The purpose of this qualitative study was to develop a better understanding of how urban adolescents with disabilities in alternative schools make sense of their life journeys. Using grounded theory as a guide for the research methodology this research described (a) elements of resiliency, and (b) self-efficacy, as well as (c) how they define their futures. Ten 11th grade male students with disabilities in an alternative school setting were observed during a weekly year long group intervention that focused on their futures and were interviewed individually after the school year. The results from the study revealed that the students' perceptions of their futures were influenced by the realities of their lives including living in dangerous environments, having disabilities, and not being able to thrive in a regular education setting. Despite the numerous challenges in their lives, the students exhibited a unique resiliency that allowed them to persist in having goals and dreams for their futures. The students also exhibited a sense of self-awareness for their strengths and weaknesses. They indicated that they believed in their capabilities for future careers and thus demonstrated a perceived self-efficacy. The findings of this study also resulted in the development of a Resolve in Life Theory about the myriad influences that impact the perceptions of urban adolescents with disabilities in alternative schools as they attempt to make sense of their life journeys. The Resolve in Life Theory proposes that adolescents with disabilities in alternative schools have perceptions of their futures that are influenced by the realities of their lives, but there exists within characteristics of resiliency enhanced by their beliefs in their capabilities that allows them to have dreams and goals for their futures. However, it is remains a question whether these thoughts will translate into actions.
|Commitee:||Leconte, Pamela, Levine, Eric, Ozer, Martha, Wright, Travis|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Teacher Preparation & Special Education|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Alternative schools, Disabilities, Life journeys, Urban education|
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