School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Shante Austin


phenomenological study, at-risk students, alternative methodology, teacher to student immedicacy, teacher immediacy behaviors, student perception of teachers


Education | Educational Methods | Other Education


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study is to gain a deeper, richer understanding of teacher immediacy from the perspective of teachers who educate at-risk students in an alternative setting. This study consisted of 12 teachers who educate high school students that have dropped out of school or were potential dropouts prior to entering the alternative program. The study was designed to answer the following questions: (a) What are the opinions of teachers who work in an alternative setting about teacher immediacy? (b) What do teachers state as obstacles to establishing teacher immediacy? (c) What additional resources do teachers state they need for establishing teacher immediacy? (d) Do teachers who teach in an alternative setting perceive that teacher immediacy positively impacts student success and why or why not? Teachers completed the Nonverbal Immediacy Scale-Self Report (NIS-S) (Richmond, McCroskey, & Johnson, 2003), participated in an interview process, and a focus group meeting. Moustakas’ (1994) 7-Step modified version of van Kaam’s method was used to analyze the data. There were several identifiable themes in this study. The themes were: (a) students pay attention to immediacy behaviors, (b) positive student-teacher relationships are important to at-risk students, (c) trust is crucial for students, (d) students need to know teachers care, (e) educators should be compassionate, (f) teachers must be flexible, (g) educating the whole child, and (h) student performance is based on teacher immediacy behaviors. There was also an unexpected theme identified from the study, which was teachers feel they are making a difference in the lives of the students they work with.