Date Awarded

Summer 2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Leslie W Grant

Committee Member

Megan Tschannen-Moran

Committee Member

Stephanie J Blackmon


Current data point to the need for more research on writing instruction. The latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results showed that 73% of students in Grade 8 and Grade 12 scored basic or below on writing assessments, a trend reflected in college students’ writing. These data co-exist with research that reported teachers’ low self-efficacy with writing instruction .The most effective way to address these troubling statistics is to take a proactive approach that looks at writing instruction from its genesis—kindergarten. This post-intentional phenomenological study (Vagle, 2014) explored two aspects of kindergarten teachers’ self-perceptions of writing instruction (SPWI)—self-efficacy and outcome expectancy, constructs in Bandura’s (1997) Social Cognitive Theory. Twelve teachers from 11 schools across a suburban school district in Virginia participated in the study. The lens of Appreciative Inquiry during data gathering, analysis, and reporting engendered a valuation of teachers’ lived experiences, and the term, Appreciative Phenomenology, was used to describe this strengths-based approach to research. The benefits of this approach were evidenced in the rich, thick, and nuanced tentative manifestations of the phenomenon that emerged from the data. Specifically, kindergarten teachers’ SPWI were largely influenced by: students’ progress, kindergarten readiness, district and building supports, opportunities for professional development, and teaching across classroom instructional groupings. Relative to these findings, recommendations for national, state, and district leaders are included.



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