Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Education in Christian Leadership (EdD)


Joseph Butler


Christian Alternative Schoolteachers, At-risk Students, Spiritual Formation, Christian Alternative Schools


Education | Educational Leadership


The purpose of this qualitative intrinsic case study was to understand the experiences of teacher’s perception of their engagement to facilitate spiritual formation within at-risk students at Southeast Christian Alternative School (pseudonym). This participating school is recognized by the North Carolina Department of Administration as a non-public school. The program uses a Wilderness Therapeutic approach to learning. Four essential elements were explored. Teacher’s engagement concerning behavior management was assessed through processes that tactically managed disorderly conduct or acts of misbehavior. Implementation of any behavior plans or behavior models were applicable. Teacher’s engagement concerning spirituality was assessed through active practices of spiritual disciplines and soul care. Teacher’s engagement concerning Christian pedagogy was assessed through exhibitions of faith integrated in teaching and learning. This facet encompassed a personal cognizance of content, application, and methodology that developed the curriculum and the student (Kieser & Parsons, 2014). Lastly, teacher’s engagement concerning Christian discipleship was assessed. Any demonstrations of transition beyond pedagogy toward application succor was applicable. The theory guiding this research was Fowlers’ (1981) Stages of Faith. The assessment of the participants development of faith is essential to facilitating spiritual formation within their students. Braun and Clarke’s (2006) six-step approach to qualitative analysis was chosen as a useful framework to analyze the data. The research sample was identified as the group of teachers, administrator, and assistant director working within a Christian alternative school. Two of the primary themes revealed were discuss the issues and straying away from God.