Front cover image for The High School Teacher SEL Mindset : a Mixed Methods Study

The High School Teacher SEL Mindset : a Mixed Methods Study

Christopher Beissel (Author), Michael J. Haslip (Thesis advisor), Drexel University
This study was an investigation of the social-emotional learning (SEL) mindset of high school teachers. Mindset theory served as the theoretical framework for this study and was defined as the implicit beliefs that individuals hold to guide their thinking and behavior. Research questions for this study were: (1) How is an SEL mindset defined? (2) What is the existing SEL mindset of a sample population of Pennsylvania high school teachers? and (3) How do implicit beliefs and personal experiences shape the SEL mindset of teachers? The researcher used existing literature on SEL and mindset theory to create an SEL mindset construct. The researcher then measured the SEL Mindset of the participating high school teachers on a continuum from negative to positive with an instrument developed by the researcher utilizing Dweck's Implicit Theories of Intelligence Survey (ITIS) and the SEL mindset construct as a framework. The study further probed the implicit theories and beliefs of a group of participants through semi-structured interviews. The literature review was organized into three streams: (1) SEL and its role in high schools; (2) challenges to SEL implementation; and (3) mindset theory. This study was a mixed methods study that utilized an explanatory sequential mixed methods approach in which quantitative data collected from the survey was further explored through qualitative data obtained from participant interviews. The participants were limited to Pennsylvania public high school teachers. Quantitative data was analyzed using demographic and inferential statistics. Qualitative data was coded in two cycles to solicit emerging themes. As a result of this study, clear demographic and thematic profiles emerged for participants with positive, neutral, and negative SEL Mindsets. The SEL Mindset construct and SEL Mindset survey had promising results as a theoretical construct and an instrument to measure the construct quantitatively. Implications for future practice included recommendations on sharing the SEL Mindset construct with teachers, using the SEL Mindset survey to quantify teacher SEL Mindset on a continuum, and using the SEL Mindset scores to direct professional development. Implications for future research included conducting future studies incorporating the SEL Mindset construct to establish construct validity, as well as larger quantitative studies to establish further instrument reliability and validity for the SEL Mindset survey
Thesis, Dissertation, English, 2021
Drexel University