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ERIC Number: EJ848823
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Pages: 9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 21
ISSN: ISSN-1524-5039
Creatively Constructing a Community of Learners
Mester, Julie
Early Childhood Research & Practice, v10 n1 Spr 2008
This action research study investigated first-graders' attitudes toward being a community of learners as a result of their involvement in constructing their classroom environment. The children's attitudes throughout the year were measured through student surveys, parent surveys, student reflections, teacher reflective journal entries, and informal reading inventories. Even though the experimental group's perceptions of helping, closeness, collaboration, and student influence decreased after their involvement in the intervention, these perceptions were still higher than those measured at the beginning of the year. These students' attitudes pertaining to positive interpersonal relationships never lessened but grew steadily stronger throughout the year. The results also indicated that the experimental group perceived itself more as a community of learners at the end of the year than did the control group. Involvement in making decisions with classmates, collaborating in learning with peers, and engaging in multi-age activities prompted feelings of community among the children. Authentic opportunities for student-driven learning, decision making, boosting self-confidence, and collaborating emerged. Notable gains in the experimental group's reading achievement were observed. The conclusions paralleled the transactive model of teaching and supported the belief that encouraging students to socially and physically create their learning environment promotes learning while building a sense of community. Limitations of the study, such as student test anxiety, were addressed. Concluding thoughts highlighted insights into how to allow the construction process to flow more smoothly and be more effective for all involved. (Contains 2 figures and 4 tables.)
Clearinghouse on Early Education and Parenting, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 51 Gerty Drive, Champaign, IL 61820. Tel: 877-275-3227; Tel: 217-333-1386; Fax: 217-244-7732; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 1
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A