Being in first grade: Consequential social interaction

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Cultural Foundations of Education


Steven Taylor


Social interaction, First-grade, Consequential interaction

Subject Categories

Education | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


Children are the foundation for each generation to come.

This qualitative study was conducted in the first grade of a rural upstate New York elementary school using participant observation and interview. An analysis of the data derived from this study, suggested that early elementary school students, especially first graders would benefit from careful scrutiny of their social interactions and their physical context during their school day. One finding of the study focused on the interactions between adults and students in the classroom. Analysis of data suggests that classroom aides could treat students more respectfully. Another finding was concerned with the furnishings in the classroom. Observation determined a poor fit between some of the students and their desks and chairs resulting in students having to strain to see the work on their desktops.

Other findings suggest that time restraints result in first graders having little opportunities for self-expression other than within the curriculum. An overly scheduled day didn't give students the opportunity for reflection that often leads to correction and greater depth of thought.

Discussion and recommendations are offered to students, parents, and teachers to raise awareness to the essentials for constructing a civil environment for all students regardless of their abilities. The argument is made that a more civil environment would enhance first graders social and academic learning and render them to be fit contributors to the community.


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