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ERIC Number: ED515190
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 281
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1097-0521-8
Action Research: Teacher Practices that Enhance Belonging of Students with Disabilities
Nichols, Christine Schroder
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Hofstra University
The purpose of this action research study was to support the members of a fourth grade inclusion team, namely three fourth grade teachers and a teacher assistant in (1) developing a deeper understanding of student belongingness, (2) identifying teacher practices that contribute to a student's sense of belongingness, and (3) developing and implementing a plan to enhance sense of belonging in the classroom, particularly for those students with disabilities. Belongingness is described as one of three basic psychological needs, along with autonomy and competence, which is critical to human growth and development and is viewed by researchers as a critical factor in understanding student behavior and performance (Osterman, 2000). Particularly important to the overall development of the student, are positive interactions between teacher and student. The research design for this study was twofold. This study engaged teacher researchers in "action research" while the research facilitator engaged in "action inquiry". Data for this study was gathered through observations, field notes, interviews, and student artifacts. Results of this study indicated: (1) Through the action research process, teacher researchers developed a deeper and practical understanding of belonging. (2) When teacher researchers observed the impact of their practice this became a motivational factor that empowered them to continue their work in supporting belongingness. (3) When teachers supported personal connections with students, they appeared happier, more engaged, more focused; they developed improved interpersonal skills with peers and adults, exhibited a sense of pride in their work and abilities, interacted and developed relationships with others and showed an improved sense of self. (4) With the teachers' new understanding of belongingness came a new awareness of their role and professional responsibility in meeting their students' need for belonging. (5) Teacher researchers felt that action research supported their change in practice, was relevant to their work in the classroom, gave them the opportunity to do research that was important to share with their colleagues and most importantly, changed the lives of their students. This study illustrates the critical and influential role teachers play in fostering sense of belonging of students and influencing the nature of peer relationships. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 4
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A