Multiple Stakeholders' Views of the Goals and Content of Two AfterSchool Enrichment Programs
Keywords:After-school program goals, multiple stalceholder views, qualitative research
AbstractA previous study noted that two after-school enrichment programs had a positive impact on participants' self-esteem and academic achievement (Baker & Witt, 1996). However, due to the quantitative nature of this study, it was unclear how or why these effects were realized. Moreover, the views of students about the program (participants and nonparticipants), parents, and teachers were not delineated. The current study was undertaken to determine the similarities and differences in meanings that three stakeholder groups (students n = 28; parents n = 21; and teachers n = 14) attributed to the two after-school enrichment programs including program characteristics and outcomes. Eleven themes emerged from the semi -structured interviews and were grouped under two headings: (1) child development goals; and (2) program characteristics.There were several major differences among the groups' views of the after-school enrichment programs. Teachers had a more global perspective of the local communities and a more pessimistic view of the community environments. They felt academic achievement was the key measure of program success. Parents wanted to be more involved and did not value activities that were mosdy "fun and games." Parents and students were rarely asked their opinion about programs. Students wanted more input into the program and opportunities to participate with friends.There were several similarities among the groups' views of the afterschool enrichment programs. Teachers and parents stressed academic focus and structured and age-appropriate activities that were well supervised. Teachers and students wanted creative, enthusiastic approaches to learning new skills and more firm (but fair) discipline for disruptive participants. Parents and students valued teachers who had a genuine interest in students, and d1ey believed community safety was a major problem after sunset. Finally, all three groups wanted a safe environment; a wide variety of interesting activities; increased parental involvement in school; and programs that complemented the child-care and work schedules of older siblings and parents. The article concludes with a list of programming implications and recommendations for future research.
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