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Title: From identification to labelling : using observations by regular kindergarten teachers to identify and assess children at risk of learning disabilities
Author: Firstater, Esther
Awarding Body: University of Bath
Current Institution: University of Bath
Date of Award: 2005
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The aim of this study, carried out in Israel, is to examine the feasibility of using observation by regular kindergarten teachers during everyday activities in their kindergartens for the purpose of identifying and assessing children at risk of learning disabilities. The study focuses on the investigation of the teachers' ability to carry out educational assessment and on their perception of the child at risk of learning disabilities. The theoretical framework is based on ecological system theory (Bronfenbrenner, 1992, 1979), ascribing the disability to a combination of inborn tendencies and environmental factors. The research was motivated by dissatisfaction with the process of referral of children by kindergarten teachers and also with the way I myself dealt with the issue of children at risk of learning disabilities in my teaching. The study was carried out in the form of action research in the course of one study year, with the researcher teaching educational psychology to a group of nine regular kindergarten teachers, and it can be seen as a change in my way of teaching: I proposed to my students to learn in a different way the methods of identification and assessment of children with special needs in the kindergarten. They were asked to observe and document their educational assessment of a child they had identified as at risk of displaying learning disabilities during their school studies. The main findings suggest that the children identified by these teachers as at risk of learning disabilities are children with behaviour problems. This is due to the teachers' difficulties in coping with these children, stemming from three variables: the quality of the teachers' professional knowledge, their perception of their working conditions, and their professional self-image. These variables lead to a situation where the process of identification turns into labelling even before the children enter school. These findings are relevant to the work of regular kindergarten teachers who include children with special needs in their kindergartens, to the way teachers are prepared for inclusion, and point to the need to change the functioning of the multidisciplinary team, and in particular the way the psychologist works with the teachers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available