Date of Award

Fall 10-11-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Christopher Maddox, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jill Bonds, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Cherri Barker, Ed.D.


When teachers skillfully interact in reflective dialogue, they experience professional learning and motivation. However, teachers’ interactional skills are often not data-informed. The purpose of this hermeneutic phenomenological study is to provide descriptive data on (a) how high school teachers experience the dialogic interaction within reflective dialogue, (b) what evidence of learning is present in the interaction, and (c) how self-directed motivation is supported in the interaction. The conceptual framework for this study consists of learning theories from Dewey and Mezirow and the Self-Determination theory of motivation from Deci and Ryan. Three sessions were conducted with two teams of two teachers for a total of eight reflective dialogues. These reflective dialogues were accessed through observations, focus groups, and semi-structured interviews, which were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using self-designed theory-driven codes and conversation analysis. Participants’ own analysis of the data and descriptions of their experiences were included in the findings. The results indicate teachers engage in a process of making meaning of their experiences through exploration, storytelling, and critical reflection of their practices. They experience the need for competency and autonomy, but feel the need for connection most. These needs are met as they give each other the space to reflect and overcome their personal and professional discomfort and challenges together. Specific dialogic interactions that supported teachers’ learning and motivation are described. This study also produced evidence of transformation among the participants and could be replicated to facilitate transformational learning among other teachers. Recommendations for further studies are discussed.