Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Virginia Foley

Committee Members

John Boyd, Pamela Evanshen, Bill Flora


A qualitative investigation was conducted to explore the characteristics of high quality teachers. This study used a phenomenological methodology, enabling the researcher to gather information from a purposeful selection of people directly identified as high quality teachers by their principals. This study employed processes of data collection commonly used in observational analysis and included the use of interviews found in qualitative design.

The researcher was able to extract meaning using the coding process and the constant comparative method. Information was sorted into themes that supported and aligned with the research questions leading to a deeper understanding of the phenomenon. This was accomplished through thorough analysis of interviews and observations. Teacher participants were asked to participate in an interview prior to the classroom observation, be observed in the classroom, and participate in a post observation interview. Additionally, individual interviews were conducted with the principals of the teacher participants. The quality of data sources led to the triangulation of results giving credibility to the study.

The study findings were conclusive regarding the key characteristics of high quality teaching. There was a clear relationship between high quality teaching and the use of a variety of instructional strategies, the ability to engage students in learning, the use of higher order questioning as a prevalent teaching strategy, the establishment of clear classroom expectations and the maintenance of those expectations, clear and deliberate communication to facilitate home and school partnerships, and a high level of passion for content and the profession of teaching. Other emerging themes may be utilized to connect high quality teaching to additional characteristics. These characteristics offer suggestions for further research to determine how strong the correlation is between high quality teaching and these themes. The themes included having a caring disposition, high expectations, being self-reflective, having content knowledge, being a team player, and having a strong work ethic.

The research findings were evidenced and supported by a thorough literature review, the results of principal and teacher participant interviews, the results of classroom observations of teacher participants, and document analysis. The researcher also specified recommendations for future practice and suggestions for future research. The results from this study contribute to the body of knowledge on the exploration of the characteristics of high quality teachers.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.