School of Education
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Craig B. Bailey
Active Shooter, Mental Imagery, Mental Imagery Scripts, Stress Inoculation Training
Education | Educational Administration and Supervision | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Leadership | Educational Methods | Educational Psychology
Wheeler, Aaron, "The Mind as a Weapon: A Phenomenological Exploration of how Elementary Teachers Use Mental Imagery to Prepare for Active Shooter Events" (2018). Doctoral Dissertations and Projects. 1640.
The purpose of this transcendental, phenomenological study was to understand how teachers use aspects of mental imagery as a preparatory stress inoculation tool for potentially confronting active shooters at Truman Elementary School (pseudonym). The theory guiding this study was self-efficacy theory as theorized by Albert Bandura; self-efficacy theory rationalizes the way one views oneself will be the source of motivation in subsequent performance. In the context of this study, if teachers saw themselves as successful, then they were successful. Mental imagery was generally defined as visualization techniques that prepared teachers to mentally condition themselves to deal with active shooter events. The study took place at Truman Elementary School, and the participants consisted of 10 certified teachers. Prior to conducting interviews, site documents pertaining to current training for active shooter events were reviewed. Primary data were collected by interviewing 10 teachers, followed by a focus group session with the same participants. The collected data were analyzed using Moustakas’ seven steps of phenomenological research, which included identifying key statements from the participants, clustering responses into themes, and the construction of textural and structural descriptions for each participant. Results from the study included the desire of participants to preserve life, participants desire for additional training, the need for participants to always be prepared, collaboration with other participants, and the outside influences of each participant, which aided in mental image formation. The study determined teachers used mental imagery as a stress inoculation tool for potentially confronting active shooters.
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