A portrait of an effective GED teacher: A qualitative study

by Wade, Joyce Dee Gibbons, Ph.D., NEW MEXICO STATE UNIVERSITY, 2011, 151 pages; 3534141


This qualitative study embraces the pedagogy that effective General Education Development (GED) teachers can enhance students' academic learning. The study explores what makes an effective GED teacher, such as attributes and instructional strategies. Three methodologies are used: 1) two ninety minute interviews with GED teacher using Seidman's (1998) in-depth phenomenological approach, 2) one forty-five minute individual interview with three past GED students using Kvale's (1996) open-ended approach, and 3) one hour focus group discussion with five current GED students, using Guba (1990) and Marshall and Rossman's (1999) recommendation of the natural classroom setting. Findings from the collected data from all three sources identify personal and professional attributes and lead to creating a portrait of an effective GED teacher. Findings show GED textbooks and workbooks are adopted by states, but the GED teacher in this study also uses supplementary materials and takes personal interest in students. The GED teacher's attributes entailed prescriptive motivational instruction, i.e., one-on-one, small group, and peer help while she conveyed confidence and encouragement. This personal interest was not in Garner's (2006) GED teacher job description, but the Online Adult Education (2010) website states GED teachers provide education and support. The Vaunuatu Institute of Teacher Education (2011) list of attributes in the four categories relate to, and with, the identified GED teacher attributes. Examples are: 1) communication skills, 2) working with various ages and diverse social cultural backgrounds, and 3) teaching basic skills.

Further studies of being an effective GED teacher are recommended. Replication and modification are encouraged, such as one than one rural area or use an urban area. Using Seidman's three interviews and more than one teacher is recommended. Other recommendations are increasing the interview number of past GED students and current GED students in focus group, and adding classroom observations. Further research is especially important because there has been so little research that focuses on the GED teacher effectiveness.

AdviserJames O'Donnell
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsAdult education; Land use planning; Educational philosophy
Publication Number3534141

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