School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


David C Nelson


Collaborative Learning Models, Experiences, Freshmen, Interviews, Perceptions


Curriculum and Instruction | Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to gain a better understanding of collaborative learning through the perceptions of freshmen Language Arts students, teachers, and one administrator. Nine freshmen Language Arts students, four freshman Language Arts teachers, and one administrator participated in the study at Falcons Rise Up (pseudonym) (FRU). FRU is located approximately 45 minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia. Theories from both Vygotsky (1978) and Bandura (1986) framed the study. Data methods included student, teacher, and administrator semi-structured interviews. Interview questions focused on participants’ perceptions of and experiences with collaborative learning models. Moustakas’s (1994) phenomenological reduction method of data analysis was utilized to arrive at the essence of participants’ experiences. Participants’ experiences were transcribed, organized, memoed, and coded in the analysis process. Data were analyzed for themes oriented toward the essence of participants’ experiences with collaboration. The following themes were identified and contributed to the understanding of the research study: (a) benefits, (b) challenges, (c) expectations, and (d) role of administrators in providing personalized professional development for teachers. Data results revealed that schools need to utilize effective collaborative learning models to improve teacher effect on student performance and to support the development and implementation of personalized professional learning sessions that promote teachers’ effectiveness in the classroom. The study was limited to a small school where only one grade level and subject were explored. Future research should be conducted in larger schools with more diverse demographic populations, amongst different content areas and grade levels.