A Mixed-Methods Approach: The Story of Magical Teachers


In August 1992, I began teaching elementary school in Pickering, Louisiana, to a class full of energetic fifth graders. I floundered my first few weeks, but quickly developed some effective skills. Over the next few years, I continued to hone my skills and began to notice there were differences in teachers in the various schools in which I worked. There were good, solid teachers, and then there were what I thought of as magical teachers. When I began working on my dissertation, the idea of teacher expertise intrigued me. Research has clearly defined the elements found in highly effective teachers, but the desire to understand the underlying motivation of these teachers led to this research. What made these people constantly seek improvement in their craft and to be relentless in their pursuit of helping students reach their potential? This case study is an account of my journey into the minds and hearts of some of the most effective and dedicated teachers in our nation. It shares highlights of a mixed-methods research study examining expert teachers in relation to expert teacher motivation through internal factors, state of flow, and school culture.

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