High-quality and effective professional development is necessary and "…should be made available to all teachers" (Borko, 2004, p. 3). This dissertation focuses on teacher professional development (PD) and an exploration into the meaning teachers attribute to a PD experience. Stemming from interdisciplinary questions such as, how do we align PD to meet teachers' needs and expectations? and how do teachers learn?, this study aims to examine the experiences and meanings of specific sixth grade ELA teachers in their participation in District PD, a district-led PD series using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). IPA stems from qualitative and ontology research perspectives and captures the context of human experience, phenomena, and life. After thorough analysis of each participant interview transcript and reflection, the results of this dissertation shed light about the reality of the District PD experience for each of the three participants. Moreover, these findings indicated five themes: Teacher Embodiment, the District PD Experience, the Meaning of PD, the Success and Value of District PD, and Unexpected Findings. These themes demonstrated the need for teachers to be heard, their epistemological beliefs to be acknowledged, their meanings of a PD experience, and the design of PD that enhances task value, expectancies for success, and cost across all PD experiences. Results suggested the flexibility of IPA and its application to current PD practices of teachers' experiences and meaning. Implications and recommendations such as, a prescreening survey given to future participants would aid the development of an aligned PD for teacher participations and collecting data across all four sessions of District PD would better inform this phenomenon. Further research into teacher PD and IPA across other disciplines are also presented and discussed. These include researching participatory research approaches, a longitudinal study of District PD over a course of two years, and the intersectionality of teacher PD, Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, and Expectancy Value Theory (EVT).


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Graduation Date





Olan, Elsie


Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


College of Community Innovation and Education


Learning Sciences and Educational Research

Degree Program

Curriculum and Instruction


CFE0009218; DP0026821





Release Date

August 2025

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until August 2025; it will then be open access.