Thesis Title

The Inner Game of Teaching: What is it and How can It Make Us Better Teachers

Graduation Date

Spring 2001

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


The inner lives of teachers was researched and studied. Three key questions were the focus: 1) What is a mental peak performance state in teaching? 2) What is the value of achieving this state? 3) How can teachers attain peak performance states? Peak performance states are described as “a higher mental state” where teachers are motivated intrinsically; in this state, they are described as being “undivided”, their ‘truest selves”. Research shows that teachers are more effective when they achieve peak performance states in the classroom. Self- awareness and development of positive thought patterns are necessary skills for achieving optimum mental performance. Journals chronicling the author’s teaching from his first years through his present eighth year show how development of self-awareness and an improved “inner game” helped to positively transform his teaching. Interviews with four beginning teachers and four highly experienced teachers show how sound inner practices lead to job satisfaction and successful teaching. The quality of the “inner teacher” is shown to be important for development of strong leadership, building good relationships with students, enjoyment of teaching, and effective teaching methodology.

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