Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Committee Chair

Kathi Gibson


Alternative schools/programs are prevalent throughout this country; however, some struggle to meet the holistic needs of the students. Many alternative schools in this country are disproportionately populated by children of color. The purpose of this qualitative study was to understand how alternative education teachers in an urban school district in South Carolina embody the ethics of care to support the psychological growth of the students. Second, the study sought to understand the perceived influence of caring on student motivation and behavior. Using criterion sampling, the student population consisted of five African-American males who received their education in an alternative school for at least 9 weeks or 45 days and five teachers with more than 1 year of experience as an alternative education teacher. This research study is grounded in two theories: Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Noddings’s care theory. While the student responses were far less numerous than the educators, the data clearly showed that all five students believed the teachers embodied care when they supported the students in getting their school work done. While the teachers offered a broader perspective of how they displayed care to students, the heart of caring manifested itself through nurturing behaviors and even serving as a second parents to the students when needed. In the words of the teachers, acts of concern for the students demonstrated care.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.