Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Jori Beck

Second Committee Member

Emily Lin

Third Committee Member

Steven Bickmore

Fourth Committee Member

David Vallett

Fifth Committee Member

Lisa Bendixen

Number of Pages



Teachers, who are deemed the greatest in-school factor of student success, are often invited or mandated to engage in some form of professional development (PD) to continue in improving their practice. However, an empirical understanding of how teachers learn from PD offerings remains elusive and incomplete. Often teachers report not learning from the models where they have little autonomy. While there is small body of research on teacher-driven models, there is a lack of sufficient evidence on whether these models enhance teacher learning and ultimately their practice. Therefore, this study employed grounded theory methods coupled with a descriptive research approach in order to explore the process of a teacher-driven professional development approach and to describe the teachers’ practices during this process. Teachers were found to self-direct their own PD in an iterative cycle where they would set professional learning goals, decide on learning activities, apply their learning to their practice, reflect on the process, and re-engage in the process if needed. Teachers also reported encountering barriers while engaged in this process. The teachers in this study showed higher mean scores in aspects of their practice from the beginning of the study to the end. The study has implications for using self-directed PD as an alternative approach to teacher professional learning. This study also highlights implications for professional development practice, policy, and future research.


in-service professional development; self-directed learning; teacher education


Teacher Education and Professional Development

File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit