School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Karla N. Swafford


Literacy Instruction, Pedagogical Content Knowledge, Self-efficacy Theory, Social Studies, Science, High School


Education | Language and Literacy Education


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to explore high school teachers’ self-efficacy regarding the incorporation of literacy instruction in high school science and social studies classes in a rural, public school district. In this qualitative research study, self-efficacy was generally defined as the teachers’ belief in how well they succeed at the task of including literacy instruction into their content area lessons. Albert Bandura’s (1997) self-efficacy theory and Shulman's (1986) pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) theory guided this study as it explored the teachers’ beliefs in their teaching abilities. Literacy instruction was defined as explicit instruction in word study, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension, and motivation techniques. The study used a self-efficacy questionnaire to explore the teachers’ beliefs about their ability to include literacy strategies in their content area subjects. The study also included in-depth personal interviews with teachers and a review of participants’ lesson reflection journals. Because the study was based on a phenomenological design, the information was analyzed for significant statements that are then turned into themes. From the themes, an essence of the phenomenon was described.