness, and resistance to change. The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to understand how EL Education principals used growth mindset and grittiness to help teachers to overcome dissatisfaction and the stressors of school. The study focused on the experiences of administrators in EL Education schools and how their beliefs around grittiness and mindset helped to foster a stronger growth mindset and grittiness in teachers so that teachers would willingly change practice. Participants in the study reported that teachers in EL Education schools felt stress in three areas: reporting student achievement, lack of student grit, and revising / implementing learning expeditions. In response to these stressors, the EL Education principals shared that they focused efforts to nurture a culture of revision, a common definition of grittiness, and stronger instructional practices across the school. The participants also shared that they used storytelling and structures for honoring teachers’ struggles to alleviate teacher dissatisfaction.

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