Harding, Jenni

Committee Member

Ku, Heng-Yu

Committee Member

Youngs, Suzette

Committee Member

Jameson, Molly


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; School of Teacher Education, Educational Studies


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



134 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


Teachers spend hours each year attending professional development designed to further their professional growth and ultimately provide richer learning opportunities for their students. But how effective is that professional development? This dissertation explored teachers’ motivation for continuing their professional growth while determining what type of professional development teachers found inspiring. It also probed how often professional development learning was carried over into the classroom. The research was completed at a small high school in northern Colorado. Of the 53 non-probationary teachers surveyed to begin the research, three teachers were chosen for interviews. Two focus groups were conducted that consisted of three teachers, also chosen from the survey, in each group. Teachers representing various years of experience provided a broad scope of information by which to identify generalities applicable to secondary teachers. The study indicated the majority of teachers at this high school were intrinsically motivated to continue their professional growth; while monetary gain was important, it was not the main motivating factor for teachers. Professional development comprised of content or personal learning connections and chosen by the teacher was determined to be effective. Teachers preferred to have choice in professional development rather than only attending traditional professional development of the one-size-fits-all chosen by the school district or building. It was further determined teachers occasionally utilized professional development learnings in the classroom that were counterproductive to the reason for professional development. The personnel in school districts or at the building level designing professional development opportunities for their staff would benefit from providing teachers choice in their professional learning and providing support for teachers’ new learning, thereby enhancing classroom instruction for students.

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