Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Michael Jazzar


In an urban high school in California, students are generally unskilled in critical writing. The problem has been associated with instructional barriers encountered by teachers. In this qualitative case study, English Language teachers provided their perceptions of such barriers and shared perspectives for solutions based in professional development. Grounded in the theories of Halpern, Saiz and Rivas, Weigle, and Harris and Graham, the conceptual framework emphasized instructional models that develop metacognition in writing, which can increase students' critical thinking. Selection criteria required participants who were English Language Arts teachers of writing critical thinking. Data from 4 participant interviews were coded, labeled, and collapsed into themes on the teachers' perceived barriers towards teaching critical thinking. Interview data were triangulated using field notes that revealed that limited teacher pedagogy, lack of student application, and an overall scarcity of school support prevented educators from teaching critical thinking in writing. The findings indicated a lack of an understanding from students, teachers, and administration of the instructional elements needed to develop successful critical thinking in writing. This study promotes positive social change by illuminating the instructional barriers by these 4 high school English Language Arts teachers. In addition, a professional development program, informed by the findings of this inquiry, will present teachers and administrators with strategies to increase critical thinking and writing. These coaching and mentoring strategies comprise a sustainable systemic program that will improve student critical thinking and writing.