Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Psychology and Research

Major Professor

Mary F. Ziegler

Committee Members

Ralph G. Brockett, Katherine H. Greenberg, Sandra P. Thomas


This study examines the experiences of teachers working with court-mandated students in GED/ABE programs. While there is a considerable body of literature on adult correctional education, this literature almost exclusively deals with teachers and students working within incarceration settings, where students are in jail or prison. There is a lack of research on the experiences of teachers working with students who are a part of the correctional system but are placed within the community, i.e., students who are in community corrections programs such as probation and parole. This study begins to fill that void in the research literature. This research is phenomenological, using existential hermeneutic phenomenology as both a guiding philosophy and as a methodology, and is concerned with teachers’ experiences working with GED/ABE students in community corrections. The phenomenological methodology follows that used by the University of Tennessee phenomenology group, led by Sandra Thomas and Howard Pollio. The findings of the study indicate a special relationship (chiasm) between teachers and students as the ground with four themes, representing changes within the students, as experienced by the teachers, and changes within the teachers, themselves. A discussion of the significance of these findings in adult education and educational psychology, including implications for professional development within adult education and educational psychology, is included.

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