Date of Award



© 2020 Kerry C. Hoey

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Michelle Collay

Second Advisor

Brianna Parsons

Third Advisor

Hollie McCarthy


This qualitative study describes out-of-school education facilitators’ perceptions, beliefs, and values regarding the promotion of personal and social, cultural, and academic and career development through creative writing workshops. The focus on the facilitators of the creative writing workshops is to explore the perceptions, beliefs, and values they have regarding the theories they use to inform their curriculum, and, therefore, how they promote student development. The researcher believes that a better understanding of the facilitators’ descriptions and perceptions of students and student development within creative writing workshops allows educators and community leaders to proceed from a more informed perspective in terms of student development and facilitation of creative writing workshops. This specific interest on the facilitators, and not the participants, stems from an active resistance to the pervasive negative labeling of youth within previous published research in several fields and within the American educational system. Examining experiences of facilitators of workshops for a targeted age group of 7th–9th grade students narrowed the purpose of the study further so that the research could explore a specific and crucial decision-making period of student development.

Key findings of this study were obtained from eight in-depth interviews with individuals from five creative writing workshop programs at different locations. The criteria for selection of participants was that all participants are presently or formerly creative writing workshop facilitators using the AWA Method and that all participants had creative writing workshop experience with the research study’s targeted age group of 7th–9th grade. The participants accurately represented the titles and positions of those most involved with the outcome development for creative writing workshop programs. The information gained through the interviews formed the basis for the overall findings of the study. To support the findings that came from the in-depth interviews, the organization of each participant was examined and key factors such as mission, values, and teaching philosophy were identified. The process of coding was used to analyze this data. The four findings from this study include how the interview participants presented the importance of identity, the value of modeling, the role of allowing only encouraging feedback, and the use of community mentors. Based on the findings, the researcher recommends that creative writing workshop facilitators and programs focus on identity formation and representation in their workshops and curriculum; and leverage the use of modeling and mentoring.


Ed.D. Dissertation