Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Roger Bruning

Second Advisor

Wayne Babchuk

Date of this Version

Fall 11-2020

Document Type



Graham, K. (2020). Career and technical education teachers' beliefs about developing students motivation to write. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Psychological Studies in Education (Cognition, Learning, and Development), Under the Supervision of Professors Wayne Babchuk and Roger Bruning. Lincoln, Nebraska: November, 2020

Copyright © 2020 Katie M. Graham


Students in the U.S. write poorly. Although postsecondary and workplace writing expectations continue to rise, writing instruction has largely remained unchanged over time. As a result, student writing outcomes continue to fall below expectations from both an assessment and hirable proficiency standpoint. Career and Technical Education (CTE) provides a unique opportunity to motivate students who are otherwise disengaged in writing (ACTE, 2009). The benefits of helping students develop their writing-self efficacy has well-documented support (Bruning & Horn, 2009; Bandura, 1997; Pajares 2003; Pajares & Valiante, 2006). However, little is known about the writing opportunities provided in CTE classes or CTE teachers’ beliefs about their role in developing students’ motivation to write.

In order to address these gaps and better describe the shared experiences of CTE teachers and their beliefs about developing students’ motivation to write, this study employed an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) methodological approach as described by Smith and Osborn (2013). Using a constructivist lens, the shared life experiences of six CTE teachers, one from each of the six recognized career fields (Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources; Business, Marketing, and Management; Communication and Information Systems; Health Sciences; Human Sciences and Education; and Skilled and Technical Sciences) were explored. As a result of implementing IPA protocols for data analysis, four overarching themes emerged. These themes reflected overlapping concepts and included a driving purpose behind each CTE teachers’ instructional practices, an appreciation for the uniqueness of CTE, a declaration that writing is important, and articulated conditions that are necessary for CTE writing. Findings from this study contribute to the limited understanding of the writing instruction taking place in CTE courses, the affordances CTE may provide to positively impact student writing motivation, and the nature of CTE teacher self-efficacy beliefs and their impact on pedagogical decision-making.

Advisors: Wayne Babchuk and Roger Bruning