Dissertation

Alternative Educators' Perceptions of Teaching Multigrade Classes and their Views on Students Social Development

Juveniles who commit offences in the U.S. may be mandated to attend school in alternative correctional facilities. Although there are mixed findings in research focusing on general educators’ perceptions of teaching multigrade classes, research on alternative educators’ perceptions is scarce. This dissertation captured alternative educators’ perceptions of multigrade teaching in alternative and correctional educational programs in Southern California. the researcher is grounded in the transformative worldview advocating for the marginalized and for change as needed. an online survey was the quantitative method used to collect data from 60 full-time, alternative educators. Overall, the findings indicate that educators are focused on academic performance and have positive perceptions of multigrade teaching. However, the findings demonstrate that educators 50 years of age and older have less positive perceptions than their counterparts who are 49 and under. the findings also indicate that there is a correlation between the educators’ perceptions of multigrade teaching and their views of student social development. Although safety and security is a major concern in alternative schools, educators have positive views related to cooperation and other forms of prosocial behavior. the educators view older students’ helpfulness and leadership skills as an asset in multigrade classrooms. It is recommended that additional districts be included in a similar study and that the sample be evenly distributed with regard to age and gender. Obtaining the perceptions of correctional administers should also be included to gain a more holistic view of the system. It is also recommended that a change be made in credential programs to include training in teaching multigrade classes and that additional support staff be provided in classes with more than two grade levels.

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