Date of Graduation

5-2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Tom EC Smith

Committee Member

Marta Collier

Second Committee Member

Michael Wavering

Abstract

High schools are tirelessly pondering ideas of enhancing the learning environment by increasing academic engagement and safety. This phenomenology study was designed to report and analyze the perceptions of selected students about their academic engagement and safety while attending one high school. Data for this study were obtained through interviews that were conducted on two levels: focus group and individual interviews. The results indicate that uniforms by themselves have little to do with a student's academic engagement. Students believe that their teachers play a big part in the way that they participate in educational tasks. They also believe that engaging in academics has great consequences such as becoming a member of certain school organizations, graduating from school, and furthering their education. This study suggests that simply requiring students to wear uniforms will not cause them to become more academically engaged nor will it make schools safer. However, when a mandatory uniform policy is in place, the learning environment is enhanced because fewer instances of teasing and fighting over jealousy will occur.