Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


John Pijanowski

Committee Member

Kara Lasater

Second Committee Member

Christy Smith


Autonomy, Curiosity, Motivation


Are our schools doing enough to create environments where learners are motivated to learn, and can problem solve and be autonomous in their learning? The purpose of this mixed methods study was to examine a sample of schools in Indiana and determine to what extent they are utilizing research-based methods to ensure an environment where learners are motivated and autonomous. Additionally, in school where these methods were identified as lacking, I investigated some of the reasons teachers struggle to implement these practices. Data was collected using classroom observations and teacher focus groups from four participating schools. The results were then presented to administrators in those schools who participated in a reflective discussion about the results. During classroom visits, students were more likely to demonstrate autonomous learning behaviors than teachers were to demonstrate those teaching behaviors that facilitate self-directed learning. This suggests that it is our schools and teachers who are preventing what research suggests is a desired learning environment to encourage autonomy and self-motivation. During focus group conversations, teachers expressed frustrations in several areas, including but not limited to society, administrators, and state/federal guidelines.