Narratives of Community Educators Fostering Adult Education and Community Development

Date

2017-08

Authors

Delgado, Perla G.

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Abstract

This qualitative research reports on the narratives of six community educators and utilizes anatomy of story as a framework. The research question directing this study was: What can we learn from the journeys and trajectories of community educators? Supporting sub-questions included: (1) what are their efforts fostering adult education? and 2) how do they promote community development? Data collection sources included: pláticas (conversations), artifacts, documents, and researcher journal. Narrative analysis procedures served to examine the data provided by study participants. Anatomy of story guided the deductive analysis process and allowed for data to be reported through metaphors utilizing the human organs (navel, heart, mind, hands and legs) and cubism to figuratively illustrate the stories of the study participants. Study findings are split into two chapters. Chapter II, describes the study participants, navel, or the core of the story. In chapter III, the main parts of the story (the heart, mind, hands, and legs) are presented with an analysis and discussion of emergent themes. This chapter addresses the values/passion, the analytical mind, the creative force, and the legacy of the work of community educators. The following themes emerged for the heart of the story: Community educators need to (1) be people oriented, (2) have commitment to care, (3) establish trust, (4) be versatile, and (5) promote respect. The mind is where ideas are fueled and initiatives are developed; here the emergent themes were: (1) building effective communicators, (2) removing barriers to success, (3) ensuring funding, and (4) building cultural brokers. The hands serve to represent the programs and initiatives created to serve adults and families. The hands section is discussed through the following themes: (1) creating collaborations, (2) building skills, (3) training learners to be teachers, 4) creating learning spaces. Last, the legs encompass the legacy of the work of community educators and the emergent themes for discussing study findings were: (1) having a lasting effect, (2) replicating services, (3) giving parents a purpose and, (4) continuing the work. The final chapter of the dissertation is the conclusion and discussion. It includes: recommendations for practice (e.g., for stakeholders, program funding, and educators), research implementation tensions and challenges, suggestions for future research, and concluding thoughts.

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Keywords

Community educators, Adult education, Community development, Anatomy of story, Narrative analysis, Professional development, Community education

Citation

Delgado, P. G. (2017). <i>Narratives of community educators fostering adult education and community development</i> (Unpublished dissertation). Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.

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