Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Marie Simonsson

Second Advisor

Dr. Roberto Zamora

Third Advisor

Dr. Alejandro Garcia


This qualitative study explored the perceptions and experiences of teachers about the use of active learning techniques in high school United States history courses at a lower Rio Grande Valley school district. The study employed a phenomenology design for rich textural descriptions and a systematic exploration of the phenomenon of active learning techniques. Data were collected from individual semi-structured interviews and a focus group of 8 U.S. history teachers. Teacher lesson plans were examined to further corroborate evidence coded from the semi-structured interviews and focus group.

The research evidence suggested that active learning pedagogies create a progressive learning environment, they build relationships with engaged teaching that empowers students, and require effective leadership to enable powerful teaching. The data collected led to a rich narrative of the instructional implications whenever active learning techniques are consistently utilized. It also demonstrated that administrative support from educational leaders and decision makers for such active learning pedagogies is vital, particularly in an era of accountability and standardized testing. Thus, this study presents an important case for further investigation of the active learning phenomena in high school U.S history courses.


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