Date of Conferral
Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
Grade 9 students' academic failure has been documented to lead to future academic failure at the secondary level. Research has shown that lack of persistence and problem solving behaviors when dealing with adversity have multiple consequences, including low self-esteem and dropout. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory case study was to examine Grade 9 teachers' perceptions related to the use of Habits of Mind, a program designed to address the dispositions of thinkers when faced with problems such as resilience or persistence. Guided by Bandura's social cognitive learning theory, which holds that environment relates directly to behaviors and feelings of self-efficacy, the study was designed to examine teachers' perceptions regarding Habits of Mind and academic success. The research questions addressed teachers' perceptions about utilizing specific habits of mind to support students' academic success as well as how teachers' instructional designs incorporate Habits of Mind. Interviews with 10 9th grade teachers and surveys were used to gather data. Data analysis was conducted in a process of pre-coding, ongoing coding, and development of themes from the data. Results showed that teachers perceived habits of mind as necessary for success, handling adversity, and adapting to life beyond high school. They also indicated that the desire for purposeful collegial interactions most effectively embeds habits of mind instruction within and beyond classrooms. Implications for social change include maximizing students' problem solving strategies and knowledge related to dealing with adversity, including failure, in order to help prepare students for successful post-secondary academic experiences, employment, and productive, responsible citizenship.