All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Boyd Rogan

Advisory Committee Members

Margaret Rice

Maryanne Manning

Jerry Aldridge

George Theodore

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


This qualitative case study was conducted to explore educators’ perceptions of the implementation of Engaging Instruction in a suburban school district in the Southeastern United States. It addresses gaps in the literature regarding Engaging Instruction and discusses current research. It highlights implementation, use of design qualities, innovative teaching, student empowerment, change, and the challenges of Engaging Instruction. The theoretical framework that guided this study included the research and the writing of Phillip Schlechty, Shaking up the Schoolhouse (2001) and Inventing Better Schools (1997). His theory of Engaging Instruction addresses student engagement with a student-oriented philosophy of teaching. This philosophy encourages teachers to engage, empower, and motivate students to take ownership of their work and do meaningful and effective work. Primary research participants included 15 teachers from diverse curriculum areas and varied age groups, as well as 4 administrators from different sites. Methods of data collection included open-ended audio-taped interviews, classroom observations, reflective e-mail journaling, and artifact collection. Through analysis of the interviews, similar themes arose from all of the participants. Sub themes emerged from these main themes and varied with each theme. However, the main themes were predominant in the research. They are Implementation of Engaging Instruction, Engaging Instruction and ii the Promotion of Design Qualities, Engaging Instruction and the Promotion of Innovative Teaching, Engaging Instruction and the Promotion of Student Empowerment, and Engaging Instruction and the Promotion of Change. This study speaks to the need for Engaging Instruction, from kindergarten to the 12th grade, and reveals the need to provide engaging, meaningful, and effective work for students. It asks whether traditional teaching is sufficient for today’s society, where rapid advances in technology and seismic shifts in family dynamics have changed the nature of the students being taught. The study shows that Engaging Instruction definitively impacts classroom experience, student achievement, and teacher effectiveness. It expands the knowledge base regarding those elements that contribute to excellent teaching and the implementation of such teaching in the classroom. It yields clear indications that Engaging Instruction improves classroom environment, classroom emotional climate, and student involvement and achievement.

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