Nurturing as a Means of Helping at-Risk Populations and Educators Who Serve Them


Arthur Sutton

Defense Date


Graduation Date

Summer 1-1-2005



Submission Type


Degree Name



Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program for Education Leaders (IDPEL)


School of Education

Committee Chair

Helen C. Sobehart

Committee Member

Denise Anderson

Committee Member

Michael Parsons


nurturing at-risk youth, helping at risk, at risk need nurturing, nurturing as a means of helping, at risk education, educating at-risk youth


A notable group of students are not performing at acceptable academic levels in the traditional school system. These students are generally referred to as at-risk. This study was conducted to introduce the impact of the presence or absence of nurturing relationships within the education of at-risk student populations. The needs of at-risk student populations within academic and student development programs were explored through the literature review and documented by the student and instructional staff interviews at an adult GED program at a community college in northern Maryland. Data was collected through two semi-structured interview instruments. Student participants were asked open-ended questions and allowed to respond based on their lived experience, while staff members contributed professional knowledge and views. This format allowed for a comprehensive data collection and assessment process. Student response was compared with the traditional expectations of students, and formulated a theoretical framework in which educators could work to develop in future curriculum and academic programs. The theoretical frames were based on three themes that emerged from the interview data: 1) lack of socio-academic support, 2) lack of personal development, and 3) debilitating cultural influences and personal choices, including peer pressure. Patience and understanding from educators was the primary characteristic study participants identified with nurturing and believed made a significant difference in past educational experiences and the current education at the GED program. Recommendations encouraged nurturing interactions, to some degree, at all levels of the themes formed by the study. Study was limited due to the number of participants and questions asked, as well as its ability to generalize to a larger population.





This document is currently not available here.