Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Reading and Language

First Advisor

Dr. Ruth Quiroa (Co-chair)

Second Advisor

Dr. Angela Elkordy (Co-chair)

Third Advisor

Dr. Ryan McCarty (Dean's Representative)


Knowing how to write well has been linked to college and career success and learning to write well is reliant on the effectiveness of highly prepared teachers of writing. However, secondary ELA (English Language Arts) teachers of writing report that they were not prepared to teach writing in their pre-service teacher preparation programs or in-service professional development. Based on personal experience, such educators engage in their own professional learning in the teaching of writing to meet their students’ needs (grades 9-12). This explanatory sequential mixed methods study sought to identify the professional learning choices made by in-service secondary ELA teachers to grow as teachers of writing and the rationales that guide these choices. Phase 1 of the study was an online survey (quantitative data) followed by Phase 2 consisting of focus group interviews (qualitative data) that drew participants from survey respondents. Analysis of survey data revealed a wealth of information including teachers’ beliefs on writing, writing instruction, teacher preparation, and professional learning sources. Subsequent analysis of focus group data expanded on the survey findings as participants expressed strong feelings about their students as writers, writing practices, and their professional learning. This data also established several important themes, namely, the collaborative nature of writing, teacher self-reflection, writing instruction, and professional learning. Implications for future research, policymakers, and practice are discussed.