Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Larry E. Frase, EdD, Co-Chair; Fred J. Galloway, EdD, Co-Chair; Bobbie Hanson, EdD, Member


adolescents, British Columbia (Canada), cognitive engagement, intrinsic motivation, Leadership studies, quantitative, teacher flow, teachers


The purpose of this quantitative study was to investigate the relationship between teachers' flow experiences and student cognitive engagement during class time. Study participants consisted of students and their teachers in grades 6 through 10 from a number of elementary and secondary schools in the Fraser Valley region of British Columbia, Canada. Data were collected through the use of the Experience-Sampling Method, originally developed by Csikszentmihalyi to investigate flow experiences, that allowed teachers and students to fill out sampling forms in response to randomly generated electronic signals transmitted to pagers or wrist watches that the teachers wore. Data were collected from a total of 190 classes, generating 5047 individual observations on students cognitive engagement. Multiple regression analysis was then used to address the following two research questions: 1. Are there differences in the cognitive engagement of students when their teachers are experiencing flow? 2. To what extent are these differences in cognitive engagement influenced by grade level, subject matter, time-of-day, instructional method, and the gender composition of the class and instructor? Findings from this study suggest that a strong statistical relationship exists between teachers' flow experiences and the cognitive engagement of their students. Specifically, when teachers were experiencing flow, 25 percent more of the students in class were cognitively engaged than when teachers were not experiencing flow. Results from the regression analysis also indicate that grade level, subject matter, and the gender composition of the class were also significant determinants of the cognitive engagement of students. Taken together, the findings from this study demonstrate the importance of the psychological connection between teachers and their students in the classroom.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access