A case study of teachers' perspectives on the impact of transient students in a highly mobile elementary school
Dover, Terry Franklin
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This case study explored the perspectives of four elementary school teachers employed at a school that displays a higher than normal student mobility rate. The study attempted to examine if there are prevailing attitudes and opinions regarding how mobile students are viewed by the teacher and classmates, how mobile students affect this school from a teaching standpoint and from a social aspect, and if there are special preparations or specific teacher training provided in a highly mobile school as a prerequisite to adequately address the problems associated with mobile students. Problems that may be evident with mobile students are incomplete transfer records, no prescribed protocol for the pre-assessment of student learning skills, lack of parent involvement in the school and community, and methods of identifying learning gaps created by moving from school to school. After reviewing the available literature and previous research studies in this area, the researcher chose to examine mobility from the classroom teachers' point if view. A qualitative research design and methods were used to collect and analyze data. Questions posed in an interview were used to direct this study and sought to establish a relationship between student mobility and academic performance. The study sought to uncover specific data regarding the teachers? perceptions on the definition of mobility, the practices utilized by the teachers in assessing, placing and teaching the mobile student, what effects mobility has on the elementary classroom, and to identify successful strategies in dealing with the mobile student. Findings of this study indicate the participants exhibit a great deal of pride in the teaching profession. A love of children is evident in their classroom routines and personal attempts to quickly and effectively incorporate new students into their classroom. The data further revealed the mobile student is usually below expectations in academic performance, are usually from lower socio-economic families, and move mostly for economic reasons. This project reaffirms that the classroom teacher is the main factor in the success or failure of transient students.