School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Deanna Keith


Motivation, Experiences, Teachers, Students, Christian High Schools


Education | Secondary Education


The purpose of this qualitative transcendental phenomenological study sought to describe experiences of Christian high school teachers motivating students in the Pacific Northwest to be autonomous learners, competent in skills and achievements, and relationally balanced within a Christian environment. The literature indicates two phenomena exist. First, student motivation decreases as they progress; and second, a gap exists in the literature related to Christian schoolteachers’ experiences motivating students. The research question is “How do Christian high school teachers describe their experiences motivating students to be autonomous, competent, and relational?” Purposeful sampling produced nine participants from Christian high schools in the Pacific Northwest. Ryan’s and Deci’s (2000) self-determination theory guided the theoretical framework with three subdomains: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Spirituality will be tied to relatedness within the self-determination theory (SDT) and is vital for motivating Christian high school students. The literature discussed the importance of motivation in the educational process, possible outcomes associated with motivation, and directly tied motivation to student achievement. The gap in the literature does not address the spiritual component. Three methods will be used to gather data: Face-to-face or Skype interviews, one questionnaire, and a teacher writing prompt. Data were analyzed following Moustakas’ (1994) four stages: epoche, phenomenological reduction, imaginative variation, and synthesis. The findings indicated that participants generally viewed motivation from as a dichotomy from an intellectual perspective rather than spiritual. The study concluded with a discussion of limitations and implications, and suggestions for future research.