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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

Year Degree Awarded

Spring 2014

First Advisor

Linda Griffin, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Kysa Nygreen, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Demetria Shabazz, Ed.D.

Subject Categories

Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Psychology | Teacher Education and Professional Development

Abstract

Teachers must acquire the appropriate knowledge, skills and dispositions to effectively meet the demands and challenges of the teaching profession (Darling-Hammond, 2006, 2010; Shulman, 2000). There is considerable research about how someone perceives they can perform effectively as a teacher, and what constitutes effective teaching (Bandura, 1995, 1997; Ashton & Webb, 1986). Research suggests that novice teachers feel unprepared, unsupported and ineffective; and 50% of novice teachers leave the profession within the first few years of teaching (Levine, 2006; Kaufman, et al., 2002; Kelley, 2004; Maciejewski, 2007)

This study examined the question, “To what extent do novice teachers’ experiences and perceptions of yoga practice influence their professional lives?” Yoga is a systematic process of self observation, self inquiry and self reflection (Iyengar, 1966/1979; Desikacher, 1995/1999). For the purpose of this study, a novice teacher is defined as a teacher who has been teaching less than 5 years.

The study was conducted at an urban school that services approximately 650 students in pre-kindergarten through grade 8. Five novice teachers were recruited using a network selection strategy. Formulation of the study utilized a variety of qualitative methods to gather rich, descriptive data. Strict adherence to Institutional Review Board (IRB) regulations were followed to insure that the participants’ rights and well being were protected. Several methods (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Merriam 1998; Rossman & Rallis, 2003) were implemented to establish trustworthiness. Data analysis included methods from grounded theory and thematic analysis.

Results indicated that the novice teachers who participated in yoga perceived an increase in energy, clarity of mind and flexibility. Teachers reported the practice of yoga influenced their ability to relax, to release negative thoughts and emotions, and to be mindful. Participants identified the influences yoga had on their teaching practice, as the ability to deescalate emotionally charged situations and to differentiate instruction. Novice teachers perceived the practice of yoga influenced their teaching efficacy in the following ways; mindful reflection, increased confidence, courage to take action, recognizing when to release control, and when to take time for renewal.

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