Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Child and Family Studies

Major Professor

Samara Madrid Akpovo

Committee Members

Mary Jane Moran, Matthew T. Theriot


This descriptive, qualitative study explored the teaching life histories of three educators within the context of working at juvenile detention centers in the United States. Systems theory and narrative inquiry informed the study and were used to guide the data analysis. Three sets of semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted along with photovoice artifacts with written prompts that were used to reconstruct the stories of the educators to uncover the themes. Data were analyzed using thematic analysis and the constant comparative method to ensure triangulation of data. Findings include: (1) intrinsic and extrinsic motivators, (2) emotional and contextual challenges, and (3) agents of change. This study contributes important knowledge to the field of correctional education by offering lived experiences in juvenile detention education settings and reveals the deeply situated nature of the teaching life histories of educators as related to their interactions with these environments. Implications for future research and practice include (a) the investigation of educators’ experiences in alternative education settings along with their approach to correctional education in order to (b) delve more deeply into their individual experiences, as well as the (c) the promoting of life histories as a means to further understand an educators teaching experience and identity (d) illuminate the educators willingness to adapt in alternative educational environments.

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