Purpose – The purpose of this study is to identify how at‐risk high school students in an alternative school describe how they best learn and to extrapolate their preferred learning practices to improve teacher pedagogical practices. Design/methodology/approach – The authors used a qualitative case study design to facilitate the first two stages of an appreciative inquiry (AI) 4‐D cycle – discovery and dream. Eight alternative high school students, four males and four females, were purposively selected as participants. Data collection methods included: group discussions, semi‐structured paired interviews, and participant generated documents and visual presentation for district administrators and teachers. Data were analyzed using content analysis, open coding, axial coding, text analysis software, and pattern matching. Findings – The study produced four salient findings: relevant experiences were important for learning; a cooperative and respectful learning environment is a core value; learning should be enjoyable; and, the concept of family became an important metaphor for the learning environment. Originality/value – The findings from this study suggest that further research with AI in educational settings may have important implications to inspire educators to think in new ways about learning.
International Journal of Educational Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 22, 2011
Keywords: Students; Child welfare; Learning methods; Teachers; Action research; United States of America
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