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“This is my family outside of my family”: Care-based relating in a model early college high school

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Published: 2017-06-12

Authors

Omer Ari

Georgia State University

Teresa Fisher-Ari

Georgia State University

Jim Killacky

Appalachian State University

Roma Angel

Appalachian State University

Keywords: early college care-based relating teacher-student relationships

Abstract

Early college (EC) is a novel educational model in the US that combines high school and college in an effort to increase underrepresented students’ access to higher education by providing engaging, hands-on instruction in a supportive learning environment. For this phenomenological inquiry, we sought to understand the role of care-based relating in a model early college by examining how relationships are manifested and experienced at this school. Through 30-45 minute interviews, eleven participants (three sophomores, three seniors, and five teachers) described EC teachers’ high level of commitment to students’ academic success through: (a) responsive instruction in classroom and group contexts; (b) additional learning support for individual students; and (c) varied experiences from traditional school contexts. EC teachers found these efforts fostered student commitment to learning. Additionally, teachers and students noted the extraordinary commitment of EC teachers to the physical, social, and emotional wellbeing of learners demonstrated through: (a) family-like relationships; (b) promoting social and emotional wellbeing through timely advice and intervention; (c) joining students through tragic and intense personal and out-of-school realities; and (d) forming longitudinal connections with students and their families. However, this commitment resulted in teachers taking on significant burden when there was a lack of structural supports available for all learners. Findings hold implications for educational policy and school structuring that can promote educational equity and success through meaningful relationships, responsive practices, wrap-around services for students with out-of-school challenges, and teacher-support structures to ensure the longitudinal development and wellness of teachers, preventing burnout and attrition.

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Author Biographies

Omer Ari

Georgia State University

Omer Ari is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Middle and Secondary Education in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia. There he coordinates the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in Human Learning and Development.

Teresa Fisher-Ari

Georgia State University

Teresa R. Fisher-Ari is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Early Childhood and Elementary Education in the College of Education and Human Development at Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Jim Killacky

Appalachian State University

Jim Killacky has retired from Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina.

Roma Angel

Appalachian State University

Roma Angel is a Professor of Leadership in Educational Studies at Appalachian State University, Boone, North Carolina.

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Published: 2017-06-12

How to Cite

Ari, O., Fisher-Ari, T., Killacky, J., & Angel, R. (2017). “This is my family outside of my family”: Care-based relating in a model early college high school. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 25, 61. https://doi.org/10.14507/epaa.25.2726