Term of Award

Fall 2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 1

Michael M. McKenna

Committee Member 2

Eric Nelson

Committee Member 3

Jennie F. Rakestraw

Abstract

The push for higher standardized test scores has resulted in a less personal curriculum for today's first graders. In the increasingly regimented first grade day, there is a need for the concerns of the children to be recognized. Paulo Freire espoused the use of generative themes with his adult students. This investigation is a qualitative case study of Freire's generative themes as revealed in a first grade class at Port Wentworth Elementary School and their influence on the students, teacher and the curriculum. In addition to describing the themes that emerge in a first grade classroom, this researcher sought to portray the opportunities or spaces for generative themes in the course of a regular day. Literature discussions, sharing time, and individual interviews yielded the field notes that were analyzed to produce the data for this study. When curriculum was negotiated around oral and written dialogue, various opportunities arose throughout the day to pursue the themes of the children. The two most productive times in our first grade day for discussions were the non-directed sharing time at the beginning of the day and responding to literature after our daily read aloud time. Information gained in this study might stimulate teachers to search for ways to personalize the curriculum through the generative themes of the children.

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