Observation and reflection: How one teacher works with at-risk first-grade students in an inclusive school

Renata M Ziolkowska, University of Pennsylvania


The purpose of this dissertation study was to explore how a classroom teacher, in the role of teacher researcher, works with at-risk students in an inclusive school that involves many different services for a diverse group of students. Traditional intervention approaches, such as remedial reading instruction, special education, or retention, have helped some children learn to read and write. However, they are not helpful to all students. Educators need to search for other ways to reach even more students. In recent years, research has emerged on inclusion, where all students learn together in one classroom. However, for inclusion to work there needs to be commitment from the whole school community (Marchesi, 1997). Inclusive education is very challenging because it requires teachers to work with students at many different levels (Porter, 1997). This study describes what one first grade teacher, through the use of small group instruction, close observation, and reflection, did with the students who struggled most with reading and writing, while trying to meet the needs of all the students in the classroom. Studies support that if instruction for children at-risk is to be beneficial, it must begin early, as soon as difficulties arise. Researchers agree that immediate and intense support needs to be given as soon as problems emerge. It is more difficult to help children if problems are detected later or if intervention is postponed (Slavin, 1994a).

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Special education

Recommended Citation

Ziolkowska, Renata M, "Observation and reflection: How one teacher works with at-risk first-grade students in an inclusive school" (2002). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3041083.