Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Ed Bengtson

Committee Member

Kara Lasater

Second Committee Member

Janet Penner-Williams


Character Education, Grit, Social-Emotional Learning, Teacher Perspective, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Working-Class Student


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to examine working-class graduates’ perceptions of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens training. This purpose was accomplished through a qualitative analysis of data. The data was collected from interviews of graduates and teachers. Following the coding process, graduate data was then reduced to the following categories: social awareness, relationship development, teamwork, communication skills, empathy, self-awareness, and self-confidence which created the themes of interpersonal skills and intrapersonal skills. Four additional graduate themes were created from decision-making data: weighing pros and cons, prioritizing outcomes, thinking long-term, and real-life applications. Additional graduate data was provided from a survey on grit. Teacher data was reduced directly to the following themes: increased self-responsibility, increased awareness and respect for others, increased goal planning skills, and improved relationships. Graduates indicated that the training courses had a positive impact on their life choices, future success, and decision-making skills. Yet, graduates only scored slightly above the mean on a grit survey. Teachers believed the training course benefited the working-class students. The graduates indicated some of the success of the course stemmed from the teachers. The perceptions of the working-class graduates and the teachers in this study provided understanding and knowledge that could help school leaders make curriculum and policy choices to help improve their school culture and climate in the future.