Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Larry E. Frase, EdD, Director; Edward Kujawa Jr., PhD; C. Bobbie Hanson, EdD


education, leadership practice, Leadership studies, phenomenon of flow, qualitative, teachers


The purposes of this qualitative study were to investigate the phenomenon of flow as experienced by classroom teachers and to determine the implications of the understanding of flow for leadership practice. The phenomenon of flow, as described by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, is reported to be experienced when individuals are engaged in activities that have (a) a balance of challenge and skills that can be varied and controlled, (b) a structure with clear goals, and (c) a structure that provides immediate and relevant feedback. The questions addressed within the study involved determining the specific experiences of classroom teachers of the phenomenon of flow, how those experiences compared to the framework created from studies of flow conducted by Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi, and the implications of the understanding of flow among classroom teachers for leadership practice. The methodology involved a series of semi-structured interviews during which the participants were asked to describe their flow experiences. Key themes within the data were identified and then analyzed. An inductive strategy was introduced by the researcher and utilized by participants to assist the participants to analyze and make meaning of their own stories and experiences. The researcher analyzed the same data to search for recurring themes and for characteristics common to the dimensions of the phenomenon of flow. The study has provided an understanding of the kinds of experiences held by classroom teachers of the phenomenon of flow. The participants' descriptions, although portraying vividly different scenarios of optimal experiences while teaching, described common conditions critical to all their experiences of flow in consciousness. This understanding is important for other teachers and leaders in education as it enhances the possibility of increased control by teachers of the quality of their work experiences. It also makes available to leaders practical information relating to circumstances of teachers' flow experiences in the classroom. This information can assist leaders to modify and enhance their leadership practice resulting in teaching conditions and environments that heighten the quality of teachers' experiences in the classroom.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access