School of Education


Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Jose A. Puga


Early Childhood, Male Teachers, Intrinsic Motivation




The purpose of this qualitative hermeneutic phenomenology study was to describe the lived experiences of male early childhood teachers in the northeast region of the United States (US). The theory guiding this study was Victor Vroom’s expectancy theory of motivation. Vroom’s theory explains the behavioral process of why individuals choose one behavior over another or one career over another. The central research question in this study addressed the male early childhood teachers’ experiences working in the early childhood education (ECE) career field and motivation to remain in the ECE career field. This study highlighted ECE challenges and goals from the male perspective. Participants were male, current or previous ECE teachers, and at least 18 years old. Data collection included interviewing 10 to 15 male early childhood education teachers, collecting protocol writings and photo narratives. Participants had the option to meet in-person for interview or via Microsoft Teams meetings. The setting included Delaware and surrounding school districts outside of Delaware. The setting expanded to include Delaware Play Start programs, Delaware Early Learning Schools, and ECE advocates that promote male involvement in early childhood education. This study included writing in a reflective journal and member check sessions promoting trustworthiness. Selective data generated themes, and thoughtful journal notes supported identifying the essence of being a male early childhood teacher. The results may promote male educator retention and recruitment within the early childhood education career field. Two theme resulted from selective coding: retention motivation and expectancy motivation.

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