Trading Spaces: A Model of Children’s Transition Into a New Classroom

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Students’ experiences as they transitioned from the fourth to the fifth grade at the same school were found to be complex and multi-faceted. Collected in a highly diverse elementary school, data included interviews with students, parents, and teachers; focus meetings with students; classroom observations; and students’ journaling and art. Data were analyzed to develop a grounded theory model of transition. Transition was a taxing process that changed the way children felt about school and teachers as well as how they authored themselves within their classrooms. As the students developed strategies to transition, they called on prior knowledge and novel learning to construct themselves in response to contextual demands. Findings trouble the notion that transition between same-school grades is simple.


Keywords: Transition, Self, Figured World, Discourse
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Jennifer C. Wilson

Assistant Professor, Language and Literacy Studies, Texas A&M University
Austin, Texas, USA

Jenny is a professor of reading at Texas A&M University in San Antonio. She is interested in how children make meaning from the world, specifically how teachers can facilitate and engender a sense of self within the world. She is a former fourth grade teacher specializing in urban and at-risk students.

Ref: L08P0202