Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Teacher Education and Leadership

Committee Chair(s)

Suzanne H. Jones


Suzanne H. Jones


Courtney D. Stewart


Max L. Longhurst


Kathleen A J. Mohr


LeAnn G. Putney


This phenomenological study explored a common essence of collective class actuation (CCA) among six seminary teachers in a Western state. CCA is an optimal learning state of a class collective. Data were gathered through interviews, observations, and a focus group. Data analysis yielded themes, textural and structural descriptions, an overall essence, and a model explaining the processes of buy-in and actuation.

Findings indicate that seminary teachers seek to actuate their classes by leading them toward agentic, collective buy-in. This requires management of two social environments: the internal social environment (the heart) and the external social environment. The internal social environment is comprised of a sense of collective relevancy and a sense of collective trust. If both of these collective beliefs are present, students may be more likely to buy into the purpose and activity of the class collective. The external social environment relates to classroom sociality, which can be too high (hypersocial) for learning, or too low (hyposocial) for learning. These teachers therefore describe seeking to keep their classes in the sweet zone of learning by simultaneously maintaining high engagement and high focus. Both social environments (internal and external) affect one another and influence buy-in and actuation for deep learning. Participants manage the complexities of both environments by maintaining a splendid mix of learning and enjoyment, thereby generating an optimal learning experience.



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