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1 BEGINNING TEACHER BELIE FS AND WISE PRACTICES: A CASE STUDY OF A HIGH SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER By MICHELE SEYBERT PHILLIPS A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2009
2 2009 Michele Seybert Phillips
3 To Wayne and Max-my foundati on, my strength, my heart
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This dissertation was possible because of the support of many people. I would like to recognize them and thank them for their support As I write these acknowledgements, I am humbled. I would like to thank Dr. Elizabeth Washi ngton for being an exemplary chair, mentor, teacher, and friend. Your guidan ce through two programs and seven years has made all of this possible. I am eternally gratef ul. I thank my committee members, Dr. Elizabeth Bondy, Dr. Mary Brownell, and Dr. Dorene Ross for your mentorship and support. To my colleagues through this adventureSheryl Howie, Stephen Masyada, Robert Dahlgren, Emma Humphries, and Christopher Brkich-thank you. A special thanks to Cheryl Ellerbro ck whose constant support and friendship is greatly appreciated. To my husband, Wayne, I am forever grateful for your love and unwavering belief that I could do this and I would finish. Your sacrifices made this possible. Please, go buy a boat! To my son, Max-I did this for you. I love you more than you will ever know. To my parents, Ed and Mary Seybert, who have been my constant foundation and my cheerleaders from the day that I was born. The sa crifices you have made taught me the meaning of unconditional love. I love you and thank you. This is for you. To my brother, Lee Seybert, thank you for your love and support. To my grandm other, Natalie Michel, whose pride has given me strength. To Wayne, Elizabeth, Lesesne, and Wills Phillips, the best in-laws a girl could ask for, I thank you for your love and support. To Brooke Hux, who has been on this journey with me for quite some time, I thank you. Meeting you changed the path of my life. To Spencer Hux, for kindly reading my chapters, even on short notice, I am grateful. I would especially like to thank
5 Grandma Laura Phillips, who took such good care of us in Gainesville, especially when I came to work. We love you. I would like to thank the faculty and staff at the Colle ge of Charleston, department of Teacher Education, for their support through th is process. Thank you to Dr. Brian Lanahan, whose advice and support throughout this process he lped make this possible. I would like to especially thank Dr. Linda Fitz harris, Dr. Marty Nabors, Dr. Em ily Skinner, and Leah Mullaney whose kind words and encouragement kept me motivated. I would like to thank Leila Lawson, Theresa Hadzima and Nanette for their excellent technical support. To the ladies at Stepping Ston es-Leigh Anne, Thesia, Sherrell, Sylvia, Arlene, Ethel, and Emily-for taking such wonderful care of my child, knowing that he was in caring hands made writing this easier. Finally, I would like to thank Kris, whos e access to both her thoughts and her classroom made this study possible. Your time and energy are much appreciated.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................................................................................... 4ABSTRACT ...................................................................................................................... ...............9 CHAP TER 1 INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ............................................... 10Purpose of the Study .......................................................................................................... .....10Statement of the Problem and Research Questions ................................................................ 11Review of the Literature .........................................................................................................12Wise Practice in Social Studies Teaching ..............................................................................13Wisdom in Social Studies ................................................................................................ 13Wise Practice in the Teaching of Social Studies .............................................................17Adapting Preservice Training ..........................................................................................21Shulmans Model of Pedagogical Reasoning .................................................................. 23Pedagogical Content Knowledge and the Teaching of History ....................................... 24Beginning History Teachers ............................................................................................ 25Teacher Beliefs and Practices .................................................................................................26Shaping Teacher Beliefs ..................................................................................................26Decision-Making and Teacher Beliefs ............................................................................30Beliefs about Students .....................................................................................................32The First Year ..................................................................................................................33Contextual Factors ............................................................................................................ ......33Organizational and School Context .................................................................................34Testing and School Context ............................................................................................. 35Factors Inhibiting the Use of a Variety of Practices ........................................................37Summary ....................................................................................................................... ..........38Contributions to the Field .......................................................................................................39Limitations ................................................................................................................... ...........39Description of the Chapters ................................................................................................... .402 METHODS AND METHODOLOGY ................................................................................... 41Review of the Purpose of the St udy and Statement of the Problem ....................................... 41Theoretical Orientation ....................................................................................................... ....42Constructivism ................................................................................................................ .42Beliefs and Practices ........................................................................................................ 43Methods ..................................................................................................................................43Case Study .......................................................................................................................43Role of the Researcher .....................................................................................................44Access ........................................................................................................................ ......47Participant ................................................................................................................... .....47
7 Setting ....................................................................................................................... .......48Data Collection ................................................................................................................49Data Analysis ..........................................................................................................................53Verification of Interpretation ................................................................................................ ..57Trustworthiness ............................................................................................................... 57Credibility ................................................................................................................... .....58Dependability and Confirmability ................................................................................... 583 RESULTS ....................................................................................................................... ........60Constructing Teacher Beliefs ................................................................................................. 60Influences of Family ........................................................................................................60Influences of Schooling ...................................................................................................62Case Findings ..........................................................................................................................63Beliefs and Teacher Education ........................................................................................ 64Beliefs about Social Studies ............................................................................................66Beliefs about Students .....................................................................................................69Beliefs about Classroom Practices .................................................................................. 69Challenges in Teaching ................................................................................................... 86Successes in Teaching ................................................................................................... 103Summary ....................................................................................................................... ........1054 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ............................................................... 107Summary of the Findings of the Study ................................................................................. 107Beginning Teacher Beliefs and Practices ......................................................................107Powerful and Effective Social Studies Teaching .......................................................... 109Implications for Teacher Education Programs ..................................................................... 111Identifying Preservice Teacher Needs ........................................................................... 112Professional Networks ...................................................................................................113The University-to-Classroom Connection .....................................................................114The Internship Experience .............................................................................................114Implications for Social Studies Teachers ............................................................................. 115Teaching for Democratic Citizenship ............................................................................ 115Wise Practice in an Age of Accountability ................................................................... 116Future Research ....................................................................................................................117APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT ......................................................................................................119B INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS ................................................................................................120C EXCERPTS FROM RAW DATA ........................................................................................123D SAMPLE FIELD NOTES .................................................................................................... 128E SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT .................................................................................................... 131
8 F SAMPLE ASSESSMENT-STUDENT WORK ................................................................... 132REFERENCE LIST .....................................................................................................................134BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................................143
9 Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education BEGINNING TEACHER BELIE FS AND WISE PRACTICES: A CASE STUDY OF A HIGH SCHOOL SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHER By Michele Seybert Phillips May 2009 Chair: Elizabeth Washington Major: Curriculum and Instruction This dissertation investigated the beliefs and practices of a novi ce high school social studies teacher through her first and second years as a classroo m teacher. Results of the study indicate that while her beliefs and goals chan ged little over time, her classroom practices changed and adapted to the school climate and to student needs. In addi tion, results of the study indicate that she was able to engage her students in powerful and e ffective social studies instruction, even in a high-stakes testing enviro nment. Also, because of current standardized testing requirements that focus on student achievement in reading and writing, As such, this teacher incorporated literacy skills, such as reading comprehension and writing, into her classroom to help meet school goals in thes e areas. Qualitative methods, including interviews, observations, and archival data, we re used to understand how this social studies teachers beliefs influenced her decision-making and classroom practice. Overall, th is study suggests that, despite the challenges that she encountered, this teacher pr acticed in ways that were consistent with her beliefs and that aligned with powerful a nd effective social studies practice.
10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION AND REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE Purpose of the Study Many educational researchers have exam ined the connection between teachers beliefs and classroom practices (e.g., Brownell, Y eager, Rennels & Riley, 1997; Cuban, 1984, 1986; Fang, 1996; Goodlad, 1984; Leming, 1989; Onos ko, 1989; Pajares, 1992; Sarason, 1996; Shulman, 1987; Thornton, 1991; Wilson, 2000; Wilson, Konopak & Readance, 1994). Such information can help researcher s better understand teacher practice. Indeed, educators are now beginning to realize that teachers (preservice teachers, beginning, or experienced) do hold implicit theories about students, the subjects th ey teach, and their teaching responsibilities (Fang, 1996, p. 51). Social studies research on teachers belie fs and practices tends to focus on the disciplinary background of the teacher or the contex tual factors of the school and classroom (see Hartzler-Miller, 2001; Wineburg & Wilson, 1988). Despite the f act that national curriculum standards are lacking in histor y, guidelines established by the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) (1994) provide an essential framework for uniting theory and practice (Wegner, 2004, p. 1). Specifically, NCSS has reco mmended specific powerful and effective social studies teaching practices that can be taught in k-12 classrooms. However, few studies specifically in the field of social studies educa tion research have examined teachers beliefs in relation to effectiv e teaching practices. The purpose of this study is to gain insight into how a beginning teachers beliefs and practices are influenced by the challenges she en counters in the classroom Nespor (1987) noted that, To understand teaching from teachers persp ectives, we have to understand the beliefs with which they define their work (p. 323). Teacher beliefs can de defined as the attitudes,
11 perspectives, and experiences, both personal and professional, that te achers bring with them into the classroom (Sturtevant, 1996). Understanding the teachers beli efs can provide insight into their decision making related to classroom practice, as beliefs often drive instructional decisions. In trying to capture the beliefs-to-practices c onnection that todays teachers face, Hargreaves (1995) stated that the teachers beliefs help in distinguishing between better and worse courses of action, rather than right and wrong ones (p.15) The beliefs-to-practices connection will be further discussed in this chapter. Statement of the Problem and Research Questions In an era of standardized te sting, teachers often feel tr apped and overwhelm ed, believing that they must use traditional, le cture-based methods to cover as much material as possible in a short amount of time (Sleeter, 2005; Yeager & Da vis, 2005). Moreover, teachers also may use instruction as a classroom mana gement technique, shying away from student-centered learning for fear of losing control (Van Hover & Yeager, 2004). Indeed, teachers beliefs are inextricably linked to their classroom practi ces, as preservice teachers ente r education programs convinced that good teaching is textbookand teachercentered (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005). Such a perspective on good teaching contrasts w ith the powerful and effective social studies teaching outlined by NCSS. According to Winebu rg and Wilson (1988), examples of exemplary teaching once were often hard to find in the prof essional literature; rather case studies tended to focus on typical or representative rather than exceptional or exemplary teachers. Consequently, case studies of powe rful and effective practices in social studies education have become more common, revealing wh at successful teachers are doing not only to enrich social studies curricula, but also to reach students in meaningful ways Nonetheless, few studies have specifically made the beliefs-practices connectio n. Thus, the current study examines the beliefs of a novice high school social stud ies teacher who is committed to powerful and effective social
12 studies teaching practices, as we ll as how her beliefs and the c ontextual factors of her school influence her classroom practices. In light of this goa l, the study seeks to address the following research questions: 1. What beliefs does a beginning teacher hol d about teaching and social studies education? 2. How do the teachers beliefs conn ect to her classroom practice? 3. What challenges does this teacher encounter in he r classroom? How do these challenges influence her classroom practice? Review of the Literature In order to highlight how an individuals background and understanding of teaching and learning influence how he or she implements clas sroom practice, it is essential to review the current literature in three speci fic areas: social studies teaching, including wise practices, beliefs and practices, and contextual factors. Reviewi ng the connection between beliefs and practice will provide insight into why the pa rticipant of the current study teaches in a particular way. Meanwhile, understanding novice teachers beliefs can provide insight in to the participating teachers classroom choices that go beyond the methods used to instruct. Indeed, by reviewing the literature on pedagogical decision making, this study seeks to better understand how teacher beliefs influence all aspects of the classroom. In addition, contextual factor ssuch as school demographics school climate, and student needscan also affect classroom practices. As such, literature relevant to the connection between context and teaching will be explored. Moreover, as the current study takes place in a social studies classroom and i nvolves a trained social studies teacher, it is important to understand the literature on social studies teaching and current lit erature on wise social studies practices. These four areas of literature serv e as the foundation of th is study and provide a framework for understanding the research questions.
13 Wise Practice in Soci al Studies Teaching Wisdom in Social Studies In their 1988 com parative case study of a beginning and an experienced high school history teacher, Wineburg and Wilson first proposed the idea of a wise practitioner. According to Wineburg and Wilson (1988), the two teachers were each able to altern ate between different teaching modes, thereby earning both the distin ction of wise practitioner as each adapted content and pedagogical knowledge according to st udents needs to create meaningful classroom experiences. Wineburg and Wilson (1988) noted th at, although epistemological differences may have existed between the teachers, they shared ke y characteristics that help define wisdom of practice. Their classrooms were organized, and students were expl icitly aware of a system of organization that enabled them to focus on th e instruction. In addition, each teacher was a content expert; both held a gr eat deal of knowledge about hist ory and were able to draw upon this knowledge to answer students questions. The teachers also possessed a broad general knowledge that enabled them to apply their knowle dge of history to more contemporary issues that students found interesting and relatable; as such, both teachers we re able to use their knowledge to develop students historical unde rstanding, building bridges between content and application. Both teachers viewed history as a huma n construct rather than an absolute truth or a judgment, which led them to encourage students to view history as a coll ection of puzzle pieces put together rather than a simple narrative. In terms of materials, the teachers were each able to draw upon multiple sources (textbook, primary docum ents, etc.) and did not rely exclusively on the textbook. They often introduced materials that countered points in the main text to encourage student inquiry. Finally, both te achers were able to utilize instructional methods that demonstrated their understanding of students ne eds, motivations, and abilities. Consequently,
14 students were engaged and learned both skills an d content. These ideas on wisdom of practice influenced the NCSS (1994) characteristics for pow erful and effective social studies teaching. Powerful and Effective Social Studies Teaching In 1993, NCSS released a statement1 to reaffirm the mission of social studies teaching and learning in relation to th e social studies goals of building social understanding and civic efficacy. This statement outlined five key features that are indicative of powerful social studies teaching and integrated the ideas thatas sc hools were facing unprecedented changesocial studies needed to restate its purpo se and goals to help guide curri cular and instructional decisions (NCSS statement, 1993). According to NCSS (19 93), these five key featuresnamely, that social studies teaching is powerful when it is m eaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and activeare of equal importance; no single feature should be c onsidered more important than any other. The first feature is that social studies instru ction must be meaningful to both teachers and students. Content should be chosen with regard to social understandi ng and civic efficacy; the methods of instruction should help students under stand how the content relates to these goals. The content should be meaningful to students in terms of famil y, community, and culture. Depth of coverage, with appropriate at tention to breadth of topic coverage as related to standards, should be emphasized while teaching should focus on important ideas of understanding, appreciation, and life app lication. No facts or cont ent should be taught in isolation; rather, all content should be embedded into, [n]etworks of knowledge, skills, beliefs, and attitudes that are structured around important ideas and taught emphasizing their connection and potential 1 National Council for the Social Studies, A vision of powerful teaching and learning in the social studies: Building social understanding and civic efficacy, retrieved September 15, 2007, from www.ncss.org.
15 applications (NCSS statement, 1993, p. 7). Teachers should be reflective in their planning and teaching to ensure that these social and civic goals are being met. The second feature is that social studies in struction is powerful when it is integrative. Integration may take many formsw ithin the content, across the curriculum, and within the use of available resources and technol ogies. As an educational discipline, social studies draws on the themes and ideas of the arts, humanities, literature, science, and mat h. Social studies is a construct of the human condition, incorporating cu rrent events and the lived experiences of the teacher and students. Powerful social studies helps students unde rstand and appreciate how the aspects of their world function in relation to their community and the United States as well as how history has influenced these spheres. In addi tion, powerful social studies is integrated across the curriculum, providing opportunities for st udents to understand how art and literature, communication, observations and measurements, di splays of data, and methods for conducting inquiry come together in school. The third feature is that social studies in struction is powerful when it is value-based. Social studies is ripe with topi cs that address moral, ethical, and controversial issues, which provide for reflective concern for the common good and the application of social values. The effective teacher is aware of his or her own va lues and how those values affect decision-making in terms of content, materials, questions, a nd assessments. The effec tive teacher creates a classroom environment in which students are able to a) become aware of the values, complexities, and dilemmas involved in an issue; b) consider the costs and benefits to the stakeholders embedded within a course of action; and c) develop well-reasoned positions consistent with democratic and social values. Esse ntial to this feature is that the teacher must cultivate an understanding of opposing views and show resp ect to well-supported ideas.
16 The fourth feature is that social studies instruction is powerful when it is challenging. This does not mean simply setting high goals and e xpectations and then leav ing students to work towards them. Rather, students should be challenged to come to grips with controversial issues, participate assertively but respectfully in disc ussions, and work productively with peers. The effective teacher uses methods of instruction that encourage thoughtfuln ess and seriousness of purpose in relation to the content and the goals of social understanding and civic efficacy. Teachers not only respect student views, but al so challenge students to fully articulate and support their ideas through we ll-reasoned argumentsnot just opinions expressed without thought. The fifth feature is that social studies in struction is powerful when it is active. An effective social studies teacher is reflective in planning and teaching, actively making curricular decisions that reflect students needs. Active soci al studies teachers are pa rtners in learning, not distributors of knowledge. They are able to respond to teachable moments as they arise in the class and in the community. Learning is active in this classroom, and the teacher is constantly monitoring students progress and adjusting the lesson as needed. The nature of social studies demands that powerful social studies teaching an d learning are both social and active, as civic efficacy requires that students and teachers work t ogether and use what is learned in an authentic way. The NCSS statement also supported social studies teachers, noting thatto meet students needs in learning to become active citizenssocial studies teachers needed time, support, and resources to teach social studies e ffectively in every grade (NCSS statement, 1993). Moreover, NCSS stated that social studies teach ers must be given the freedom and respect to
17 incorporate real-world, controversial topics as related to the go als of social understanding and civic efficacy (NCSS statement, 1993). Drawing from these five feat ures of powerful social studi es instruction as well as Wineburg and Wilsons (1988) asse rtions on wisdom of practice, Yeager (2000, 2005) and Davis (2005) developed a conceptual framework for thi nking about wise social studies practice. This framework draws upon previous res earch while taking into consideration the changing climate of education andmore specificall ysocial studies education. Wise Practice in the Teaching of Social Studies In October 2000, the Journal of Social Education dedicated almost an entire issue to wise practice in challenging classrooms. Edite d by Elizabeth Yeager, the articles documented the wise practices of teachers in challenging se ttings in relation to the 1993 NCSS statement and Shulmans (1987) statement on wisdom of practice. In a more recent work, Yeager and O. L. Davis (2005) extended this work on wise practice in their book Wise social studies teaching in an age of high-stakes testing: Essays on classroom practice and possibilities. Drawing from the 2000 and 2005 works, Yeager and Davis proposed se veral characteristics of wise practice. Teachers who demonstrate wise practice show a good grasp of both content knowledge and pedagogical content knowledge and are able to translate this in effective and interesting ways for students. For example, Barton (2005) de scribes a third-grade te acher who was aware of her students backgrounds and was ab le to integrate this information into lessons and activities in her classroom with thematic units such as ch ange or roots (p. 23). Noting the difficulties many students have in relating to geography, Black (2000) reported how two high school geography teachers connected music, art, and langua ge familiar to her stude nts to larger, global constructs, thereby enabling stud ents to process difficult spatial and cultural topics in a meaningful way while broadening their global perspectives (Black, 2000).
18 In addition, teachers who demonstrate wise pr actice show enthusiasm for their content, model intellectual curiosity, and inte ract with their students regardle ss of the form of instruction being used. Black (2000) noted how one of the te achers with whom she worked used a teaching technique called Advice from Amanda, during which student s were encouraged to ask questions about the content and th en follow up with a research pr oject to answer the students questions. Webeck, Salinas, and Field (2005) de scribed how a middle school teacher used a variety of interactive teaching methods that consistently cente red on her understanding that students are members of a classroom and a co mmunityboth of which should be supported by instruction. The practice of recogni zing and interacting with the children in class as both students and people is wise. Teachers whose demonstrate wise practice also promote critical thinking and/or problem solving appropriate to the disc ipline they are teaching. Libresco (2005) described how a fourth grade teacher encouraged her students to do the wo rk of historian/citize ns by asking them to read, interpret, and thin k critically about primary and second ary sources in hopes that they will be able to make informed judgments on persona l, community, national, and global issues as citizens in a deliberative and participatory democracy (p. 40) These skills move well beyond the lower-level rote memorization skills that have come to typify many elementary grades social studies instruction in a time of high stakes testing. Moreover, de spite the notion that inner-city, high-poverty schools are lacking due to limite d resources, Riley, Wilson, and Fogg (2000) describe one high school teacher who capitalized on being in the city by taking students to the local archives museum to engage in historical and law research using primary sources from their community. This level of critic al thinking and connection to th e community exemplifies wise
19 practice in a challenging setting. As Riley et al. (2000) indicated, wise practitioners are able to use meaningful materials that go beyond the textbook. Furthermore, teachers whose practice is wise are able to use a variety of instructional methods as well as determine which method is mo st appropriate for the content being taught and students needs. Skelar (2000) r ecognized how two teachers in Balt imore were able to integrate technology in an eighth grade social studies class. Recognizing st udents feelings of apathy and isolation, the teachers developed a collaborative lear ning activity that used the Internet to help students connect with their communities and underst and that they had the potential to become agents of social change. The teachers recognize d students needs and developed an appropriate and meaning method of instruction that promoted content and citizenship. Teachers in Librescos (2005) and Blacks (2000) work also demonstrat ed the importance of pedagogical knowledge in teaching social studies effectively, choosing met hods of instruction that met the content and students needs. Finally, teachers demonstrati ng wise practice ensure that st udents are learning important skills in addition to content, including read ing, writing, and basic research methodologies. Libresco (2005) illustrates this by describing the breadth of skills learned by fourth graders. Meanwhile, Skelar (2000) described how the effectiv e use of the Internet in a social studies class taught students an important skill and opened th em up to possibilities for activity in their communities that were previously unknown or misunderstood. These skills go beyond social studies content and help prepare stud ents for their role as citizens. These characteristics of wise practice clearl y illustrate how pedagogical content knowledge and powerful social studies teaching are possible in elementary, middle, and high schools. Content knowledge, understanding of student s needs, and the ab ility to use methods
20 that engage students and make learning relevant should characterize each teacher. In addition, each teacher should possess an understanding that schooling and social studies have a greater purpose beyond simply memorizing facts. Rather, teachers should aim to prepare students for local, national, and global citizenshipa goal th at should guide instructional decision making. Social Studies Teaching NCSS2 states that the goal of social studies educators is to promote the content knowledge, intellectual skills, and civic values necessa ry to participate as an active citizen in a participatory democracy. Although this goal is ge nerally agreed upon, some debate has emerged regarding what constitutes a good citizen or whethe r social studies alone should be responsible for all aspects of this goal (Grant & VanSle dright, 1996). According to Grant (2003), these competing visions affect social studies teach ers pedagogical choices in several ways: Knowledgeable about the past focuses on deep knowledge and application of the past, especially American accomplis hments, heroes, and struggles Able to analyze current situations using social studies methods focuses on the power of social studies concepts and methods as ways to organize and extend ones understanding of social situations A reflective thinker focuses on inquiry into and assessment of cultural beliefs, actions, values, and policies with an eye toward c onsequences, implications, and alternatives Committed to social action focuses the extension of ones beliefs and values into actions A teachers beliefs about one or more of these ideas on citizenship may determine the extent to which it is expressed in the classroom through content decisions and methods of instruction (Grant, 2003)a situation that further highlights how teachers beliefs affect their role as instructional gatekeepers in the classroom (Fickel, 2000; Grant, 2003; Hess, 2004; Merryfield, 1993). For example, a teacher who believes that ci tizenship equates to knowledge of the past 2 National Council for the Social Studies, Mission statement, retrieved June 18, 2008, from www.socialstudies.org
21 might focus on American events and heroes by us ing lectures and tests to check for knowledge; meanwhile, a teacher equates it to activism might focus on community and policy by using current events, class discussions, and student-cen tered learning with a goal of change (Grant, 2003). The goal of both teachers remains the samegood citizenshipbut their beliefs and pedagogical content knowledge me diate how that shared goal becomes classroom practice. Adapting Preservice Training According to Barton and Levstik (2004), teacher beli efs will not change sim ply through transmission; rather, teachers must be provided opportunities to discover the power of a more transformative classroom experience in social studies so as to reach such conclusions themselves. Accordingly, many teacher education programs have begun to focus less on technical issues related to teaching and more on helping teachers evaluate social studies education, consider alternative perspectives on th e subject, and being part of a community that takes such actions seriously, thereby minimizing the feeling of isolation that limits such practices. To help teacher educators evaluate their pr ograms of study, NCSS (1994) identified four key characteristics necessary for a successful, transformative preservice program grounded in the notion thatif the theory-to-practice gap can be closedclassroom practice can change (Sevier, 2005; Wegner, 2004). First, exemplary social stud ies teacher programs develop skills, concepts, and generalizations necessary to understand the sweep of human affairs. The focus on skills and concepts rather than content allows for preservi ce teachers to become connected with content in a meaningful waynot just focusing on a particular method of instruction. Second, exemplary social studie s teacher programs appreciate the benefits of diversity and community, the value of widespread economi c opportunity, and the contributions that people of both genders and the full range of ethnic, raci al, and religions groups have made to society.
22 This characteristic of a successf ul social studies program is important for two reasons. It addressed the cultural disconnect that may occur between teacher and student, as previously discussed. Moreover, Loewen (1995) notes that African American, Native American, and Latino students view history with a special dis likeStudents dont even know they are alienated, only that they dont like Social Studies or arent any good at historyAnd in college, most students of color give history depa rtments a wide berth (p. 11). However, in his study on culturally relevant pedagogy in a college history classroom, Branch (2005) observed Dr. Johnsona prof essor known on campus fo r his practicewho developed his lessons around a culturally relevant framework and construct them to specifically incorporate the diverse backgrounds of his students. Minority en rollment was higher in these particular courses, and student s were responsive and engaged (Branch, 2005). This opportunity to be engaged in history allowed preservice teachers to think a bout teaching social studies in a way that was powerful and effectiv e with a diverse group of students. Such an experience has the potential to change beliefs and, ultimately, classroom practice. According to the third characteristics iden tified by NCSS, exemplary social studies teacher programs help teachers become ready and willing to contribute to public policy formation. This characteristic spec ifically addresses social studie s educations goal of preparing students to be active members in a democra tic society (Barber, 1998; Parker, 2003). By preparing teachers to become active citizens, they willin tur nbe prepared to teach in a manner that enables students to develop these same skills. Finally, exemplary social studie s teacher programs help preser vice teachers acquire ways of managing conflict that are c onsistent with democratic proc edure. This characteristic specifically addresses Pajares (1992) research, which notes that teacher beliefs influence all
23 areas of the classroomnot just the content taug ht. By integrating clas sroom management ideas with effective social studies teaching in th is fourth characteristic, NCSS addresses the development of pedagogical decision-making skills that a teacher needs in order to be successful. Content does not stand alone in the classroom; ra ther, school is an inte grated experience that combines social, political, and c ontent factors into a unique classr oom experience. By explicitly connecting social studies core values with classroom manageme nt, preservice teachers have the opportunity to think about both facets of the classroom in a more holistic way. Shulmans Model of Pedagogical Reasoning Shulm an (1986) developed his Model of Pedagogical Reasoning to help explain teachers development process by comparing the skills and knowledge between expert (long-term classroom experience) and novice (beginning or pr eservice) teachers. Shulman (1986) suggested that certain sources of knowledge exist from which teachers draw while preparing for and teaching a lesson, which he identified as c ontent knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, curricular knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, knowledge of aims and purposes, and knowledge of educational context. Of these, pe dagogical content knowledge is perhaps the most important in helping understand the transition from novice to expert teacher, as pedagogical content knowledge is [b]oth built with and builds upon content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, and knowledge of the le arners (Shulman, 1987, p. 60). According to Shulman (1987), pedagogical c ontent knowledge differentiates the teacher from the content expert; as such, it is the mo st essential element of teacher knowledge. Using Shulmans model, researchers in the field of social studies have examin ed practicing teachers development of pedagogical content knowle dge. Some studies have focused on the transformation of subject knowledge to pedagogical content knowledge (see Lee, 2000; van Hover & Yeager, 2003, 2004, 2007; Wineburg & Wilson, 1988), while other studies have
24 examined how teacher beliefs influence the de velopment of pedagogical content knowledge (see Hartzler-Miller, 2002; Thornton, 2001). Some have criticized Shulmans work, calli ng his proposed model and the definition of pedagogical content knowledge too cognitive and rational to fully capture the essence of teaching (see Smyth, 1992; Sockett, 1987). S hulman (1992) responded by adding two new dimensions to his work on teachingnamely, morality and responsibilitywhich he subsequently termed the missing paradigm. S hulman (1992) noted that the moral choices that teachers make on what to teach is as important as how th ey decide to teach. In addition, he asserted that recognizing the re sponsibility for effective deci sion-making is the hallmark of a good teacher (Shulman, 1992). Pedagogical Content Knowledge and the Teaching of History W ithin the field of social studies, the teachi ng of history has been more closely examined than any other subjectoften with much de bate. Barton and Levstik (2004) note that, [e]ducators, politicians, and everyday citizen s throughout the world wo rry about how history supports or subverts national and ethnic iden tity, how it increases hatred or promotes reconciliation, and how it props up repressive regimes or mobiliz es reform (p. 1). Meanwhile, history teachers are left to navi gate this potential minefield by making classroom decisions about what to teach and how. As a result, history is often taught as a linear gr oup of factsdevoid of inquiry or debateto ensure the pretense of ne utrality in the classroom (Barton & Levstik, 2004; Loewen, 1995). However, in schools of education, history teachers are encouraged to stretch the boundaries of traditional classroom practice (i.e., lectures, notes, textbook readings) and use methods that engage students in historical i nquiry, historical empat hy, and perspective taking (see Barton & Levstik, 2004; Kobrin, 1996; va n Hover & Yeager, 2003; VanSledright, 2002).
25 The use of these less traditional approaches relies on the beginning history teachers pedagogical content knowledge. In other words, teachers must utilize their content knowledge and understanding of history to learn effective methods for teaching such knowledge in ways that are consistent with making history meaningful for students (Shulman, 1996; van Hover & Yeager, 2003; VanSledright, 1996). Beginning History Teachers One of the challenges in helping beginni ng history teachers develop pedagogical content knowledge involves getting them to think about hi story in a different wa y. Rather than thinking about content knowledge as something learned, begi nning teachers have to th ink about history in terms of appropriate pedagogy. According to Gudmundsdottir (1991), this shift is the primary difference between expert teachers and novice teacher s; expert teachers are better able to think about the curricular b ig picture rather than i ndividual pieces of content. The challenge in social studies teacher education lies in [g]etting students to think about the subject matter they have to teach in terms of their pedagogi cal content, not subject conten t (p. 69). VanSledright (1996) referred to this challenge as an inability to ma ke an ontological switch from subject matter knowledge to the teaching of history to studentsor the teachers inability to reconsider what history might be. The limited time spent in teacher education programs may inhibit beginning teachers ability to make such a switch, as most teacher training programs met hods courses last for a single semester. Teachers enter such classes trai ned as historians, not t eachers; their lack of pedagogical knowledge makes such a switch diffic ult until they acquire more classroom (or pedagogical) experience (Gudmundsdottir, 1991; VanSledright, 1996). As such, the content knowledge required of social studies teachers shoul d perhaps be rethought, as teachers receive a liberal arts education that does not always align with the goals of effective social studies teaching
26 (Thornton, 2001). Thornton (2001) suggests that teacher education move toward a more integrated methods-content program to prom ote pedagogical content knowledge in beginning teachers, reducing teachers stress associated with making the ontological switch from history student to history teacher. Teacher Beliefs and Practices Shaping Teacher Beliefs Beliefs about what constitu tes good teaching are often formed early in teachers lives when they themselves are students (DarlingHammond & Bransford, 2005; Lortie, 1975). People who choose to become teachers were often successf ul students themselves, which has resulted in the persistence of traditional instructional methods (Bar ton & Levstik, 2002; Hammerness, Darling-Hammond, Bransford, Berliner, CochranSmith, McDonald, & Zeichner, 2005; Skelar, 1998). In describing what has been termed the a pprenticeship of observation, Lortie (1975) noted that, Students do not receive invitati ons to watch the teachers performance through the wings; they are not privy to the t eachers private intentions and personal reflections on classroom events. Students rarely participate in selecting goals, making preparations or postmortem analysis. Thus they are not pr essed to place the teachers actions in a pedagogically oriented framework (p. 62). Consequently, much attention is paid to teachers qualitiesnamely, caring, supportive natureswith little reflection on the role of social context, subject matter, or pedagogical knowledge in influencing teaching (Paine, 1990; Sugrue, 1996). Yet teacher beliefs tend to influence all aspects of the classroom, incl uding discipline, management, and curriculum selection (Pajares, 1992; van Hover & Yeager, 2004). Indeed, Barton and Levstik (2004) note that mu ch educational research over the last 20 years has focused on [g]etting inside of teachers heads to explain how they make the decisions that determine classroom practice (pp. 245-24 6). The authors work is grounded in the
27 assumption that teachers are the ones ultimately responsible for what goes on in the classroom and what information is taught or not taught. Thornton (1998) refers to this as classroom gatekeeping, where teachers serve as brokers of knowledge and experiences for the students in their classrooms. In an effort to understand what American teachers believe, Slater (2008) analyzed surveys gathered by the Nationa l Opinion Research Center, h oused at the University of California, and noted the conservative views he ld by most American teachers. For example, compared to the general populati on, teachers tended to be more conservative on social issues (e.g., abortion, religion, free speech). Slater (2008) suggested that perhaps teacher demographics helped explain this phenomenon, as a majority of elementary and sec ondary teachers are middle class females, creating a rather homogeneous t eacher population in terms of gender, race, and socioeconomic status. The homogeneity of the teach ing force is drastically different than the increasingly diverse student popul ation, which often result in a gender, cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic chasm between the classrooms that most teachers experience during their K-12 education as well as the classrooms in whic h they will teach (Dar ling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005; Howard, 2005; Meyer & Patton, 1998; Niet o, 2005). The homogeneity of the teaching force as well as teachers backgrounds helps shed light on why little has changed in classroom practice despite changes in student needs. Having come form similar backgrounds, these teachers had similar K-12 schooling, which, regardless of t eacher preparation programs, translate into classroom practices that mirror the traditiona l teaching methods which they experienced as students (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005; Howard, 2005; Me yer & Patton, 1998; Nieto, 2005). In the context of social studies teaching, the impact of the resulting limited instructional methods may be significant, as traditional social st udies teaching tends to focus on a limited,
28 linear view of history and world events that excludes women and minorities, discourages alternative viewpoints, and shie s away from controversial topics (Loewen, 1995; Nash, 1994; Skelar, 1998; Soley, 1996). Although the type of school at tended, cultural views of edu cation, and parental influence also play key roles in sh aping teacher beliefs (Wilson, Readence, & Konopak, 2002), an educators experiences and beliefs are central to the classroom choices he or she makes. According to Fang (1996), [e]ducators are now be ginning to realize that teachers (preservice teachers, beginning, or experienced) do hold implicit theories about students, the subjects they teach, and their teaching responsibilities (p. 51). Preservice programs have begun to address beginning teachers ideas specifica lly. However, teachers concep t of good teaching is often so ingrained that, even after successfully completing a teacher education program that focuses on a variety of classroom practices, teachers often re vert to more comfortable and teacher-centered methods of instruction (Darli ng-Hammond & Bransford, 2005). Pedagogical Content Knowledge and Teacher Decision-Making In a study on learning to teach writing, Gro ssman, Valencia, Evans, Thompson, Martin, and Place (2000) followed a group of 10 teachers for a 3-year period, beginning with their preservice experience and ending after their second year as classroom teachers. As the current study examines the beliefs and practices of a novice teacher over this same three-year period of development, Grossman et al.s (2000) study ma y provide insights during the data analysis. Grossman et al. (2000) discusse d the tension between theory a nd practice, teacher preparation, and the day-to-day classroom experience, focusing in particular on what remained with teachers once they had left their programs and entered th e classroom. The study found that teachers were more likely to use conceptual t ools that were given a practical application in a classroom;
29 moreover, full integration of any change in belie fs into classroom practice takes three years to become evidentfrom preservice through the firs t two years in the classroom. Shulman (1986, 1987) refers to this transformative period of development in a novice teacher as the development of pedagogical content knowledge. Goals and Decision-Making In Teaching History for the Common Good Barton and Levstik (2004) explored a number of possibilitiesnamely, context, peer pressure, and trainingthat might explain why teachers often teach in ways that are inconsistent with their preservice program teachings. In trying to understand why certain practices continue to persis t in classrooms, the authors suggested that a teachers goals are perhaps more important than contextual factors and pedagogical content knowledge (Barton & Levs tik, 2004). Citing the works of VanSledright (1996), McDiarmand (1994), and van Hover and Yeager (2003), Barton and Levstik (2004) argued thateven when strong pedagogical content knowledge is presentteachers continue to teach in ways that are inconsistent with best practice (e.g., collaborat ive learning) if their classroom goals (e.g., quiet and orderly) differ. For example, Fickel (2000) found that a high school history teachers beliefs regarding the purpose of teaching (i.e., his goals for teach ing) had a greater influence on his pedagogical decisions in the classroom than his content knowledge or pedagogical knowledge. For instance, one of the teachers goals was to develop a se nse of citizenship in his students, which was reflected in his teaching by his decision to in corporate community issues and choice in the classroom in order to empower students to become more involved (Fickel, 2000). Although in this case the teachers goals were consistent w ith the pedagogy taught in social studies teacher
30 training programs, distinguishing between goals and pedagogical content knowledge may help explain why teachers make the choices they do regardless of their preservice education. Van Hover and Yeagers (2007) recent study on a high school hi story teacher found evidence that goals do indeed drive teachers de cision-making practices. The teacher in their study was a vivacious, popular second-year high school history teacher who was the strongest student in her class in an in tensive masters/certification program (van Hover & Yeager, 2007, p. 671). The teacher was able to clearly articulate historical inquiry a nd historical thinking approaches learned in her program; however, he r teaching was based on lecture activities that allowed her to present her own interpretations of history and to control the conclusions she thought her students should draw from the materi al (p. 671). Most notab ly, the teachers main goal in teaching did not align with the goals taught in her teacher education program (i.e., citizenship, democracy); rather, it reflected he r own personal beliefs regarding her life, the content, and the students. The teacher was more concerned covering the material and controlling the classroom than with deve loping the skills deemed impor tant by her teacher education program that signify a growth in pedagogical content knowledge. Decision-Making a nd Teacher Beliefs Shulm an (1992) noted that teach ers are ultimately responsible for the decisions made in their classrooms. Indeed, the lite rature on teacher education consis tently connects teacher beliefs and classroom practice, highlig hting one way in which beliefs influence how classroom decisions are made (see Darling-Hammond & Br ansford, 2005; Fang, 1996; Lortie, 1975). In relation to social studies teachi ng, Hartzler-Miller (2001) found th at teachers often enter social studies teacher education programs with a narrat ive of history construc ted and based on their personal life experiences. This belief of what hist ory is subsequently guides the teachers choice in regards to what to teach in history (Hartzler-Miller, 2001).
31 For example, van Hover and Yeager (2003) found that, although a beginning history teacher completed a methods course that encourag ed historical inquiry and the use of primary sources, once in the classroom, this teacher relied on lecture and textbook outlines to teach history. The participant wa s able to discuss the methods taught in her teacher preparation course; however, these methods did not operationalize in the classroo m (van Hover & Yeager, 2003). Furthermore, the participant tended to draw conclusions for her students and positively reward students who agreed with her. When asked about her teaching, th e participant stated that sh e taught in ways that were consistent with her teacher trai ningdespite the fact that this was not observed (van Hover & Yeager, 2003). However, the participant did teach in ways that were consistent with her beliefs about the purpose of teaching historynamely, ins till a sense of pride and reveal the truth (van Hover & Yeager, 2003). In terms of Shulmans (1986) pedagogical content knowledge, this teacher did not access the pedagogical choices ava ilable or perhaps the needs of the students. Van Hover and Yeager replicated their 2003 stud y in 2004 with three second-year high school teachers. In each case, the teachers beliefsnot the knowledge of best practices in social studiesdrove the decision-making in the classroom. The interplay among teacher beliefs, cont ent knowledge, and personal biography is intriguinghow do beginning teachers devel op pedagogical content knowledge when their beliefs about the purpose of school do not necessa rily align with their experiences and their program? Here again, the teacher relies on personal experience and beliefs rather than a teacher education program to make classroom deci sions on content and pedagogy (Hartzler-Miller, 2001). This situation underscores Shulmans (1992) research on the morality associated with teaching and decisions teachers make based on their morals.
32 Beliefs about Students In duplicating their 2003 resu lts in their 2004 study, Van Hover and Yeager found that participantsin addition to individual beliefs about teaching and the purpose of historystated that beliefs about students and students abiliti es drove pedagogical d ecision-making (van Hover & Yeager, 2004). However, the researchers interpreted this conn ection negatively as the teachers discussed choices based on students behavior and inabilities rath er than potential abilities in the learning of history (van Hover & Yeager, 2004). Indeed, teachers beliefs about student ability and engagement influence instructional choi ces (Grant, 2003; Hess, 2005; Johnson & Birkeland, 2004; van Hover & Yeager, 2004). Even when confr onted with statistics on student achievement before entering the classroom, beginning teachers are often surprised by students low skill level (Johnson & Birkeland, 2004). Once this low skill level is assessed, teachers often continue to teach low-level skills and ro te memorization instead of e ngaging students in higher-level thinking skills, believing students in capable of learning such skills. Van Hover and Yeager (2004) noted that be ginning history teachers shied away from historical inquiry and critical-thinking skills in the classroom, believing th at students could not learn from these approaches. More specificall y, the teachers in the study mentioned student academic levels, backgrounds, and maturity leve ls as reasons for using more traditional, lectured-based instruction rather than the student-centered met hods advocated by their preservice programs (van Hover & Yeager, 2004). Hess (20 05) found that perceive d student ability and perceived student effort often deterred history teachers from engaging in class discussions again leading to lecture-based classroom met hods in which the teacher draws historical conclusions for students instead of students being asked to draw conclusions for themselves (Hess, 2005). Grant (2003) found that history teac hers may misinterpret the lack of students
33 content knowledge as a lack of teachers own ab ility, consequently choosing methods that focus on content (e.g., lecture, note-ta king) rather than skills. The First Year Research suggests that a teachers first year in the classroom can have a profound effect on his or her beliefs (Barton & Levstik, 2004; Hargreaves, 1995; van Hover & Yeager, 2007). Although most novice teachers believe they unders tand the goings-on in a classroom, once the realities of the day-to-day res ponsibilities of teaching set in, te achers can feel overwhelmed. As a result, teachers come to resist the methods of in struction learned in their preservice programs and revert to previously held beliefs and practices that feel safe and familiar (Featherstone, 1992; Hargreaves, 1995). Thornton (1998) not ed that, once teachers fall into a routine as instructional gatekeepers, little change in beliefs or practic es will occur. Educational reforms and pressures related to the accountability moveme nt reinforce beliefs about the effectiveness of more teachercentered practices, aiding in the persistence of these practices (B arton & Levstik, 2004; Burroughs, 2000). Moreover, as teac hers are often left out of discussions on reform and accountability, they come to resent these changes a nd, in an attempt to rema in in control of their classrooms, reject reform (Cuban, 1986). Consequen tly, reform often has little effect on teachers day-to-day practice (Cuban, 1986). This tension may provide in sight into the beliefs and practices of a beginning social studies teacher in an age of sta ndardized testing. Contextual Factors According to Barton an d Levstik (2004), [ to] understand why teachers engage in the practices they do, perhaps we need to turn to the socially situated pur poses that drive their actions (p. 244). As previously discussed, professional acceptance affects how novice teachers teach, as it is more likely that they will follow a more traditional pedagogy in order to gain the approval of their peers (Barton & Levstik, 2004; Yeager & Wilson, 1997) In addition, novice
34 teachers tend to shy away from less tradi tional pedagogy while school administrators and teachers are less likely to support teachers w ho choose less traditional teaching methods (Barton & Levstik, 2004; Sleeter, 2005). Such social i ssues may influence a novice teachers willingness to use the less traditi onal methods learned in preservice programs. In addition to the social issues novice teacher s face, they often must contend with heavy workloads, multiple preparations, and limited inst ructional resourcesall of which may interfere with their classroom practice (Van Hover & Ye ager, 2004). In todays era of standardized testing, teachers often feel tr apped and overwhelmed, believing th at they must use traditional, lecture-based methods to cover as much material as possible in a short amount of time (Sleeter, 2005; Yeager & Davis, 2005). Moreover, teach ers also use instruction as a classroom management technique, shying away from student -centered learning for fe ar of losing control (Van Hover & Yeager, 2004). Organizational and School Context Schools structure and functions have change d dramatically over the last few decades. Todays schools serve multiple roleswhich previous generations did not have to addressto an increasingly diverse group of students (Grant, 2003; Johnson & Birkeland, 2004). Legislation such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind has exponentially increased teachers responsibilit ies and paperwork (Johnson & Birkeland, 2004), influencing organizational aspect s of schools and districts, whic h have been forced to choose curriculum materials and professi onal development oppor tunities that may or may not support a teachers beliefs or pedagogical c hoices (Grossman et al., 2000). Meanwhile, teachers face organizational norms that put additional constraints on their autonomy, such as choice of textbook and grad ing requirements (Grant, 2003). This lack of autonomy often results in fewer collegial conversations related to teaching and learning, which
35 can lead to feelings of isol ation, stagnation, and alienation (Grant, 2003). In Van Hover and Yeagers (2004) study of novice history teachers, each participating teacher commented on the overall lack of support from administration and ot her social studies teachers in the department. One participant noted that the structure of th e department and the schoolin which beginning teachers had a mentor teacher for supportactua lly led to new teachers being shunned or met with hostility if they were using methods of instruction that differed from those of their colleagues (van Hover & Yeager, 2004). In some instances, the teachers in this study reported changing their practices in ways th at were inconsistent with their beliefs in order to fit in with their peers (van Hover & Yeager, 2004). However, a study by Lawrence (2005) found that when schools were organized in ways that encouraged collegial collaboration and fo cused on student learning, school administrators encouraged teachers to use more innovative t eaching methods (i.e., advancing antiracist, multicultural pedagogy and curriculu m) to meet student needs. Consequently, teachers reported feeling empowered and able to teach in ways that were consistent with their beliefs and goals (Lawrence, 2005). Thus, school structure and a lack of autonomy can have significant impacts on the methods teachers use in the classroom. Testing and School Context In addition, changes in the education al la ndscape over the last decade have greatly impacted the school context. The No Child Left Behind legislation enacted in 2001 required every state to move toward a high stakes, stan dardized test-based accountability system to monitor student progress and grade school performance (Johnson & Birkeland, 2004). Scripted curricula and lower-level learning skills are bein g emphasized in the classroom, as teachers are either encouraged or feel pressured into teachi ng to the test, thus perpetuating what Apple (1986) termed the deprofessionalization of teachers. As such, The test is the curriculum, and instruction
36 is controlled by the imperative to raise test scores, (Neill & Guisbond, 2005, p. 31). Ultimately, todays teachers are grappling with pressures unforeseen by pr evious generations of teachers often without the support and materials necessa ry to successfully teach (Johnson & Birkeland, 2004). As a result, teachers are leav ing their careers in droves, with over 50 percent leaving after just 5 years in the classroom (Johnson & Birkeland, 2004). High teacher turnover makes it difficult to forge successful learning communitie s in schools, which further undermines teacher morale and efficacy (Darling-Hammond & Br ansford, 2005; Johnson & Birkeland, 2004). The original No Child Left Behind legisl ation did not incorporate measures of accountability in social studies; mo reover, although more than half of the states do test social studies, Florida is not one of them. As a result, many schools in Florida are de-emphasizing social studies (Henning & Yendol-Hoppey, 2004; Neill & Guisbond, 2005; Yendol-Hoppey & Tilford, 2004). Indeed, in many of Floridas elementary schools, social studies has all but disappeared from the curriculum, as teachers ar e encouraged to focus on math and reading to increase test scores (Henning & Yendol -Hoppey, 2004; Yendol-Hoppey, Jacobs, & Tilford, 2005; Yendol-Hoppey & Tilford, 2004). Despite this disappearance of social studies in elementary schools, Florida high school students are still required to complete three cred its in social studiesw orld history, American history, and American government and economics3. However, the nature and the quality of social studies instruction has changed, as secondary social studies teachers are often implicitly and explicitly encouraged to use their classrooms to help prepare students for standardized tests in other subjects by testing in a way that mimics standardized testing a nd integrating literacy skills into social studies in struction (Knighton, 2003; Neill & Guisbond, 2005). This situation has 3 The south Department of Education (www.fldoe.org)
37 created a climate in which powerful social stud ies instruction is difficultif not impossible (Yeager, 2005). Factors Inhibiting the Use of a Variety of Practices In trying to understand this phenom enon of reverting to these ingrained beliefs, researchers have turned to th e field experience aspect of the preservice program (see Armento, 1996; Henning & Yendol-Hoppey, 2004; Owens, 1997). Preservice teachers are frequently placed in classrooms that mirro r their own schooling experiences creating a theory-to-practice disconnect that may undermine potential gains made in a preservice program (Armento, 1996; Leming, 1992; Owens, 1997). This pattern often conti nues into teachers firs t years of teaching; once out of the college environment, the desire to belong to the school community begins to overpower the notion of more progressive cl assroom practice (Malle tte & Readence, 1999; Wilson, 2000). Indeed, the need for professional acceptanc e makes it more likely that teachers will follow a more traditional pedagogy in order to gain the approval of their peers (Barton & Levstik, 2004; Yeager & Wilson, 1997). Novice teachers tend to shy away from less traditional pedagogy while school administrators and teachers are less likely to supp ort teachers who choose less traditional teaching methods (Barton & Levsti k, 2004; Sleeter, 2005). Such social issues may influence a novice teachers willingness to apply the less traditional methods learned in preservice programs in their classrooms. As such, educational stakeholdersteachers, parents, politiciansoften advocate for neutral or bias -free teaching, which can discourage student and teacher inquiry in the classroom; however, a growi ng body of research notes that such teaching is simply not possible (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005; Fang, 1996; Grauerholz, 2007; Skelar, 2006; Slater, 2008). In addition to these social issues, teachers must often contend with
38 heavy workloads, multiple preparations, and limited instructional resourcesall of which may interfere with their classroom pr actice (Van Hover & Yeager, 2004). Summary Current research suggests that teach er belief s are formed early in teachers educational experiences and seldom change. These beliefs heavily influence classr oom practice, including methods of instruction and selected content. To gain insight into teachers practice and decisions, a researcher must understand teachers beliefs, including background and cultural understandings. Despite this strong connection, teach ers may adopt methods that are inconsistent with their beliefs. The literature on contextual factors notes that external pressures, school climate, and school organization often affect how teachers practiceparticularly for beginning teachers, who are seeking collegial acceptance. The literature also notes a strong connection between teachers goals and practi ce. Teachers are often able to cl early articulate their goals for teaching and choose methods to meet these goals, even when the methods are inconsistent with teachers stated beliefs. Some evidence suggests that experience can change teachers beliefs and, as a result, their practice. In 1993, NCSS identif ied the four elements of an effective teacher education program designed to encourage innovative practi ce. These elements noted the importance of a meaningful field experience duri ng which novice teachers are suppor ted when trying a variety of methods. In this same report, NCSS put forth the five characteristics of powerful and effective social studies teaching and learning. Drawing from the works of Shulman (1987) and from social studies goal of preparing students to become citizens in a participatory democracy, NCSS asserted that social studies teaching and learning are powerful when they are meaningful, integrative, value-based, chal lenging, and active. With these five characteristics in mindand Wineburg and Wilsons (1988) call for case studies on the wisdom of practice of effective
39 teachersYeager (2000, 2005) and Davis (2005) put together a series of essays that provided examples of wise practice in social studies education. Contributions to the Field Upon updating the handbook of research on soci al studies education, Levstik and Tyson (2008) noted the need f or longitudinal case studies in social studies educ ation on teacher beliefs and practices, particularly as novice teachers transition from th e university classroom to K-12 classroom. The current study seeks to specifically fill this void, as the research questions are designed to gain access to the participants beliefs and observe d classroom practices through her first and second years in a high school history cl assroom. In addition, the current study seeks to address the need, noted by Wineburg and Wilson (1988) and Yeager (2000, 2005), for rich case studies on powerful and effective social studies teaching. More specifically, this case study follows up on the work of Gudmundsdottir a nd Shulman (1987) on pedagogical content knowledge and teacher practice, but with a focus on effective social studies practice rather than social studies subject knowledge. By examining th e beliefs and practices of a beginning teacher, this study may inform preservice teacher educati on programs, with partic ular attention to the beliefs and dispositions of an effective teacher. Limitations This study is limited by the amount of access granted by the teacher to her beliefs and instructional practices. This study is also limited by the context, as it takes place in one school with one teacher participant. As with all qualitative case study research, the current study is limited in its generalizability to other teachers and classroomsalthough it can potentially provide insight for teachers that may prove be neficial in the field of social studies.
40 Description of the Chapters This dissertation will be re ported in the traditional form at. Chapter 1 introduces the purpose of the study and reviews th e relevant literature, with pa rticular attention to powerful social studies practice as outlined by NCSS (1994 ) and the work of Yeager (2000) and Yeager and Davis (2005) regarding wise social studies practice. Chapter 2 describes the methods, including information on participants and their settings, sampling rationale, the research design, and the process used to analyze the data. Chapte r 3 reports research findings and themes that emerge. Chapter 4 summarizes the findings, ma kes recommendations to support powerful and effective social studies teaching and wise practices, suggests directions for future research, and provides conclusions about teac hers beliefs and practices.
41 CHAPTER 2 METHODS AND METHODOLOGY Review of the Purpose of the St ud y and Statement of the Problem This study aims to examine the beliefs and practices of a high school social studies teacher who has been identified through observa tion by university faculty and instructors as using powerful and effective methods for teaching so cial studies. The lite rature in the area of powerful and effective social studies teaching me thods suggests a lack of rich, contextualized case studies that examine the beliefs and practic es of effective social studies teachers (see Wineburg & Wilson, 1988; Yeager, 2000; Yeager, 2005). The current study seeks to help fill this void in social studies research through the us e of a case study within the classroom of an effective social studies teacher. Based on this purpose, the current study w ill utilize qualitative methods and methodology to build on existing research while providing an in-depth understanding of an individuals beliefs. Merriam (1998) notes [q]ualitative research is designed to induc tively build knowledge rather than to test concepts, hypot heses, and theories (p. 45). Such an approach is appropriate for achieving the above-stated goals. Moreover, the study of an individuals understanding and beliefs aligns with constructivism, a guiding theory recognized within qualitative research (Crotty, 2003; Hatch, 2002). Using this theoreti cal orientation as a guide, the current study addresses the following research questions: 1. What beliefs does a beginning teacher hol d about teaching and social studies education? 2. How do the teachers beliefs conn ect to her classroom practice? 3. What challenges does this teacher encounter in he r classroom? How do these challenges influence her classroom practice?
42 Theoretical Orientation Constructivism Constructivism is the belief that kno wledge is createdor constructedthrough experience and interactio n (Crotty, 2003; Schwandt, 1994). Cons tructivism is not a singular set of beliefs or methods; rather it is a guide used to provide researchers with a general direction, giving what Schwandt (1994) calls, directions along which to look rather than d escriptions of what to see (p. 221). As this study focuses on individual perceptions and beliefs, constructivism is used to guide the methods and methodologies in an effort to examine the research questions. Constructivism relies on the unique experien ces of each of us suggesting that each ones way of making sense of the world is as vali d and worthy of respect as any other (Hatch, 2002, p. 58). In constructivist research, it is unde rstood that knowledge is a human construction. Such research relies on the researcher understanding and reporting how the participant constructs meaning (Hatch, 2002). As subject and objectnamely, the researcher and participantinteract, the interpretation and interacti ons form meaning (Crotty, 2003). Consequently, constructivism is subjective, relying on the interaction and meaningmaking of individuals to arrive at an agreed upon truth based on the interaction and the experience (Hatch, 2002; Schwandt, 1994). According to Schwandt (1994), Constructivis ts are deeply committed to the contrary view that what we take to be objective knowledge and truth is the result of perspective, (p. 125). Constructivist qualitative research seeks to make sense of and interpret the meanings that others make of the world (Creswell, 2007). As such, constructivist inquiry is based on individual experiences and a description of the world as each individual understands it (Schwandt, 1994). This is particularly noteworthy as the current study focuses on how a specific teacher constructs meaning from his understandings and experiences as well as how these influence his classroom practice. In addition, the study examines how an i ndividuals beliefs about social studies as well
43 as powerful and effective social studies teachingas outlined by NCSSinfluence his classroom practice. Beliefs and Practices The connection between teacher beliefs a nd classroom practices has been examined throughout educational research (Brownell, Yeager, Rennels & Riley, 1997; Cuban, 1984, 1986; Fang, 1996; Goodlad, 1984; Leming, 1989; Onos ko, 1989; Pajares, 1992; Sarason, 1996; Shulman, 1987; Thornton, 1991; Wilson, 2000; Wilson, Konopak & Readance, 1994). Pajares (1992) stated that the beliefs teachers hold infl uence their perceptions and judgments, which, in turn, affects their behavior in the classroom (p. 307). A lthough much of the previous research is focused on preservice teachers, Fang (1996) noted that educators are now beginning to realize that teachers (preservice, begi nning, or experienced) do hold implic it theories about students, the subjects they teach, and their teaching responsib ilities (p. 51). The literature supporting the beliefs-to-practices connection was outlined in chapter one; however, it is important to note that this body of literature influences the methods of the current study because more in-depth case studies are needed to understand how beliefs c onnect to powerful social studies teaching and pedagogical decision-making. Methods Case Study In accordance with constructivist theory, case study research focuses on the process of the research, enabling the resear cher to examine the interactio ns of characteristics within a bounded unit of study (Merriam, 1998; Stake, 1995; Yin, 2002). By focusing more on the process than the outcome, case study research al lows for interaction between researcher and participant, resulting in the construction of knowledge or meaning making from that experience (Crotty, 2003; Merriam, 1998). The purpose of a cas e study is to examinein great depth and in
44 contexta single, bounded unit, su ch as a teacher in the classr oom (Merriam, 1998; Stake, 1995; Yin, 2002). The idea of a single, bounded unit (or case) provides a frameworkor, as Merriam (1998) notes, fences in what is about to be studied, (p. 27). Yin (1994) more thoroughly defines a case study as [a]n empirical inquiry that investigates a contemporary phenomenon within its real-life context (p. 13). As suc h, genuine case study research is meant to elicit extensive descriptions of a single event or unit, not just provide a catch-all phrase for qualitative research (Merriam, 1998). Moreover, accordi ng to Wineburg and Wilson (1998) and Shulman (1989), a lack of rich and contextualized resear ch on powerful or wise teachers still persists. Case study research provides for rich and contextu alized studies that can help fill this research void in social studies education. Therefore, the case study methodologywhich allows for the examination of a bounded system of particular interest in order to fill an existing void in the literatureis appropriate for the current study as this study seeks to understand how a teachers beliefs influence his practice and pedagogical decision-making. Role of the Researcher In a qualitative research de sign, the researcher is constan tly engaged in the research, actively collecting data within the participant s natural setting in order to fully explore and understand the participants pe rspective (Hatch, 2002; Wolcott, 1992). Being involved on a personal level with both the research and the participant offers a uni que challenge to the qualitative researcher as it may be difficult to participate while remaining objective (Dewalt & Dewalt, 2002; Hatch, 2002). The close and person al nature of qualitative research makes neutrality impossible; therefore, the researcher should be willing to allow readers to examine his or her own beliefs rather than try to conceal th em (Stake, 1995). This ve tting of the researcher will help provide credibility to the study by helping readers to judge the accuracy in data collection and analysis (Denizen, 1989; Guba & Linc oln, 1985; Hatch, 2002).
45 Based on this understanding of the researchers role, it is important to provide a brief biography related to the researcher s experiences and beliefs in education, teaching, and learning. Throughout my K-12 schooling experience, I was placed in advanced or gifted classes, in which learning was active and creative, and students were given choice in projects and units of study. Such experiences influenced my beliefs on what teaching and learning looked like. As a result, I developed a strong affinity for being in school and subsequently decided to become a teacher during my senior year of high school. My strong in terest in politics, curre nt events, and history led me to major in history at the Universi ty of Florida from 1997-2000, during which time I volunteered at a local high school to help students with minor learning disabilities. My time in this class convinced me that education was the right choice for me. After completing my bachelors degree, I returned to my high school alma mater in Bradenton, Florida, and became a long-term subs titute in a self-contained classroom with 8 students, ranging in ages from 14 to 21. Th e students, who had been labeled profoundly mentally handicapped, had either Downs syndrom e or had been identified as autistic. Although I loved my job and valued my time in the cla ssroom, I was often left wondering why a 21-yearold with a history degree and no teaching certification had been hire d to teach students with such distinct and challenging needs. During the 2001-2002 academic year, I comp leted my masters degree/certification program at the University of Florida, during which time I became interested in the evident inequalities within the school system. My work focused on developing effective teaching methods for diverse students. After graduating, I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where I taught seventh grade geography in a diverse, high poverty school for two years. The students represented 20 different countries and spoke 15 different langua ges, with Spanish being the
46 dominant language. During my time in Atlanta, I earned my ESOL certific ation and worked with the University of Georgias Center for Latino Achievement and Success in Education, where I was introduced to the idea of reintegrating schools into the communities in which they operate to support the members of the community. This con cept had a profound impact on me and affected how I currently perceive schools and school communities. During the 2004-2005 school year, I returned to Bradenton, Florida, to teach seventh grade geography in a magnet middle school that inte grated fine arts into the curriculum to increase students motivation and learning. However, I quickly learned that this enhanced curriculum was not meant for all students who at tended the school. Out-of-district students who applied to attend the school ( 65 percent of the student body) we re called choice kids while the remaining 35 percent were the neighborhood kids who, because of a lower socio-economic status and often limited parent involvement, were l ooked down upon and excluded from enrichment activities and expensive field trips. I left this sc hool to begin my doctoral work with a desire to empower students who are traditionally disenf ranchised from schools by utilizing curriculum meaningful to students and effective teaching pr actices. Although my ideas about social studies teaching and learning are still develo ping, I believe that the role of social studies education is to support the empowerment of disenfranchised students through the de velopment of active citizenship participation as e xpressed in the NCSS goals. As the researcher for the current study, I bene fited from doctoral coursework that enabled me to further explore ways in which to best teach all students and for schools to reflect the communities in which they operate. I was gran ted opportunities to explore how these ideas connect to social studies educat ion and how powerful social studies teaching can act as a catalyst for student empowerment. I also had the advantag e of working with preservice teachers enrolled
47 in a masters degree/certification program, wh ich gave me access to many classrooms throughout the county and surrounding counties where the university is located. Through this connection I met the participant in the current study and ga ined permission to follow him through his first three years in the classroom. My relationship with the participant served as an adva ntage throughout this case study, as trust and rapport had previously been establishedboth of which are essentia l for data collection in case study research (Dewalt & Dewalt, 2002; Merriam, 1998). However, my bias became evident, as I gravitated toward a teacher whos e beliefs on education aligned with my own. As such, I sought outside evaluation forms comple ted during his internsh ip experience on his teaching to help reduce my bias and provide an alternative perspect ive on his teaching. Access Interested in doing a case study of a powerful and effective social studies teacher in a high school classroom, I proposed the idea to my committee chair and committee for approval. Internal Review Board (IRB) approval was subse quently secured from the university and school board. The researcher then contac ted the participant and his principal to gain access to the school and classroom. The participant signed an info rmed consent form; I also asked for verbal affirmation before beginning any data collection. Participant Kris, the participant, was selected though cr iterion sampling. Patton ( 1990) notes that, in case study research, establishing pred etermined criteria for particip ant selection is essential for focusing the case study. Kris was selected based on two criteria: 1) she had been identified through observations by university faculty and inst ructors as practicing powerful and effective social studies methods in a high school classr oom, and 2) she indicated a willingness to allow access to both her beliefs and his classroom, which allowed for authentic data collection to
48 support the case study research. Kris, an in-servi ce high school teacher teaching social studies during her first and second years in the classr oom, was under 30 years of age and identified herself as being of EuropeanAmerican heritage and upper-middle class u pbringing. I selected a pseudonym to be used in the final report. A full description of the participant is provided in chapter 4. Setting The study was conducted in a mid-sized school di strict in the south eastern United States comprised of 64 schools: 31 elementary schools, 10 middle schools, 15 senior high schools, 7 combination or multi-grade schools, and 1 adult center. During the fall of 2007, a total of 4, 083 teachers7% female and 23% male were employed in this district4; the districts demographics according to race/ethnicity were as follows5: White/Non-Hispanic 49% Black/Non-Hispanic 36% Hispanic 6% Asian/Pacific Islander 4% American Indian/Native Alaskan .02% Multiracial 5% Total student enrollment in the fall of 2007 was 28,378, of which 9, 092 were high school students6. During the 2006-2007 school year, the graduation rate was 68.2 percent, with a dropout rate of 6.6 percent7. The high school in which this study took place enrolled 2, 091 student s in the fall of 2007 and is representative of the county demographics in terms of race/ethnicity identification and 4 FLDOE website, May 20, 2008 5 DOE Student Database, Survey 2 Data, October 8-12, 2007, as of March 10, 2008 6 FLDOE website, May 20, 2008 7 DOE Student Database, Survey 2 Data, October 8-12, 2007, as of March 10, 2008
49 graduation and dropout rates8. In addition, the high school has twice as many students classified as English language learners (ELL) in compar ison to the district (5.5 percent in 2006-2007)9. The schools free and reduced lunch rate is lowe r than the county rate, with 36 percent of the students qualifying in 2006-200710. Data for the current study was collected from April 2007-April 2008. Archival data was initially collected from the pa rticipant that corresponded with her teacher education program. These documents included her internship journal, teaching observation forms, and units of study implemented her internship classroom. The resear cher then observed the participants classroom at the end of the 2006-2007 school year and at the end of the 2007-2008 sc hool year. Interviews were conducted in the participants classroom after each observation. Additional interviews related to the partic ipants background and beliefs occu rred throughout the period of data collection. The researcher observed a total of 10 different classes, whic h were demographically representative of the schools demographics, with the excepti on of two classes each year; these two classes had a large number of ELL students, with as much as 60 % of the participants students receiving ELL-related servi ces. Descriptions of the classes, as relevant to the study, are provided in chapter 3. Data Collection Effective case study research depends on gath ering as much information as possible, as related to the case, so that the information can be properly analyzed an d interpreted (Merriam, 1998). Such data are traditionally collected in thre e forms: interviews, observations, and archival 8 2006-2007 NCLB school accountability report, August 2007 9 2006-2007 NCLB school accountability report, August 2007 10 2006-2007 NCLB school accountability report, August 2007
50 materials (Creswell, 2007; Hatch, 2002; Merriam, 1998; Patton, 1990; Stake, 1995). According to Patton (1990): Multiple sources of information are sought and used because no single source of information can be trusted to provide a comprehensive perspectiveBy using a combination of observations, interviews, and document analysis, the fieldworker is able to use different data sources to valid ate and cross-check findings (p. 244). Merriam (1998) notes that the thre e forms are rarely used equally; rather, one or two tend to take precedence, with the others being used in a supportive role to gain a deeper understanding and provide a more complete examination of the case. The current study utilized interviews and observations as primary sources of data collection, with archival materials being used to support or refute findings and provide background information relevant to the case unde r study. All interviews and observations were scheduled in advance. The researcher conducted each interview and observation, keeping a data management log throughout the process to aid in organization and analysis. The participant collected relevant archival mate rials and provided them to the re searcher during visits to the school site. Interviews. In qualitative case study re search, interviews provide a way of generating empirical data about the social world by asking people to talk about their lives (Holstein & Gubrium, 2003, p. 2). Interviews are personal and interactive, re quiring the participation of both researcher and participant (H olstein & Gubrium, 2003; Merriam, 1998). This relationship requires a certain amount of trust or, as Patt on (1990) states, [t]he assumption that the perspective of others is meaningf ul, knowable, and able to be made explicit (p. 278). As there is no substitution for the spoken words of the particip ant, the raw data, interviews are vital to a study focusing on a teachers beli efs, practices, and pedagogical decision-making; thus, they form the foundation of this case study (Patton, 1990).
51 The semi-structured interviews (see Appe ndix B) were conducted from May 2007 to March 2008 using interview guides. Such guides were provided to the participant prior to the interviews. The questions were provided in advan ce in an effort to increase the accuracy and thoroughness of answers while building trust with the participant (Schwalbe & Wolkomir, 2002). Initial interviews to gather background in formation were conducted before classroom observations. These initial interviews took pl ace in May 2007 and ag ain in February 2008. Interviews were conducted during school visits, during the school day, and again at the end of school day. A total of fifteen in terviews were conducted. Each interview done in person was recorded on a digital voice recorder and subseque ntly transcribed. Transc ripts were provided to the participant to ensure accuracy and for member-checking purposes. Observations Qualitative research grew out of the tradition of observing new cultures and phenomena (Crotty, 2003; Dewalt & Dewa lt, 2002). Early ethnographers removed themselves from the world in which they lived to enter into the field to experience and live the research (Crotty, 2003; Dewalt & Dewalt, 2002). These researchers strived to find accurate understanding and provide the outside world with an accurate portrait of their case (Crotty, 2003). Observations place the researcher in the context with the participant and allow for the researcher to gain a more authentic understand ing of what is being st udied (Dewalt & Dewalt, 2002; Merriam, 1998; Patton, 1990). The current study used observations to help the researcher gain insight into the teachers classroom practice and how her beliefs influence his teaching. Classroom observations allowed for the researcher to ask detailed questions about specific events that took place to gain access to the participants understandi ng of her classroom practice and decision-making.
52 Archival data Bradsher (1988) stated that archiv al data are [a] body of functionally and/or organizationally related ma terial that has grown organically out of some activity (p. 3). The current case study used documents to gather additional data on the participant and her classroom. Although collected during a one-year period, from May 2007 to April March 2008, the archival materials represent th e first three years that the part icipant was in the classroom: her preservice year and internship as well as her fi rst and second years as a high school social studies teacher. Documents from her teacher educati on program included observation forms completed by her internship supervisor, lesson plans, class work such as unit design and literacy integration, and the participants reflective journal from he r internship experience. In keeping with the organic nature of archival materials, the part icipant was asked to provide documents from her first and second years of teaching she believed to be representative of her teaching and her classroom. Such documents included student wor k, lesson plans, syllabi, classroom contracts, and assessments. Although the documents were limited by participant selection, these data proved to be beneficial, providi ng insight into her da y-to-day classroom practices and decisionmaking. Her reflective journal proved to be particularly beneficial as it provided details on her beliefs and growth during her internship experien ces, which were later reflected in her classroom teaching. All data collected were categorized acco rding to themes that emerged during the interviews and kept in a locked filing cabinet to protect the participants identity and the integrity of the study (Bradsher, 1988; Patton, 1990). Archival data stre ngthened this case study, as it allowed for triangulation and trustworthine ss (Merriam, 1998; Patt on, 1990). In addition, archival materials validated the relationship betw een the participants beliefs and practices as well as her implementation of powerful and effective social studies teaching.
53 Data Analysis Data analysis involves a systematic sear ch for meaning [by] examining, categorizing, tabulating, or otherwise recombining the evid ence (Yin, 1994, p. 102). The process of data analysis enables the researcher to find meaning w ithin the data to answer the original research questions (Hatch, 2002). In qualita tive research, the data analysis begins as soon as data are collected and continues throughout the study, as the researcher finds meaning and uses such analysis to guide the study. As such, data organization and categorization are essential components throughout the course of the studyfrom initial data collection through the research processthat support final data analysis (Merriam, 1998). The current case study used the nine-step indu ctive analysis method. In order to conduct a constructivist case study on a teachers beliefs and practices, the researcher analyzed the data to identify themes and generalize ideas across themes to find connections within the data (Hatch, 2002). To maintain the integrity of the constructi vist paradigm throughout data analysis, it is important to note the participan t-centered nature of inductive analysis. According to Potter (1996) [i]nductive analysis begins with an exam ination of particulars within data, moves to looking for patterns across observati ons, then arguing for those patter ns as having the status of general explanatory statements (p. 151) As such, the first step of inductive analysis involves carefully reading through all of the data to fu lly know what has been collected. In order to analyze the data, the researcher mu st know what is included in the data set and read the data over and over again (Hatch, 2002), developing frames of analysiswhat Ha tch calls levels of specificity within which data will be examined (p. 163). Tesch (1990) further develops this idea by noting that data are essentially segments of meaning that is comprehensible by itself and contains one idea, episode, or piece of information (p. 116). After reading through each
54 interview transcript, the researcher noted that the participant consistently used the words family and belonging, which became the fram es of analysis for further analysis. The second step of Hatchs (2002) inductiv e data analysis involves creating domains from the existing frames of analysis, a set of cat egories that properly repr esent the relationships that emerge in step one (Hatch, 2002). Domains ar e key to the inductive model as they allow for richer understanding of the relationships within the data. Spradley (1979) states, Any symbolic category that includes other categories is a domai n. All members of a domain share at least one feature in meaning, (p. 100). Th ese domains provide access to th e data through cover terms or included terms that should make sense to eith er the general population or the niche group that access the particular study (Hatch, 2002). Such do mains provide meaning for and accessibility to the study and its findings. For ex ample, the domain of community emerged from the frames of analysis, as the participant disc ussed community in relation to he r beliefs and classroom practice. The third step of Hatchs (2002) inductiv e analysis involves reviewing the research questions and ensuring that the dom ains being used indeed relate to the questions rather than simply being interesting tidbits picked up al ong the way. The researcher identifies which domains are relevant to the research questi ons, assigning relevant domains a code. Domains deemed not relevant are put aside, a process Miles and Huberman (1994) call data reduction (p. 10). In the current researc h, this step helped focus th e study, as the participants understanding of community was central to her classroom practice and how she dealt with challenges that influenced her practice. Thus, the domain of community provided information relevant to the research questions. The fourth step of Hatchs (2002) inductive analysis involves rere ading the data, refining the domains, and keeping careful records of wher e the relationships are found in the data. This
55 focused rereading is meant to aid in the refineme nt and recoding process as well as ensure that the data support the domains (Hat ch, 2002). This fourth step allows for a closer look at the data to give a better sense of the richness and importance of the domains you are finding (Hatch, 2002, p. 169). In this fourth step, the domain of community was further developed to differentiate between school co mmunity and the community in which the school existed. This distinction helped to contextualize the data in a way that allowed for insight into decisions the participant made, both persona lly and professionally. The fifth step of Hatchs (2002) inductive an alysis involves examining the quality of the data included in the constructed domains and determining whether sufficient data exist to support the domains. For Hatch (2002), this means determining whether the elements in the domains are repeated over and over again, thereby proving that the domain is really in the data (p. 170). This step also involves carefully looking for data that does not conform, or negative examples. Negative examples must be carefully consider ed and may result in changing or discarding domains. However, recognition and reconciliation of nega tive examples ensures that the data has been properly analyzed and that the findings stand (Hatch, 2002). In the sixth step of Hatchs (2002) inductive analysis, the researcher looks within the domains to conduct a complete an alysis, identifying the complexity and richness of the domain as well as preparing for the next step in the inductive analysis process. Completing the analysis within the domains requires revisiting included te rms, semantic relationshi ps, and cover terms to search for other possible ways to organize what is in the domain (Hatch, 2002). This step ensures that the included terms could not be developed into freestanding domains not related to the original domain (Hatch, 2002). Anal ysis in this step supported the inclusion of th e participants
56 beliefs on classroom management in the domain of community, as the two were inextricably linked, with sufficient raw data to support the domain and subsequent semantic relationship. The seventh step of Hatchs (2002) inductive analysis requires the search for themes across domains. After looking within the domain in st ep six, this seventh step involved returning to the original domains and looking for connec tions among them. For Hatch (2002), this step means, searching for patterns that repeat in the data and for patterns that show linkage among the different parts of the data, (p. 173). This search for relati onships attempted to find meaning in the data and an understanding of how it all fit together to answ er the research questions. This step highlighted the pervasiveness of the part icipants beliefs on community, as this domain connected to most semantic re lationships developed throughout the study, such as how she handled classroom challenges The eighth step of Hatchs ( 2002) inductive analysis calls fo r the creation of a master outline to express the relationships within a nd among the domains. This process provides the opportunity to go back and refine the analysis, in corporating and organizing all previous steps in a very concrete manner. Organizing data into a single master outline helps determine which domains are indeed relevant and robust and which do not necessarily fit with the whole. During step eight, the researcher must then determine if reporting thinner or less relevant domains aids in the understanding of the case study and whether such domains should be set aside or kept in the final report. The original domains, such as community and challenges, were found to be robust and relevant to the research questions and will be reported in the following chapter. The ninth and final step in Hatchs (2002) inductive analysis involves returning to the raw data coded in the previous steps and pulling out meaningful excerpts to support the domains in the final report. This step provides a final ch eck to ensure the depth of the data for a more
57 powerful final report. Excerpts of raw data th at support the domains ar e embedded within the results chapter and provid ed in the appendices. Verification of Interpretation All researchwhether qualit ative or quantitativeis conc erned with issues surrounding the reliability and validity of knowledge in a wa y that respects the re searcher and the data (Merriam, 1998). Issues of interpretation can so metimes be particularly tricky in qualitative research, as so much of qualitative research is unique to the study and connected to the researcher and participants. Thus, issues of reli ability and validity are mo st often concerned with the study design, such as conducting the study in an ethical manner and maintaining careful records of data help ensure that the study is i ndeed valid and reliable. According to Guba and Lincoln (1986), in a qualitative case study, reliabili ty and validity are c onstructed within the study instruments, data collection, proper documen t analysis, and whether or not the case study can indeed be supported by the data. The current case study addressed the issues of reliability and validity in the study design, IRB approval, and careful record keeping and prot ection of the data. In addition, the systematic data analysis was thoroughly described with exampl es that help to ensure the studys reliability. Although many researchers (see Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Guba & Lincoln, 1994; Lincoln, 1995; Wolcott, 1994) argue against the use of the terms reliability and validity in qualitative research, these terms can be helpful in thinki ng about the structure a nd tools of the study. Trustworthiness Qualitative research strives to establish trus tworthiness in the research, thereby keeping with the changing nature or reality that is inherent to human be havior and, consequently, human study (Merriam, 1998). Trustworthine ss specifically addresses whet her or not the findings align reasonably with realityor the reality we choose not to questi on at the moment (Becker, 1993,
58 p. 220). Lincoln and Guba (1985) created four criteria for establishing trustworthiness: credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability. Credibility Marshall and Ross man (1999) define credibil ity as the extent to which the findings describe an accurate picture of the participants. Using multiple forms of data collection to help triangulate findings is one way in which the curr ent study sought to ensu re credibility (Patton, 1990; Yin, 2003). Stake (1995) notes that, to help establish cred ibility, the researcher must explore bias within the research report. Such a process was outlin ed in this chapter. Member checking was also used to establish credibility as all interview transcripts were given to the participant to ensure truthfulness. Transferability Qualitative research is not necessarily generalizable to large populations. More specifically, [q]ualitative research has as its goal an understanding of the nature of phenomena, and is not necessarily interested in assessing the magnitude and distribution of the phenomena (Dewalt & Dewalt, 2002, p. 2). Qualitative research does concern itself with whether or not research findings can provide useful insight to related instances (Y in, 2003). In case study research, transferability depends on the presenta tion of rich, descriptiv e data to determine whether or not similarities exist within and among other contexts (Guba & Lincoln, 1985; Patton, 1990). To aid in potential transferab ility of the current research, the participant and context were fully disclosed herein. In addition, grounding this case study in powerful and effective social studies teaching helps with potential transferab ility within the field of social studies. Dependability and Confirmability The curren t study utilized a research audit to establish dependability and confirmability (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). In qualita tive research, dependability is strengthened by providing a
59 rich description of the research process used to generate and interpret data (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). A journal was kept, and an auditor was used to establish a research trail that could be checked. The auditor reviewed each stage of the study, including data collection and analysis, to establish dependability. After establishing th at the research process was correctly and consistently applied throughout th e case study and applied to the research questi ons, the auditor confirmed the findings (Guba & Lincoln, 1994). In addition, confirmability is increased by directly stating the researche rs qualifications and biases (Merriam, 1998). Member checks and the brief biography of the researcher contained herein also helped establish dependability and confirmability (Merriam, 1998)
60 CHAPTER THREE RESULTS In keeping with the traditiona l dissertation presentation, this chapter will present the case findings as related to the following research questions: 1. What beliefs does a beginning teacher hold abou t teaching and social studies education? 2. How do the teachers beliefs conn ect to her classroom practice? 3. What challenges does this teach er encounter in her classr oom? How do these challenges influence her classroom practice? This chapter begins with the participan ts personal and prof essional background. The remainder of the chapter is organized according to the research questions. Constructing Teacher Beliefs Data for this study were collected during Kris s preservice internship experience, which occurred at the end of her teacher training program, and during her first two years teaching. During her internship experience, Kris expressed the belief that the purpose of schooling was to aid children in their growth as individuals and citizens (Kris, internship journal, February 6, 2006). She viewed her p urpose as a teacher as supporting students development, which did not focus necessarily on learning content. Rather, Kris believed that the teacher/student relationship is at the heart of education and without it all mo tivation to learn by the students and desire to teach concepts and information is diminished (Kris, internship journal, February 6, 2006). Kriss beliefs about teaching developed long before she entered the teacher education program. Her family and educational expe rience helped form her beliefs. Influences of Family Kris, a third-year high school social studies teacher in he r mid-twenties, taught world history and Am erican history at a high school where she complete d her internship experience.
61 Kris spent most of her childhood in a large northern city before moving to a state in the south when she was 15 years oldan important year in her life as this was the year her parents divorced. However, Kris noted that, despite bein g divorced, her parents now are best friends: It was rough at first. They did not get along, but as we got older, and as my sister and I moved out, it brought them closer together becau se they realized that they still needed each other even if they werent married (Kris, March 4, 2008). Once divorced, both parents desired to keep the fa mily together. They worked toward this goal by moving to the same town in which Kriss pate rnal and maternal grandparents already lived. Kris identified closely with her Greek heritage. She consistently described how her heritage and family influence her sense of comm unity and togetherness. When asked to describe her culture, Kris related how family members wo rked together to create family meals, thus showing their love and care for fellow family members (Kris, reflective journal, February 7, 2006). She described the cultural import ance of holidays and tradition: The first thing that comes to mind is the a nnual holiday routines pr acticed by my family, especially during Easter and Christmas. I also think about the importance my family placed on the Orthodox religion and family di nners while I was growing up and, of course, the passion for sports that my family and family friends show, especially when my siblings and I were playing or the lo cal team was on TV (Kris, April 25, 2007). Kris noted that once she moved to the south, de spite having her extended family living in the same community, she did not find the same sense of togetherness that she felt growing up in the north: Its big to me to have people get together, and not only be close to your family, but have families be close with other families. When I feel that your friends are only your friends because of maybe something you have, then that s not pure to me. I want friends that will be there no matter what because thats the type of friend I think I am and so I want that from my friends. I got that a lot more in The north and it was just [in] that village atmosphere. You go to the grocery store or you go to a festival and its that whole Cheers effecteverybody always knows your name Thats important to me and that will be important to me when I have a familythat will be very important to me because I will want my kids to have that (Kris, March 3, 2008).
62 Kris consistently expressed such ideas about community and family in interviews, observed classroom practice, and reflective writings. Moreover, Kris was careful to note that her desire to feel the closeness and sense of belonging that a community provided drove her decisions, such as where to attend college and, subsequentl y, where to begin her teaching career. Influences of Schooling Kris attended private school in grades K. She did not reflect favorably on this experience. Kris stated that she hated school b ecause she felt that this environment was full of rigid rules that could never be bent because th ey [the teachers] couldnt remember what it was like growing up (Kris, March 3, 2008). However, Kris talked about havi ng teachers in public high school who had influenced her growth and de velopment, leading her toward a career in teaching. Kris described one teacher who was very helpful in introducing me to politics: He opened me up to the ideas of social respons ibility and thats what it was aboutsocial responsibilityand I liked that. I liked the id ea that he actually helped me understand that the purpose was to help others, no t just yourself (Kris, March 3, 2008). The role of politics and social re sponsibility in the community a nd in schools ultimately led to Kriss decision to become a social studies t eacher. Kris completed high school and earned a softball scholarship to a college in a northern st ate, close to where she had grown up. However, after two years, she transferred to a southeastern pub lic college where she completed her teacher education program. Kriss sense of social respons ibility, coupled with a strong sense of family and community, drove many of Kriss classroom d ecisions and will be discussed further later in this chapter. Kris noted that her high school social studies teacher introduce d her to the idea of social responsibility, which fit with her ideas of family, culture, and community that developed throughout her childhood (Kris, Ma rch 3, 2008). During Kriss second year of college, this sense of social responsibility became a call to teaching. Although Kris was committed to the idea of
63 social responsibility, she had not found an outle t until that time. She described the moment she decided to become a teacher: It was a warm day in December and I was r eading outside. I just remember sitting on a bench of campus and reading [Kozols] Savage Inequalities and thinking thats not right, and I knew I had to do something. Thats just not the way it should be and I had to do something. Thats when I decided to become a teacher and that was my responsibility to society (Kris, May 20, 2007). After completing her internship a nd learning of an opening in the so cial studies department at the same school, Kris applied for and accepted a po sition teaching history. Although Kris discussed moving to a large urban area afte r graduation to teach in a high poverty school, her desire to maintain a sense of community and belonging led to her decision to remain in the same school. In subsequent interviews during her first and s econd years of teaching, she revisited the idea of moving; however, her sense of loyalty to her sch ool and her students cont ributed to her decision to stay. Case Findings Kriss focus on the im portance of community th at developed from her family and culture remained central to her beliefs about the purpose of teaching. Kris further believed that her role as teacher developed from a sense of social re sponsibility, which should be reflected in her teaching and developed within her students. Kris defined social responsibility: Its just a way of thinking that, well, I dont know why we are here, but theres a reason. There is more than just one person in this world, and theres the people that have things and the people who dont have things and the pe ople in the middle. And at the same time, I dont think that people who dont have things did something bad and, like I said, I dont have all the answers. I just feel like theres something in everybody that can be used to help someone else. And I dont understand how anyone can be happy when the people around you are miserableand there are a lot of miserable people around there, and I dont want to be like that. Probably from th e experiences Ive had with making others happy, theres just a different c onnection there other than gett ing a paycheck or object or new gift, which is always ni ce. Im not going to lie, but theres a different level of satisfaction in making someone else happy a nd from that experience, if I can make someone else happy, then thats what I do. It s like the Ben & Je rrys saying if you are not happy doing it, then why do it? (Kris, March 3, 2008).
64 When asked what it meant to be a good teacher, Kris stated: It means not working eight to five. It mean s not just coming in and teaching your content area. It means coming in and teaching about what it means to be getting involved in school. It means wearing th e school colors, and wearing these when the school wears their colors on a certain day. It means at tending not only if you are a coach, not only your own team sporting events but you kind of get into the whole co aching fraternity and attend the events of other coaches. It is not something that you can get up at 7 oclock, come to work an hour later, go home at 3 oclock and relax and watch TV. My best friend was a doctor who is proba bly or should be if not close to retirement now and every single day he comes home and he studies. A nd, I kind of see that in the same life for teachers. If you want to be a good docto r and good teacher, you really never stop learning. You never stop analyzing yourself. You dont have all the answers, and that is all right (Kris, March 3, 2008) This statement reflected her commitment to he r school. Further, Kris believed that her commitment to the community developed from a sense of social responsibility, which ultimately influenced her decision to become a teacher. Beliefs about Teaching Through her teacher edu cation program, Kris was introduced to issues of diversity, including culture and socioeconomic status as re lated to schooling (Kris, internship journal, March 24, 2006). Although the not ion of class differences in education perspective was something with which she was familiarbecause of her previous readingsshe believed that her teacher education program made this concep t something tangible and real for the classroom. Kris specifically mentioned one course instru ctor whose focus on dive rsity helped shape her understanding of citizenship, globa l perspective, and community: Charlotte was explicit. I think a goal of her classes was to encourage creative thinking and thinking outside the box and to encourage us to think about education in different waysto make education interesting and i nvigorating and motivating and at the same time keep the values of citi zenship and community in plac e, especially when you have international students who arent familiar with the community or even how a democracy works. While I think those were probably the goals of the [teacher education] program as a whole, I know that those were Charlottes ideas and they were important (Kris, May 21, 2007).
65 Kris discussed her trepidation about enteri ng the classroom at the beginning of her preservice internship experience. However, the school proved to be welcoming and supportive, and Kris quickly grew to feel like a member of the school co mmunity, describing the school as welcoming, comfortable, and supportive (Kris, internship journal, February 6, 2006). Kriss beliefs about the purpose of teaching we re formed before her preservice internship. As previously indicated, her K-12 schooling experience led to a sense of social responsibility that drove her decision to become a teacher. Th is theme was apparent throughout her internship experience, as recorded in the reflective jour nal she kept as a class assignment. Although Kris expressed concern about taking over in a classroom in which the previous teacher had established the rules and norms, she welcomed th e opportunity to develop the skills she deemed necessary to becoming a successful teacher (Kris, internship journal, February 6, 2006). Kris quickly noted the need to develop a strong clas sroom management style that would support her goals of creating a classroom that centered on collaborative learning a nd student communication (Kris, internship journal, Fe bruary 6, 2006). The focus on stud ent learning and student support discussed throughout her intern ship journal provided a fr amework for understanding her decisions in the classroom during her first and second years of teaching. When asked to reflect on how her beliefs about a student-centered clas sroom influenced her classroom practice, Kris wrote: Teachers should ask themselves every day if what they are doing works. Teachers must organize their methods of teaching, organizing the classroom, emphasizing a sense of community, and rewarding students around the question of is what Im doing encouraging students to engage in the process of learning? When it comes down to itwell, that is the only thing that matters (Kris, internship journal, February 13, 2006). However, the lack of control over many of the cl assroom decisions left Kr is frustrated, and she questioned the methods of instruction utilized mo st by her supervising teach er (Kris, internship
66 journal, March 6, 2006). Kris stated that she was encouraged to use more traditional methods of instructionspecifically, teacher le cture and student note-taking (Kri s, internship journal, March 6, 2006). When Kris tried to deviate from this course, her supervising teacher discouraged her and asked her to change her lessons to accommodate more reading and note-taking practice (Kris, internship journal, March 6, 2006). Althoug h she disagreed with the teachers actions, Kris noted that her supervising teacher had stated that he believed that these methods would prepare students best for college courses and for the state standardized tests (Kris, internship journal, February 27, 2006). However, Kris expressed he r frustration with the supervising teachers persistent use of methods of instructi on that did not align with her beliefs: Many teachers and educators across America be come too comfortable with their methods of instruction. They begin to seriously take the my way or the highway approach to teaching and alienate many students who simp ly might not possess any other route than the proverbial highway. Whether this approach to teaching is created from years of repetition, a lack of respect give n to his or her career, or just plain laziness, this type of education encourages and inspires no one. St udents learn in a variety of ways and each adolescent finds comfort in the idea that thei r teacher cares about how they learn and who they are as people. Educators at all diffe rent levels need to be aware of their responsibility of ensuring th at their teaching methods are assisting as many students as possible (Kris, internship journal, March 6, 2006). Despite these challenges, Kris reflected upon her internship favorably during her first year in the classroom. She referred to her internship as the most valuable part of my education and cited the supervising teachers promoti on of more traditional methods of instruction as the reason: After that [internship] I knew for sure that I would never run my classroom that way. I knew that, yeah, its probably harder to co me up with other, more creative lessons, but that was my job as a teacher. Thats what we are supposed to do. I mean, I choose to see teaching not as my job, but as my privilege. It is my privilege to come in here every day and teach so that they can learn and make a difference (Kris, May 24, 2007). Beliefs about Social Studies Kris was co mmitted to creating a sense of community in her classroom, which reflected her belief that a classroom community supported growth and learning. Her beliefs created a
67 desire to empower young learners to be active members of their communities. This view of teacher as activist was persistent throughout Kriss work as a teach er. Kris viewed social studies teaching through this lens and, as such, believed that the purpose of social studies education was to develop within students the skills and knowledge necessary to be active citizens and to have a sense of responsibility for the co mmunities in which they live. C onsequently, the role of social studies was to highlight instan ces in which change had occurre d through active citizenship. This view also influenced Kriss classroom practice, wh ich will be explored further in this chapter. Such beliefs were reinforced throughout her cl assroom experiencesfrom her internship through her first and second years of teaching. Kriss in troduction to diversity reinforced her beliefs about social inequity and convinced her that th e purpose of social st udies education was to develop a sense of citizenship am ong all members of a community. During the period of this study, Kris consisten tly expressed a dislik e of politics and the political system in the United States. Her view of politics was one of corruption and repression, which undermined the principles of social responsibility. She believed that her purpose in teaching social studies was to empower her stude nts with the knowledge to seek change (Kris, July 3, 2005). Kris connected her beliefs about polit ics and social responsibi lity to social studies teaching: I view politics and social studies in sc hools as its going to help people out and redistribute some of the power and I want to be a part of that. The more people that have power, then the less power certain people higher up have and thats a good thing, I think (Kris, May 21, 2007). According to Kris, social studies is the conduit through which the redistribution of social capital can occur in schools. This idea drove her beliefs about social st udies teaching. As a teacher, she taught both world history and American history; however, sh e stated that an inherent
68 interconnectedness existed among all disciplines, wh ich made her responsible for more than just history content. For example, when discussing her role as a world history teacher, Kris stated: I mean, just because its world history doesnt mean we dont talk about rights and the Constitution and voting and being active. I m ean, if somethings not right, do something. We look at times in history when something wasnt right and somebody did something and we talk about how we can do that today (Kris, May 24, 2007). In spring 2008, toward the end of Kriss second year of teaching, her beliefs about teaching and social studies were addressed ag ain; her answers were consistent with those documented during her internship and during her first year of teaching. She was able to articulate her beliefs about social studies teaching more specifically and he r passion on the subject was clear. Kris talked extensively about how her beli efs concerning empowerment and society intertwined with her role as a teacher: I really do believe that we are becoming less a nd less vocal as a society and as citizens of America. As a teacher, I want to try and teach them that its their right and responsibility to do; I mean, if I get fired from my job or go to jail for something that I said, then Im willing to make that sacrifice. I mean, I believe, I dont think Im committing a crime. Im not advocating hurting anyone and Im not telling them to hurt anyone or anything. Most of the laws that we hold to be standard throughout the world, but Im willing toIm not going to sacrifice my moral beliefs to say what other people want me to say or to say what other people think is right. I mean the government, so I want them to feel safe and comfortable saying what they want to say to a certain extent and to be a citizen and thats part of their rights to stand up and speak (Kris, March 5, 2008). During an interview at the end of her second ye ar of teaching, she refl ected on her development from her internship through her firs t and second years in the classroom: I dont think my beliefs have changed really. I still believe what I believe. However, on a personal note, I feel it is my role as an educator to make a commitment toward improving the educational system in Amer ica, which is my role in th is society, my responsibility. Ive learned over time that this can either be done in my day-to-day work with students or by actively engaging in speaking out about e ducational issues and needed reforms on a local, state and federal level. So, I dont feel that my belie fs have changed so much as what I do or how I teach (Kris, March 5, 2008).
69 Beliefs about Students Kriss belief s did not change during her preser vice program; rather, her beliefs related to the purpose of teaching, particularly teaching social studies, were reinforced by her instructors. Kris subsequently taught in a sc hool with a large percen tage of internationa l students; thus, the ideas of diversity, community, and citizenship merged in each of her classes during her first three years of teaching. The diversity in her classroom s strengthened Kriss commitment to equality through education and, more specifically, through social studies education: In order to root out this oppression, we need to focus on why many groups have been discriminated against throughout history, how th ey were able to still find success despite the obstacles theyve had to face, and w hy it is important that every young student receives an equal and equitable education so that the American democracy can flourish or begin to flourish (Kris, July 5, 2007). Beliefs about Classroom Practices Kriss classroom practice reflected her beli efs on the purpose of schooling and social studies teaching and learning. First, her focus on community in the classroom strongly influenced her classroom management; she perc eived her classroom as a learning community and based all decisions on this idea. Meanwhile Kriss beliefs about community and social responsibility influenced her methods of instruction, as she encouraged students to work together and communicate effectively to increase learning. Kriss commitment to student achievement was evident in her use of assessment, which re flected her desire to see active learning and application in the cla ssroom and community. Classroom Management and Establishing the Learning Environment. Kriss belief that one learned and developed a sense of self th rough community drove her ideas about classroom management, as did her beliefs about active citi zenship. At the beginning of her preservice experience, Kris noted that she thought classroom management would be the biggest obstacle to overcome in the classroom, but she did not necessar ily see this as a negative. Rather, she viewed
70 this as a way to try and understand the needs of her students and develop a sense of trust and belonging in the classroom. In her in ternship journal, Kris wrote: I forgot what it was like to be in high school, but I have begun to understand the environment and experiences that surround my students on a daily basis and thus, my classroom management style has improved that to the strong rapport I have built with my students and they have built with one another (K ris, internship journal, February 6, 2006). The focus on communication and ra pport-building as part of a co mmunity remained a primary factor in Kriss classroom management once sh e began teaching. Toward the end of her second year, she again reflected on her classroom mana gement style, reasserting the importance of teacherstudent and studentstudent personal connections: I would describe my management as loose, very loose. I know a lot of younger teachers here try and pretend that they are way older than the stude nts and say, Im too old for you and you are all young and immature and whatever, and they fail to understand what its like to be those students and they lose them and dont even know [it]. So I try and create an environment where they can come and relax and feel safe and learn. If they dont feel safe and feel like I want them th ere, then they wont want to be there and theres no point (Kris, March 4, 2008). During the 2006 and 2007 school years, Kris us ed a variety of ways to establish and maintain a community in her classroom. Kris noted that she spent the first week of each academic year working to create a classroom community before introducing content: Theres more to learn in school than content, and the content is useless if they cant talk to each other or me (Kris, May 21, 2007). Kris discussed variou s ways in which she worked to establish community, such as ensuring that students kne w each others names and changing the classroom seating regularly to prevent cliques from forming (Kris, May 17, 2007). She discussed two specific lessons from her fi rst and second years of teaching. The first involved students drawing pictur es of themselves, which subse quently were passed around in a circle so students could poke holes in one anothers pictures. Stude nts then tried to put their own pictures back together, but were unable to do so Kris connected this with the words students
71 chose to use with one another and the irrepara ble damage that poking at one another caused (Kris, May 17, 2007, and March 4, 2008). The second example involved asking students to write the word welcome in their native language an d then posting these different words around the classroom doors (Kris, May 17, 2007, and Ma rch 4, 2008). Through this activity, Kris emphasized that all were welcome in the class and thatregardless of how they spoketheir words were important. When asked to describe a classroom management problem she experienced, Kris noted that the only time she felt her management was no t working was when she had to send students out of the classroom. Kris stated that she felt personally responsible for these failures because she viewed them as a breakdown in the clas sroom community, not ju st a single event: Because of the environment I have set up, I know its my fault, too. There are just a handful of students who will take advantage of any situation and try and get me mad and I send them out, which almost never happens, but it does sometimes and its my fault, too (Kris, March 4, 2008). Thus, because Kris wanted her students to pa rticipate actively in the learning community, she believed that her classroom manage ment had to be flexible. She noted that encouraging students to be loud and active citizens now and then resulted in teenagers pushing the limits and sometimes going over the limits (Kris, March 4, 2008). However, during Kriss second year, a student noted Kriss choice not to use discipline referrals except in extreme situations. The fo llowing dialogue depicts a situation that arose during a world history class one afternoon: (Teacher from another class walks in, addresses Kris): Do you have any referrals? (Kris): No, I do not. (Teacher): Thats okay, Ill go get some. I ll get us all some. These kids have gone crazy! (Kris): Really? (Student): Miss Kris, you neve r write no one up. How come? (Kris): Well, I dont like to write people up. I dont th ink I need to.
72 (Student): Well, then, she dont need to bri ng you any referrals just cause shes going on a writing spree (Classroom observation, March 4, 2008). Kris also talked extensively about the use of classroom contracts that were created in each class at the beginning of the year (Kris, May 21, 2007 and March 4, 2008). Each class developed a contract, including class rules, students responsib ilities, and teacher resp onsibility. In keeping with her beliefs about so cial studies education, Kris referred to these as class constitutions, and the rules and responsibilities amounted to cla ssroom citizenship (Kris, March 4, 2008). Each class constitution was signed by eac h student and displayed prominen tly in the classroom, to be referred to when a student behaved in a way that violated the contract. For example, during a lesson on Vietnam, a student was talking to a fr iend while another student was trying to ask a question. Kris turned to the tw o students talking, pointed to th e class constitution, and asked, Are you being respectful of yourself or your cl assmates? Let him finish please, then you can finish (field notes, May 21, 2007). Content Selection. Kris articulated an understanding of how teachers beliefs influence the content choices made in the classroom. She st ated that, You cant teach all of history in one year, especially because history grows every day (Kris, March 3, 2008). Kriss choice of content in her classroom aligned with her belief s about forging community, in that Kris chose content that related to her students backgrounds, with a desire to help them feel like they belonged in history (Kris, Ma y 17, 2007). Kris also chose cont ent that gave her students opportunities to engage in discussi ons about their similarities and differences in order to give them a different perspective and help them re spect each other (Kris, March 5, 2008). Her goal of promoting social responsibil ity was evident in her focus on content that would debunk the myths from the textbook and look at what happene d from another point of view (Kris, July 5, 2007).
73 Kris was explicit in expl aining in how she chose cont ent that would respect and incorporate the diversity of her students to support the learning community. For example, when discussing World Wars I and II, Kris incorporated the role of Puerto Rican soldiers in the U.S. Army to encourage her students from Puerto Ri co to further explor e how their history has helped shaped US history (Kris, May 22, 2007). When asked to choose lesson plans and student work that best represented her teaching, Kris chose work from this section and articulated how encouraged her students were dur ing this activity; she said that certain students were more engaged and participated more durin g these lessons (Kris, May 22, 2007). At the end of her first year, Kr iss curricular choices clearly were driven by her desire to help diverse students see themselves even t hough its American history. The lessons observed during the final two weeks of the 2006 academi c school year focused on womens rights, the Civil Rights movement and its connection to hip-hop, and Vietnam and the Vietnam War. When asked why she chose these particular topics to end the year, Kris stated, Quite honestly, there are more people than white European peopl e in the world. I mean, you may as well call the [text]books European history or European American history for all the good they do on this part of history (Kris, May 22, 2007). Furthermore, Kris said, Well, my students from Vietnam asked if we were going to get there [to the Vietna m War] and so I knew I ow ed it to them to do it so they could talk about their experience. It was the fair thing to do (Kris, May 22, 2007). Kris believed that much of historyboth American and world historywas written from a singular point of view that doe s not accurately represent peoples struggles. She believed that part of her responsibility to he r students was to show diverse points of view throughout history, with particular attention to oppre ssed groups that often are discrimi nated against in society (Kris, internship journal, March 6, 2006). Kris understood how her belie fs influenced her content
74 choices and asserted that her content choices were an essential part of promoting social responsibility in her classroom. For example, Kris used what she called the misconceptions of various groups portrayed and reinforced in the media (Kris, March 4, 2008) to choose what to teach in her classroom. During her second year of teaching, Kris initially focused her world history course on African and Nativ e American history, in addition to the histories of Greece and Rome that tend to dominate world history course s. When asked why she chose to incorporate these cultures, she pointed out that the mediaparticularly m ovies and the newstended to portray these groups in a negative or savage way and thats not what its like at all (Kris, March 5, 2008): More than anything, I think the media plays on a negative outlook. Here is what the media is showing us, but here is the reality. Not, here is what the media is showing us so it must be right. The problem with it is that, because I do have a negative outlook on the media, I know how much the media affect s them and what they do when they get home. They turn on the TV. They watch TV an d pop culture with the media. That shapes so much of these students lives that they get these false beliefs as to the ways things really are. Is there some validity to what the media says? Sure, but its not the complete picture (Kris, March 5, 2008). Kriss beliefs also influenced how she construc ted content throughout the school year in another way. She developed themes and units for instruction in her world and American history courses by selecting content that would hi ghlight historical events in wh ich groups or individuals acted for the common good and not just for personal gain. In addition to selecting content that reflected her goal of promoting social responsibility, she no ted that her content selection was directed in part by student interest: If they are bored in the beginning of the year, you cant always get them back, (Kris, May 21, 2007). She chose them es for instruction that would help students better understand current issues and societal proble ms, such as Reconstruc tion, Industrialism, the Civil Rights Movement, and Feminism (Kris, course syllabi, 2006; 2007). During an interview in May 2007, Kris described how she used hip-hop and rap music to develop themes of
75 the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s as well as ongoing civil rights struggles that [students] see today (Kris, May 17, 2007): I was someone that was very much on the si de that maybe the hip-hop movement of the thug rap movement is not the best message to be sending to our kids; but, at the same time, it is an expression of African American culture and I felt that a lot of the reason there was so much animosity towards it is because we never stopmainstream America never stopped, or really White America neve r stoppedto think of where the roots of that movement came from. That being said, Ive kind of changed my position on that recently. Ive kind of read a lot more by pe ople like Bill Cosby and people who come out and are putting more and more pressure on parents and moving away from it [hip-hop]. I do think now that it is destroying African American society in America. I see the biggest reason why is because I see it in my classe s on a daily basiswho the kids look up to, who the kids admireand this is the impression that they can all treat each other like that and its okay. And what message does that br ing to them? I mean the fighting and the violence that goes on, even here at school, which I consider to be pretty safe, still its out of control. And this is not what kids should look up to. So, we talk about Martin Luther King Jr. and we talk about Jackie Robinson and we ask each other if this is what they would wantwould they be proud of hip-hop a nd rap and think that thats what is helping strengthen communities? (Kris, May, 17, 2007). Thus, Kris specifically chose content that would encourage students to reflect on how their choices affected their communities. At the end of her internship experience, Kris expressed concern about trying to cover the content of a world history or Am erican history course. She noted that the sheer volume of history content was intimidating, especially in light of the idea that history content grows every day: One of my major concerns going into the ye ar was how I was going to get through all of American/World History. I truly believe that by the end of my internship, I understood that history teachers really need to master th e idea of surveying history and picking out the most important points that students s hould know, regardless of bias. One way or another, something from history is going to go unnoticed, but that is what history professors at the college and university level are relied upon to do, touch upon many historical topics that studen ts should have received at the middle and high school levels and fill in gaps where needed. I simply hope to get my students interested in history so that they develop that desire to engage in future history le ctures/classes/books, etc. That being said, combined with the state standard s, what my own history professors have taught me, and my own desires, I will try to provide a stimulating overview of important historical topics (Kris, inte rnship journal, April 5, 2006).
76 Kris had limited control over content during he r internship; this experience subsequently reinforced her beliefs that content should be selected with the purpos e of what she termed debunking the myths of history and teaching for equality (Kris, May 17, 2007). She also believed that history textbooks present a narrowly constructed narrative of history that neglected to include all members of society (Kris, intern ship journal, February 20, 2006). Consequently, Kris selected content and materi als that would address directly the role of women, racial and ethnic minorities, and social classes in American and world history (Kris, May 17, 2007). During Kriss first year in the classroom, she stated that she carefully selected materials that would match the diversity of my classroom and show my students that they were a part of history, too (Kris, May 17, 2007). Kris noted that many of her students were living close to the poverty line and, as a result: My students are not very well informedat l east, my students arent the demographics [that] really allow for them to stay current with current events. They, um, for one reason or another, they are not interested in the news and they wake up in the morning and, if they to watch television, its, um, kind of unworthy MTV or cartoon or ESPN or something like that. In the morning, they don t read the newspapers or watch the news when they get up. They struggle to find various articles in the newspapers when I give them a newspaper and say, here, find a st orylets look through the paper and find stories they dont know how. And they just ar ent informed about whats going on and it takes meand this is how I know I have to changeit takes me pointing out whats going on. They are very quick and they know wh ats going on with th e war in Iraq and they want to talk about the current opposition to the Bush administration, but its not that they are informed about it, its more that they hear the Bush-bashing and they want to make a point. Oh this is cool, lets bash the president. But they dont really know why or what it is that they are bashing about. But, other than thatits my duty, its my responsibility to help then learn how to get informed (Kris, July 5, 2007). During the final two weeks of the school year, wh en observations of Kriss class took place, Kris selected content that she believed to be provocative but important (Kris, May 17, 2007). As class began, Kris played the s ong I Am Woman by Helen Reddy, which was an anthem for the womens rights movement in the 1970s. When as ked why she chose this particular song, Kris
77 stated that, I wanted the females in my cl ass to listen to the powerful words and feel encouraged (Kris, May 17, 2007). The observed le sson on womens rights came after a lesson on the Civil Rights movement, and Kris noted th at the Civil Rights movement influenced the womens rights movement that followed. She asked students to think about whether or not the goals of these movements had been met and, if not, why not. The class discussion that followed was lively, and all students participated at least once. When asked about this afterwards, Kris said: I get so frustrated when my students make c hoices that continue to oppress them. I mean, they listen to music or buy certain things and they objectify themselves and they dont know it because theyve never ha d to think about it. Last we ek when we did the Civil Rights movement, we listened to the lyrics of some thug rap and I asked them, Is this what Dr. King would want you to think about yourself? Is this what Malcolm X would want you to think about yourself? Then I aske d them, If this is st ill whats going on, if this stuff really represents African-American culture in the United Stat es, then is the Civil Rights movement over or is it still going on? Then I asked them, If it is still going on, what are YOU doing about it? And then they th ink, and I have them write a paper about it and they have to think about the choices they are making a nd if it makes their lives and their community a better place (Kris, May 17, 2007). Kris also explained that he r womens rights lesson was prom pted by the popularity of the Playboy bunny symbol among the students in her cl assroom. During her lesson on the womens rights movement, Kris discussed the objectificati on of women in society and asked her class, Do you think this is what litt le girls really dream of when they are growing up? Why do you think this happens? Why does it pay? What w ould Gloria Steinem and Helen Reddy say? Her class responded that they did not believe this was what young gi rls dreamt of being, and Kris then posed the question, Why do you think it happens? Almost all students were quick to note the money associated with the industry, and many believed that Playboy was a legitimate way to raise ones socioeconomic status and get aw ay from poverty. After class, Kris expressed frustration with this idea:
78 It makes me sad to think there are so ma ny young women out there that think their only shot at a better life is to po se for Playboy or something like that. It makes me realize that, as a teacher, I have to work to show them how education can make their lives better and that they are smart enough and capable enough to do it. College is a big hurdle, a big issue. I mean, we are right down the street, l iterally, from a college that most of them believe they cant get into and, even if they did, they dont think they could afford it. It makes me wonder what good living in a college town does and if it makes that dream seem even harder to reach. So, I keep trying to show them wa ys to get involved and make a difference (Kris, May 17, 2007). During her first year in the classroom, Kris incorporated content that she believed would empower students. While this theme continued in her second year of teaching, Kriss content selection focused more deliberately on debunking the myths of history. She noted that she had been able to reflect on her first year and realized that I could work even harder to get to the myths and really point them out and let the clas s take them apart (Kris, March 3, 2008). Kris specifically discussed issues of classism, sexism and racism that textbook teaching promotes, whether its on purpose or not (K ris, March 3, 2008). Kris selected content that would 1) include groups of people traditionally excluded from the curriculum, 2) develop themes of activism and empowerment, and 3) help her student become more informed about their community and their world (Kris, March 4, 2008). Kris also chose content in he r world history and American hi story classes that would help her diverse students see their cultures in the curr iculum. As mentioned prev iously, Kris included the role of Puerto Rican soldiers in her unit on World War II to show her Puerto Rican students their value and importance in the American st ory (Kris, March 4, 2008). In her world history class, Kris chose to spend mo re time on African civilizations and Asian civilizations than on Greek and Roman civilizations. When asked how she made this decision, Kris stated: Look at how the media portrays Africa and Af rican people in all different countriesit lumps them together even though they are diffe rent people and differe nt societies, so I chose to show them the uniqueness and streng th of the ancient African kingdoms. I asked them [the students] why they think that the media portrays people from Africa as starving
79 and violent and unable to take care of themselves. And they want to know why nobody ever told them about the stre ngth of Africa before and then they want to know more and they really get into it and think about things, especially the media, differently afterwards (Kris, March 4, 2008). Kriss American history classe s learned about imperialism a nd westward expansion for the period observed during her second year in the cl assroom. At the beginning of this unit of study, Kris explicitly communicated to he r class the purpose of that day: Today we are going to debunk another myth th ats out there. It goes back to the Eurocentric history we have talked about all yearis it really all a bout Europe? (Students call out, NO!) How do you define what is best ? If its yours, right? Well, thats how the Europeans okayed slavery and okayed wiping out Native Americansbecause their cultures and their skin [were] different, so it wasnt the best. And, if it wasnt the best, then it must be inferior. We ll, class, today we are going to debunk the myth of American Indians being savages, just like we debunked th e myth that Africans were savages (Kris, classroom discussion, March 4, 2008). Kris guided students through a primary document exercise that provid ed information with multiple perspectives from multiple sources. Studen ts then were asked to create a twoto threeminute presentation and defense of their ideas on the treatment of Native Americans during the period of westward expansion. Students were asked to think about how this is portrayed in old Western movies and how the media and entertainment industry perpetuate the myths. Kris noted that this later would connect to her Civil Ri ghts and womens rights lessons (Kris, March 4, 2008). When asked her goal in teach ing these lessons, Kris stated: I want them to take a look at some of the ideas deeper and think about the myths that are portrayed and how that affect s their lives. Maybe they wont debunk the myth, maybe it will hold, but I want them to think and learn th at there are multiple sides to any story. I want them to learn to not take everything at face value and that its okay to ask the hard questions. I want them to think about the decisi ons they make in their lives and if they are being forced into those decisions because of somebody elses beliefs. I want them to learn how to investigate and th at there is value in learning and learning more every day (Kris, March 4, 2008). In both her world history and Amer ican history classes, Kris ende d the class by talking about the war in Iraq and the medias portr ayal of a different culture an d religion. In her world history
80 class, Kris discussed the media s portrayal of people from the Middle Eastspecifically Arab Muslims. Kris asked her class why the media and the government might want people to feel afraid of a group of people who were different and whom many Americans did not know or understand (Kris, classroom co mmunication, March 4, 2008). The students responded that fear might justify war and linked this sense of fear to the fear created about various minority groups in the United States to justify the myths about people of African descen t (classroom discussion, March 4, 2008). When Kris asked, Well, wh at can you do about it?, students responded quickly that perhaps they shoul d learn more about Islam and Middle Eastern cultures. Kris agreed and stated that the class w ould do just that in the next unit. Kris later explained that this was her planned course of study and that she liked to let the students feel that they had a choice in the content selection. Well, they pay more attention and work harder if they think I listened to them and went in the direction they wanted to go (Kris, March 4, 20 08). This link between history and current events dem onstrated Kriss commitment to helping students learn how to become better informed about the world. Kris used a similar content link in her Ameri can history class. She asked students to think about who profited from the wars that were a pa rt of western expansion. The students were quick to note that those with money a nd those with land would benefit. Kris discussed this idea with her class: Who is getting rich off of this western e xpansion? The rich and powerful. Who do you think always makes money off of wars? The rich and the powerful. And who is fighting these wars? The poor, right? How popular do yo u think these wars were? Not very, and people get tired of the images and the wars begin to slow down (Kris, classroom communication, March 4, 2008).
81 Kriss students quickly began di scussing the war in Iraq and linking the battles of western expansion to that war. They asked Kris whethe r or not the Iraq war was for imperialist reasons. Kris ended class by discussing the war in Iraq: Whether you are for the war or against the war, most of us can agree that Hussein was not a good man. What do we say we are in Iraq for? [Class says terrorism.] Right. And everyone agrees that this is a problemnobody likes terror ism, but how do you fight an idea? Some people say that te rrorism has no one country, so they question how we ended up in Iraq. These people are concerned that America is being imperialistic and wont leave Iraq now that we are there. They worry that the war is being put in a good light and that we are helping the world and being positive to take the heat off of what may have been a bad decision by the United States. Now, does America do good in the world? Absolutely, yes. Does America sometimes have an agenda? Yes, everyone does. Thats why its your job to stay informed and really think about what the media is telling you and what the government is telling you. Don t believe everything you hear just because you hear it. Your job is to really think about whats going on in your world (Kris, classroom communication, March 4, 2008). Again, Kris encouraged her students to beco me informed about the world around them by selecting content that would enc ourage connections to current even ts and lines of inquiry related to the topics. Methods and Materials. When asked about the process of writing a lesson, Kris first noted her thematic development and content se lection within each theme. Once these choices were made, Kris considered how to teach the lesson best: I think about whether its going to be better to do a reading or by group work or by activities or by a project. I thi nk about whether I need to do a little lecture to get it started. I dont think about the easiest wa y to teach it, but whats going to be best for my students and help them get what they need (Kris, July 5, 2007). She noted that most of her classroom instruction was student-centered, and she encouraged students to work t ogether and learn from one anot her. Her belief that learning occurred when students worked together reemphasized her focus on creating a classroom community; this approach was consistent throughout her internship and first and second years in the classroom. For example, with one week left in the academic year during her first year of
82 teaching, Kris began her short unit on the Viet nam War in American history class mentioned earliera unit developed with her Vietnamese students in mind. On the first day of observation that week, Kris lectured and worked with time lines to introduce the material. This lesson also included a very brief discussion (15 minutes) at the end of cla ss (field notes, May 21, 2007). During the interview immediately following the le sson, Kris expressed dissatisfaction with her lesson: I dont like doing that, dont like lecturing, but were running out of time and we have to get to Vietnam. I told my kids wed get here So, I chose to teach in that way, but it was only supposed to last 15 minutes so we could get to [the] discussion, so my kids from Vietnam could talk about their lives and the differences from their experiences and what the textbook says. I thought it would be okay. But I just dont know (Kris, May 21, 2007). The next day, Kriss change in energy was ev ident. The room had been rearranged, and the overhead projector had been put away. It was clear that this would be a di fferent lesson than the day before. Kris explained to her students that they would be working together to learn more about the different views of the Vietnam War. She asked each of her students from Vietnam to work with another group to provi de a different level of insigh t. She then provided each group with reading materials from various points of viewe.g., wa r supporters, war protestors, government officials, small town and large c ity newspaper clippings, and stories from the Vietnamese. Students then were as ked to think about why the points of view were so different, what conclusions could be drawn, and what less ons could be learned from this experience. Students ultimately wrote a one-page reflection on the experience and what the war with Vietnam could mean in the present (lesson pla n, May 22, 2007). When asked about the change in lesson plan from the previous day, Kris stated: I knew I couldnt teach in that way [lecture] again, and I thought it was more important for them to walk away with knowledge about perspective and a sense of what happened instead of a timeline of events. Just because we are running out of time doesnt mean we
83 cant have class in the same wa y [student-centered] that they know and that they are used to and enjoy (Kris, May 22, 2007). This example was consistent with Kriss belief s that the classroom should be a community, as diverse students were encouraged to work togeth er to learn and be given the time and space for such learning to occur. Moreover, Kris enc ouraged students to appl y the ideas surrounding the Vietnam War to current global conflicts, again in line with her belief th at the classroom should stimulate a sense of social responsibility. Kriss belief that learning is communal and interactive was consistent over the three-year period under study. Toward the end of Kriss se cond year, she discusse d her favorite way to teach: I like questioning, lots of questions, asking que stion after question to get them involved and see if they are r eally processing the lesson. And I know that they like the experiential exercises and collaborative stuff that we do, so we do that a lot (Kris, March 5, 2008). When speaking about her teaching and cl assroom, Kris consistently used us and we which was indicative of her belief in a classroom community of which she was a member and shared power with her students. Such beliefs also were reflected in her pe dagogical decision making when she chose lessons that encouraged collaboration, as she demonstrated toward the end of her second year when she described her best lesson: The best lesson Ive taught over the last thre e years is probably the factory lesson. They love the factory lesson. They like coming in a nd having fun and really walking away with an understanding of what it might have been li ke to work in a factory at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. They always rememb er that lesson and even students I have had in the past come into my room and as k, Did you do the factory yet? (Kris, March 4, 2008). Kris defined her favorite lesson through students engagement a nd success, and she described her least favorite lessons as lessons where I talk too much or the students dont walk away with something they think matters but ones we have to do anyway (Kris, March 3, 2008).
84 The influence of Kriss beliefs about social responsibility also was evident in her choice of teaching materials. On Kriss desk, next to the teachers editions of textbooks, were the works of Howard Zinn and James Loewen, two scholars whose works present a more inclusive (some would call it radical) historical perspective. When asked about these texts, Kris stated, Well, [the books] help fix what the textbooks get wron g (Kris, March 3, 2008). This correlated with Kriss stated purpose of debunking the myths of history and of using soci al studies to promote social responsibility th rough social awareness. During her internship, Kris stated that she relied on the textbook to teach more than I would like to, butas a visitor in the classshe did not want to go against her supervising teacher. However, in her first and second years, she discussed using the textbook as either a supporting text or a diffe ring viewpoint. Rather, she sought mate rials that she believed offered a more accurate perspective on historical events or exposed students to multiple perspectives to encourage historical inquiry in her classroom. With regard to he r process for choosing materials, Kris stated: Well, I have a few resource books I use all the time, one of which is an American history book that tells history through primary documen ts. It only tells hi story through primary documents and thats it. I use the internet a lot to see what information is out there, whats available, what other teachers have done, and what scholars in the field say. Sometimes I look at the resource books that came with the textbook, but I use just the documents out of that. I try a nd give different points of vi ew, especially from different [socioeconomic] classes so that they get a better sense of what happened (Kris, March 4, 2008). Assessment. Kriss definition of assessment echoed her overarching beliefs about education: I know students have learned when they can go do something with it in their communities or they bring information back to me; otherwise, its just a bunch of useless facts, (Kris, March 5, 2008). Her assessment was infl uenced by her beliefs about active student learning. Kriss use of assessment developed over her first three years of teaching (preservice
85 through year two) and evolved into something sh e believed was more representative of active learning and student enga gement. Kris noted that she did not necessarily follow what she called a traditional grading system (Kris, March 5, 2008). Although she used the percentage scale that her school district established, she believed that the way she arrived at a students grade might be different than her colleagues (Kris, March 5, 2008): I am a pretty liberal grader on assessment s like projects and group work because I know they are new to the students and new to me, too. I know they are not perfect, but we are all learning. I have to take into considerati on there may be flaws in the way these are set up and assess fairly. I mean, if its somethi ng simple like a reading exercise, thats different, but for the big things, I think about their work and their process and ask them to fix the problems and think about it more to ge t them where they need to be (Kris, March 5, 2008). During her internship and first year of teaching, Kr is used more traditional forms of assessment, such as tests and quizzes, along with projects. However, she believed that these were not an accurate measure of how or what students were learning (Kris, July 5, 2007). Concerned about her assessment process, Kris used the summer between her first and second years to rethink it. She developed a method of assessment that focuse d on student choice and interest, using writing, art, music, and presentations to assess stude nt learning. Students were given the choice of completing a project, with equivalent requirements and encouraged to show all they had learned about a particular topic (st udent assessment, March 5, 2008). Kris assessed students more frequently, doing so after just a few lessons rath er than at the end of a unit. She also used cumulative, portfolio-type assessments, examining st udent growth over time rather than just in a single instance. When asked why she had develo ped this form of assessment, she stated: I do it for the students. They are creative and I want them to be thoughtful and think beyond a multiple-choice test. I do it to keep them interested and to keep them engaged. I want their grades to come up and I want them to care. I want them to be successful. I dont want them to associate this class and all of social studies with failure because then nothing will ever change (Kris, March 5, 2008).
86 Such development of alternative assessments de monstrated her commitment to student-centered learning, as well as her growth and learning as a classroom teacher. During her first three years in the classroom, she came to understand learning as an active process that should be assessed actively, not a finite process that can be asse ssed in a closed, impersonal, multiple choice method (Kris, March 5, 2008). Howe ver, Kris stated th at this type of assessment made her uncomfortable: I know its the right thing to do and I know they enjoy it and learn from the assessment, but it doesnt match the FCAT a nd I feel responsible for that. I feel like I should fall into line instead of going out on a limb like this. I am afraid of parents. I am afraid that I will let my administration down. I am afraid that if they fail the FCAT that its my fault for not testing them in the way that they were goi ng to be tested. I dont mind the criticism, I can deal with that. I dont want them to fail the FCAT because of me (Kris, March 5, 2008). In terms of classroom management, content, a nd methods and materials, the connection between Kriss beliefs and classroom practice was clea r. Kris constructed a collaborative learning community that encouraged thought and action th rough student-centered l earning. Her effort to incorporate multiple perspectives and encourage discussion and inquiry evidenced her sense of social responsibility. Her development of alternative assessments ove r the course of her classroom experience also reflecte d her beliefs; however, her conc erns about moving away from more traditional, multiple-choice tests demonstrated how contextual factors may influence a teachers beliefs and classroom practice. Challenges in Teaching Kriss belief s about teaching are strong and r ooted in her experiences both in and out of the classroom. However, she encounters challeng es in implementing what she considers to be effective social studies teaching. Kris spoke exte nsively of the challenges she encountered in the classroom influenced her classroom practice thro ughout her internship and first and second years in the classroom. Testing and state standards gr eatly influenced her prac tice and the context of
87 the school in which she taught. She reflected on how the pressures of testing often put teachers at odds with one another or encouraged teachers to focus on methods of learning that were not necessarily those they would explicitly teach within their content areas. She stated that testing and standards limited the amount of instructiona l time across subjects, which placed additional stress on teachers and discourag ed collaboration. This was esp ecially evident during Kriss internship because, as a guest in another teachers classroom, she sometimes was encouraged to take short cuts to get through material quickly and efficiently (Kris, internship journal, February 28, 2006). Kris also spoke of how her students needs and backgrounds influenced her beliefs about teaching and, in turn, her classroom practice. Required State Testing. Despite the current high-stakes climate in schools, Kris did not believe that the state standards for world history and American history greatly influenced her classroom practice. Rather, she felt that the st ate standards for social studies were broad and vague, which enabled her to teach the content she felt necessary for her students. At the end of her first year, Kris explained: I know the standards are there. We have to have our standards posted and on all of our lesson plans. So, look at the standards and basi cally see what aligns with what I want to teach and just works from there. And Ill ch eck and see if theres anything major I need to accomplish. Honestly, I use the standards because I have to but its not so rigid that I have to adapt my teaching to meet the standards (Kris, May 17, 2007). During her second year in the classroom, Kris described the state standards: The standards are so vague and so general th at, I mean, I know that some teachers have the same four standards on the wall all year and never change them and thats how vague they are. In history, you cant stay vague, so just because I fulfilled a standards doesnt mean Im done teaching. Standards are just one of those laws that we have to have to prove we know what were doing or when a teac her gets in trouble and they can fall back in the standards and if they are abiding by the standards. It s just some kind of law to judge if a teacher is doing his or her job or not (Kris, March 3, 2008).
88 Despite Kriss belief in the limited usefulness of state standards, she recognized that the testing that stems from the accountability and standardization movement greatly impacted her school and her teaching. During her internsh ip experience, Kris spoke very little about state standards or standardized testing requirements. She noted the amount of inst ructional time lost while the tests were administered, as well as student and school anxiety levels, but she did not emphasize testing in any way (Kris, inte rnship journal, March 6, 2006). Ra ther, she noted that, since no social studies subjects were test ed, it was not as much of a conc ern for her as it might be for other subject area teachers (Kris, internship journal, March 6, 2006). However, during her first and second years in the classroom, this belief changed quickly: Gone are the Utopian beliefs that I can just always teach social studies in the best way it can be taughtNow I know the reality th at the state and my school can direct me on how to teach (Kris, May 17, 2007). Kris elaborated on this in an interview during her second year of teaching, a week before testing was to begin. When asked what she perceived as the primary pressure on the school, she stated: FCAT, unfortunately. You know its that ever ything is geared towards FCAT and how we can improve FCAT and its among all the teachers and the Eng lish teachers feel incredibly pressured, especially this time of year. Whenever I talk to them, whenever I see them, nine times out of ten they have a frown on their face and everyone, especially the students; everyone knows it and can see it (Kris, March 3, 2008). The pressure of testing was of particular interest in the current study, as it demonstrated how the contextual factors set by the state affect a sc hool andin turna teachers beliefs and practices. In the state of Florida, no social studies discip lines are tested; thus, soci al studies content has no affect on the grade the state gives the school, which is based in part on testing. However, as Kris explained, testing did influe nce her classroom practice: I do things to help with FCAT. We do a lot of reading assignments and I look at the readings myself and create questions that mi mic FCAT style questions and things that
89 might be seen on the FCAT. We do a lot more writing and a lot more reading than I ever expected to do and we never do a reading w ithout questions to follow otherwise I feel bad. As long as I can maintain the integrity of history, then I think its okay and I hope it helps my students out and helps the English teachers out and takes some of the pressure off (Kris, March 3, 2008). Thus, the contextual factors of the schoolKriss communitydid indeed influence her practices. Furthermore, choosing methods design ed explicitly to support the work of other teachers reinforced her belief in the importance of community. Kriss concern that the inte grity of history might be in danger when social studies classes focus on reading influenced her beliefs a bout testing in a way that is worth noting. Her concern that history might be at risk led her to believe that inco rporating social studies into the FCAT would be beneficial. Desp ite her belief that testing was stressful and ineffective in measuring student success fully (Kris, internship journal, March 6, 2006), Kris stated: I think that, overall, I would feel better as a social studies teacher that I was being recognized as a real teacher a nd that its important that it wo uld be on the test, but at the same time Im skeptical of what a social st udies FCAT might look li ke. I mean, as much as I would like to think that it would make us [social studies teach ers] matter, it might take it away as well, I man were already so restricted by reading because of what the state requires, I might feel like I was bei ng restricted even more (Kris, March 3, 2008). The pressures of testing in the state, and, conseq uently, the school, led to the conflict that she felt in implementing what she believed to be effec tive classroom practice. This was particularly evident during the schools testing time. However, Kriss beliefs re lated to social responsibility and its role in social studies were consistent and ultimately drove her classroom practice. When asked if she believed that implementing a social studies test would allow for more support of social studies instruction, she expressed skeptici sm about the content that might be on a social studies test: Well, I would have to look at any FCAT and see what bias is there. Right now, I dont have to worry about that. With a test, I would have to teach the governments bias because that would be the only way for them to pass the testto know what the
90 government wants them to know and what the government decided was important in history and I dont necessar ily like that idea eith er (Kris, March 3, 2008). Kris openly discussed the pressures of teaching in a high-stakes environment within a school whose focus was to raise the school grade from a low C to a B by emphasizing reading (Kris, March 3, 2008). Although Kriss thoughts on testing changed during this study, her greatest struggle occurred when her belief s about the importance of comm unity conflicted with teaching for social responsibility, as she explained in an interview during her second year in the classroom: I am expected to use methods like readi ng comprehension, writing skills, vocabulary, stuff like that. Everything you can think of that s not interesting about history and doesnt make a difference. Nowhere is there an analys is of differing viewpoints, none of how the social classes work together. I mean, the main points of history arent lets sit down and do a read aloud and Im not saying that it s not important, but it doesnt allow for the kids to make anything from hi story. It allows them to make something useful on a standardized test. Great, they pass, they are going to graduate, but then are they going to enjoy doing it? Are they going to college? Do they want to learn more? This is the issue around here, they are going to be less likely to understand history or their role in their communities but they will feel like history just helps out with the FCAT and it makes me feel like I need to move away from teaching in a way that helps students explore history and understand how they fit into history and this greater need to help one another. I know what my administration has done for me as far as supporting me and making me feel welcome and comfortable. So, if I dont teach in ways that help the test, then Im being disloyal. Im letting my school down and Im letting my administration down (Kris, March 4, 2008). The schools contextual factors clashed with her beliefs and, subsequently, her classroom practice. To mediate this conflict, Kris tried to determine what was most beneficial for her students and worked to strike a balance in her classroom (Kris, March 5, 2008). For example, she continued using alternative assessments, despite her concern that not creating multiple-choice assessments mirroring FCAT tests might go against her administration. However, to help students prepare for the FCAT, she included a read ing section, with FCAT-style questions within each unit of study (Kris, lesson plan s and assessments, March 5, 2008).
91 Despite the extra work and longe r hours, Kris taught consiste ntly in ways that reflected her beliefs about teaching and the purpose of sch ools. However, the pressures of time and testing sometimes created situations in which Kris felt sh e had to teach in ways that were inconsistent with her beliefs about teachi ng. Because of the schools focu s on standardized testing and reading, Kris often felt pressured to incorporat e more reading into he r classroom. Although she was quick to note that social st udies content naturally involves reading quite a bit, Kris felt forced to create questions for each reading th at mimicked the tests students ultimately would take. Although she created these questions, sh e felt that it often unde rmined her teaching by making the content seem forced or boring or too test-like (Kris, May 21, 2007). Thus, Kris taught in ways that were incons istent with her beliefs, althoug h her commitment to community and the overall well-being of the school ultimately influenced her decision to incorporate these readings into her classroom: No, I dont this is the best way to teach, but my school needs me to do it and I would feel guilty if something happened, like I was le tting my administration and the English teachers down by not helping and doing what they needed me to do. So, we just do it sometimes (Kris, March 3, 2008). Toward the end of the school year, Kris felt rush ed to include content that she deemed important; consequently, she lectured or gave notes in orde r to fit in topics such as the Civil Rights Movement or the Vietnam War, as evident in he r first year. However, after just one day of teaching in a way that was inconsistent with her beliefs about good teaching (e.g., collaborative learning, discussion), Kris change d her lesson plans to be more consistent with her beliefs ways that the students expect in class and that they like more and respond to (Kris, May 24, 2007). Time Constraints. Despite the extra work and longer hours, Kris taught consistently in ways that reflected her beliefs about teaching an d the purpose of schools. However, the pressures
92 of time and testing sometimes created situations in which Kris felt she had to teach in ways that were inconsistent with her beliefs about teachi ng. Because of the schools focus on standardized testing and reading, Kris often felt pressured to incorporate more reading into her classroom. Although she was quick to note that social studies content naturally involves reading quite a bit, Kris felt forced to create questions for each read ing that mimicked the tests students ultimately would take. Although she created these questions, she felt that it often undermined her teaching by making the content seem forced or boring or too test-like (Kris, May 21, 2007). Thus, Kris taught in ways that were incons istent with her beliefs, althoug h her commitment to community and the overall well-being of the school ultimately influenced her decision to incorporate these readings into her classroom: No, I dont this is the best way to teach, but my school needs me to do it and I would feel guilty if something happened, like I was le tting my administration and the English teachers down by not helping and doing what they needed me to do. So, we just do it sometimes (Kris, March 3, 2008). Toward the end of the school year, Kris felt rushed to include content that she deemed important; consequently, she lectured or gave notes in order to fit in topics such as the Civil Rights Movement or the Vietnam War, as evident in her first year. However, after just one day of teaching in a way that was inconsistent with her beliefs about good teaching (e.g., collaborative learning, discussion), Kris change d her lesson plans to be more consistent with her beliefs ways that the students expect in class and that they like more and respond to (Kris, May 24, 2007). Peer Teachers. Kris did not believe that her fellow teachers influenced her beliefs or classroom practice. She stated that she did not teach in ways that many other teachers in her school did, but she did not see this as an issue. Rather, this knowledge reinforced her commitment to teaching in ways that were consis tent with her beliefs th at learning should occur
93 within an active community of learners, w ith a focus on developing a sense of social responsibility through activism. Kris described one instance, during her first year, in which she was encouraged to teach in a way that was inconsistent with her beliefs: I was told that I needed to learn the benefits of worksheets. Mr. Snow said that students like worksheets and, well, the whole gist of the conversation was that I was working too hard and I needed to start using my time duri ng class to plan and that I needed to start using worksheets so I could plan and grade whil e the students were in my class. He was telling me that, just that day, he had gotten 18 essays graded in one class just by giving out a worksheet. I mean, his heart was in the ri ght place, I guess, but he said that this would solve all my problems. What he didn t get was that didnt solve any of my problems like making learning active and inte resting every day. That didnt solve anything (Kris, May 22, 2007). Kris believed that this was a general attitude throughout the school as well as the social studies department. However, she still felt connected to her fellow teachers, part icularly other social studies teachers or teachers with whom she shared students. At the end of her second year, Kris still viewed her school as a st rong community in which learning took place and teachers were supported in trying to make a diffe rence in their classrooms. She di d not feel that she was being asked to change her practice by veteran teachers, but rather that these te achers were trying to give what they believed to be beneficial advice to a novice teacher. Kriss belief in the importance of maintaining a community within her school and working collaboratively with other teachers serv ed as a buffer against criticism or negative comments. For example, she talked about being ab le to work with teache rs, but not letting their negativity change her classroom practice or lead her to conform to the norm: Teachers in our school, especially the ones I ta lk to, definitely converse about what is going on in their classrooms. From my point of view, I ask a lot of teachers about some of the things that I notice in my classroom and I think thats part of the self-critiquing process and part of professional growth. Someti mes I take that into consideration. I mean, some of them criticize me and thats fine. I do things differently than they do. But some of them do teach like me and are friendly and do get to know their students and so I usually ask those teachers more than the others (Kris, March 4, 2008).
94 She also noted that the major ity of teachers at the school were supportive and effective. However, the vocal criticism of the school by one particular group of teachers offended her, but that only strengthened her feeling about her beliefs a nd methods of instruction: I just had a conversation with a teacher at this sc hool who called the school ghetto. She teaches in a different track and she said that the rest of the school is ghetto. I dont think this school is ghetto, and if you think this is ghetto and you think of our students like that, then you should go move to another school and not be here. She used that word, which I do not like at all and I dont let my kids use at all and she stereotyped them and that just tells me that Im teaching in the right way, working with students so they want to fight that kind of stereotype, that kind of attitude (Kris, March 4, 2008). Diverse Student Body. According to Kris, her students needs and classroom diversity had the greatest impact on her beliefs and classroom practices. Her commitment to promoting equality through social studies was reinforced by her teaching students who were considered to be on a lower track in the school. In terms of race, culture, ethnicity, language, and religion, her classes were diverse (Kris, Ma y 17, 2007, and March 3, 2008). In te rms of socioeconomic status, her students were more likely to be on free a nd reduced-cost lunch programs than higher tracks within the school (Kris, May 17, 2007, and March 3, 2008). However, when asked to describe her classes to someone who never had entered he r classroom, Kris described her students as: Rambunctious, yet creative. They are a little wild sometimes, and then there are some not-so-wild times, but they are not uncontrollable, they are just active. We take all the skills they learn all year and we become more and more integrated as a class, more and more of a group, and they are more and more comfortable with one another and get more and more comfortable working together. I mean, its not perfect, no class is, but Im really proud of my students a nd the bonds they have formed this year (Kris, May 21, 2007). This bond and sense of community were eviden t when the administration proposed a change to Kriss class demographics in the middle of the 2006 academic year. In an effort to make Kriss job easier, the administ ration offered to divide her classes by moving students who were English Language Learners (ELL) to a self-contained cl ass, with the idea of developing language not necessarily connected to the curriculum. There was a point when they were talking about
95 taking away the [ELL] kids and making just a re gular class and no [ELL] class (Kris, May 21, 2007). Noting that her classes did indeed have ELL students, Kris described what occurred after the proposal: The regular kids and the [ELL] kids were so against that, so vehemently against that, that they talked to the administration and talked to teachers and told the administration that they wanted the classes to stay the same and th at they liked this type of diversity in the classroomWell what happened was basically I was in agreement and I thought maybe the regular kids were not getting what they needed to because it was slower with the [ELL] kids. And then the more and more we all thought about it and we talked to the regular kids and the [ELL] kids and we talked to them separately and then together and they all said, when we sat downme, the administration, and the kidswe all sat down and came to the decision that, for us, that th e diversity and what we learned from each other was more valuable and more important and something to consider in a world history class because they were really lear ning so much content from each othermore than they would if the kids were separate. And they decided that they didnt want to be switched around and sometimes it was because th ey didnt want to change their schedules but for the most part they wanted to stay together as a class (Kris, May 21, 2007). Kris was encouraged by the administrations responsiveness to the students, as it reinforced the sense of community and belonging th at she felt for her school. She wa s able to take this renewed sense of community and encourage students in a new way. Students told Kris that they felt like a genuine part of the school and that adults would listen to their voi ces (Kris, May 21, 2007). Furthermore, Kris was able to strengthen the ideas of citizenship in a participatory democracy. Rather than just describing how change might o ccur and how her students could act as agents of change in their communities, Kriss students act ually were agents of change. The contextual factors in the school enabled Kris to create an exercise in democr acy that resonated with students and encouraged not only engagement in the clas sroom, but also a sense that activism worked which transcended the curriculum and rein forced her beliefs about teaching. The diversity of Kriss classes clearly infl uenced her classroom pr actice. She developed her curriculum to recognize students dive rse backgrounds, encouraging her international students to share what their lives were like in their home countries before moving to the United
96 States (classroom observations, May 21, 2007, May 24, 2007, March 3, 2008, and March 4, 2008). For example, when discussing the Vietnam War, Kris noted what she called the negative perspective of Vietnam from the textbook (c lassroom observation, May 21, 2007).Kris asked her students from Vietnam to pr ovide a different perspective. They quickly launched into a discussion about Vietnam, creating an open dialogue among students (classroom observation, May 21, 2007). After the lesson, Kris explained that this was common in the class: I dont necessarily agree with singling students out but, in th is case, I asked them ahead of time and they agreed. I mean, they know more than me, more than their classmates, so they have to teach what they know and give their experiences. Why would I teach alone about Vietnam or Bosnia or Puerto Rico when I havent even been there? I ask them to help and be the one that does that because it s their class and their time to do it (Kris, May 21, 2007). Toward the end of her second year, Kris again discussed how the diversity of her classroom influenced her classroom practice: It has allowed me to be more open to unders tanding of other cultures. Not that I never was open, but it has forced me to be more ope n because I kind of look for articles or lessons that may be geared towards their cultu res yet still get the theme. When we were talking about World War II and war heroes and what not, we talked about several Puerto Ricans that came to America to fight and a bout the as effort and with Puerto Rican students in the class it got the point across of war heroes. At the same time, it allowed them to be a little bit more engaged in the cla ss because they could see a little bit of their own history within American history (Kris, March 4, 2008). Kris also noted how the diversity of her classroom influenced her methods of instruction: I know that kids learn differently and I have to think about what I am doing and what methods I am using all the time. For example, some students will not respond to me if I am not looking at them, so I have to be car eful when they are working in groups to go over and directly talk to them. I know others need lots of visuals and lots of graphic organizers to really connect to content and get the big ideas. I also know that I have to give them time to talk to each other in the class because sometimes they need to work it out together, to help each other understand, espe cially when language is an issue (Kris, May 21, 2007). During the 2006 and 2007 school years, Kris utilized a variety of methods, including collaborative learning, experiential exercises, st ructured debate models, and storytelling. She
97 stated that she tries really hard to match the right method to the right topic (Kris, May 24, 2007). This willingness to use methods that were responsive to the students was evident when Kris changed her methods of instruction because students were not active in her class during her first day of instruction on the Vietnam War. Challenging Student Behavior. Kriss beliefs about teaching challenging students changed during the course of this study and were inconsistent with her ov erall beliefs regarding teaching and learning. In her internship journal, Kris stated: Maybe Im just too Utopian, but I know that I can teach and motivate every child to be successful in my classroom. Thats my job as a teacher and I am fully committed to making this happen (Kris, internship journal, February 27, 2006). Kris explained that she had heard teac hers complaining that students were either stupid or lazy, never anything positive or somethi ng they [the teachers] might be doing (Kris, internship journal, February 27, 2006). Kris believed that engaging content and effective methods, as well as her efforts to create a clas sroom community, would mo tivate all students to learn in her classroom: What I really need right now is just more experience. I need more time in the classroom to develop and mature into the teacher I want to become. The more I am in the classroom and the more I undergo the trial-and-error pro cess that is a natural part of teaching, the more I will learn about how to reach all of my students in a way that makes a difference in their lives (Kris, internship journal, February 20, 2006). Toward the end of her first year, Kris bega n to express doubts about the willingness of all students to be successful in sc hool. Although she did not appear to be discouraged from her goal of teaching and engaging all students effectively, she began to discuss factors that influenced student motivation in a different way than she had discussed during her internship. Kris noted that some students in her class rarely engaged in the lessons a nd class discussions (Kris, May 24, 2007):
98 I mean, I know these guys have [sports] prac tice after school or th ey have jobs after school, but this stuff is impor tant. Its about their rights and their government and they just dont care. I try to get them to read. I try to get them to discuss. I show YouTube clips. I play songs that I know they know. I put them in groups. I give them notes. And it just doesnt work. And its only a few, I mean, one or two in each class and they all seem to be the football players. Ive been worki ng on them all year and I am beginning to think that maybe you just cant get them all. So I get as many as I can every day and I keep telling them that I am here when they ch ange their minds. I mean, they are passing the class and everything, but they just dont, um, engage like the rest (Kris, May 24, 2007). Toward the end of Kriss second year, she expr essed frustration with her inability to reach certain students in her classroom. She again identi fied these students as athletes or those with jobs, and she struggled to find ways to motivat e these students (Kris, March 4, 2008). She first discussed the methods learned in her teacher e ducation program: I feel like nobody said these are things that can work for some students some of the timeit was that these things work for students and sometimes they dont and you have to figure out what works for your students, (Kris, March 4, 2008). Kris still worked to incorporate many of the methods taught in her methods course, but her sense of their effectiveness had changed: Gone is the Utopian belief that I can help all students, but I know I can get a lot of them and that keeps me going and thats what its all about, (Kris, March 4, 2008). She c ontinued to use student-centered methods in an effort to engage students in he r history class. She continued to create assessments that she believed would measure students learning more accurately. Her classroom practice remained consistent with her beliefs about community a nd social responsibility. Kris recognized the change in her beliefs, but she stated that, Just because they give up doesnt mean I have to. I can recognize that they dont want to be engaged but still keep tryi ng to engage them. They can fail themselves, but I dont have the option of failing them (Kris, March 4, 2008). Despite Kriss best efforts to maintain a cl assroom community that dealt with behavior issues in house and according to our classroom contract (Kris, May 17, 2007), Kris did send a
99 student out of the room on one occasion duri ng an observation for this study. Students were working in groups of three to create an illustrate d narrative about a topic related to the Vietnam War based on a character who would have been relevant to the period (e.g., soldier, war protester, Vietnamese citizen). One particular group caught Kriss attention during work time, and she walked over to ensure that they were co mpleting the assignment. Kris began to talk to this group about what was appropria te and what was inappropriate for their stories. One student responded to Kris with inappropriate language that disrupted the class and called attention to the group. Kris became visibly distressed and immediately sent the student to the administrators office with a discipline referral (classroom observation, May 17, 2007). The school day soon ended and, after returning from the administrators office, Kris asked to talk about the scene that had taken place (Kris, May 17, 2007): I hated to do that. I hate wh en I have to send someone out because then they dont learn and thats probably what they want anyway. Bu t he cant curse at me like that and expect to sit there, which is probably what he want ed. I mean, hes been like that for days now, and I think hes just trying to get kicked out so he doesnt have to take finals. I dont like to send kids out, but he didnt give me a choice there (Kris, May 17, 2007). Kris also discussed the inappropriate nature of the groups story and its lack of relevance to the assignment. Kris noted that the story was just about pot and drugs and they thought they were being funny and talking about the 70s, but it was about drug d ealers and guns and thats not funny (Kris, May 17, 2007). Kris believed that her tr ust had been violated and that this lack of respect for her and the classroom warranted a discip line referral, as the actions of the student had jeopardized the classroom community that Kris ha d worked to establish. Kris stated that the students actions not only disrespected me but disrespected his peers and made a joke out of a topic they should be paying attention to b ecause its going on again (Kris, May 17, 2007). Although this instance was inconsistent with Kris s overall classroom management style, Kris
100 believed that the actions were warranted b ecause of the nature of the problem. Such inconsistency appeared to be resolved the fo llowing day when the stud ent returned to the classroom and turned in a completed assignment. When asked about the students return, Kris stated, Well, he just had some stuff going on at home and hes going to not act like that and were going to move on (Kris, May 18, 2007). Kris s willingness to move past an isolated incident seemed consistent with her beliefs about teaching and student needs and aligned with his overall beliefs regarding classroom management. Long Hours. Although Kriss commitment to her beliefs about teaching and learning did not change over the course of the study, the dayto-day challenges that teachers encounter began to challenge Kriss practice. Toward the end of her second year, she began to express concern about long hours, challenging students, and di fficult classroom management situations. These stressors, coupled with issues of standardized testing, forced Kris to question whether or not she was teaching in the right city or in the righ t school. Though her beliefs and practice did not change, her loyalty to her school community was tested. Kriss enthusiasm for her profession and for her students was evident from her internship through her first and second years in the classroo m. She created lesson plans that were student centered and included materials other than the te xtbook or workbooks. Kris noted that this often meant working outside of school, during the ev ening and on weekends (Kris, March 4, 2008). Although the work hours were extensive, Kris remained committed to the idea of studentcentered teaching and stated that I knew that teachers could be influential but I never knew how much work it would be. If you do it right it takes real work, rea lly hard work, (Kris, March 3, 2008). However, toward the end of her second year, Kris began to ask about teacher burnout and her feeling that she was never leaving wo rk, never leaving my students (Kris, March 5,
101 2008). Kris feared that she was at risk of bur ning out for two reasons. First, despite gaining classroom experience, she still was planning an d grading on weekends. Second, her role as a varsity sports coach put her in the company of her students outside of the school day. I have no life outside of school and I dont th ink thats a good thing. I dont want to grow to hate my job, (Kris, March 5, 2008). Kriss commitment to less traditional, studen t-centered methods and her incorporation of materials other than the textbook left her with a significant amount of planning. She noted that lesson planning and preparation could take hours and [take] up most of my weekend. I even have to come to school sometimes and plan, (Kris, March 4, 2008). She had believed that her workload would decrease after teaching the same subject for two consecutive years; however, her desire to address specific student needs left her adapting a nd reorganizing lessons that she had used in the past (Kris, March 4, 2008). Kris also was reflective about her content choices: I have to make sure that my content refl ects my students and their backgrounds. I mean, teaching a lesson one year that looks at stud ent backgrounds may not work the next year when I have different kids. I mean, yeah, I can keep some stuff, but I need to know where my kids come from to know whose history I ne ed to make sure I in clude (Kris, March 3, 2008). Kris noted further that she often was the first teache r to arrive at school and the last to leave, and she questioned how other teachers managed to pl an and gather materials without working after school (Kris, March 4, 2008). She thought that pe rhaps one day she might not work the same hours, but then noted quickly that, well, I alwa ys have to change something or improve, so I really dont know how I would manage my time differently (Kris, March 4, 2008). Although Kriss school provided her with many resources to aid in her teaching, she commented on the lack of reading materials, such as primary documents, that would help her in her goal to teach historical inquiry:
102 I have to use my college notes and books a lo t, but the reading level is way too high and I end up rewriting some stuff anyway. I spend a lot of time on the Internet. A lot of timeI have some books, like one that teaches American history only through primary documents, but that doesnt help my world hi story class. I am always looking for the materials I need to teach the way I want because, you know, they arent going to buy them for just me. My department does a really good job of getting me the technical stuff I need, like my projector, but they dont get the other stuff. So I am always looking for stuff that my students will find interesting a nd that shows how one r eading is biased or that something doesnt match something else they read so they have to think about it and figure it out for themselves (Kris, March 4, 2008). Kriss role as varsity sports coach added to he r concerns about burning out, as her afternoons and weekends often were spent with her team. Kris talked extensivel y about her love of coaching and her concern for her players, noti ng that the level of respect be ing a coach is very different (Kris, March 5, 2008). Kris also developed a strong working relationship with many of the players parents. Kris discussed how the relationships she built with her players parents helped her develop relationships w ith other parents as well: Even the ones that arent [sports] parent s, I get e-mails all the time from parents regarding the classroom and whatnot. Because of the relationship I have with the players and natural byproduct and their friends commen t as well, it opens me up to other students that arent players because I kind of get on thei r level and understand some of the things that are going on in their lives. And so even their parents feel a little bit more comfortable in calling me or writ ing e-mails. It is not as freq uent as some of the players but I still have a relationshi pwith the parents of other st udents (Kris, March 5, 2008) Kris appreciated the personal connections and sens e of family that developed from working with these families. She noted that, her role as a varsit y sports coach reinforced her sense of belonging and commitment to her school. She talked of her commitment to her players and their families as well as her commitment to her school: That is what has kept me in this town longe r than I thought I would originally be. It is because I have this home-grown relationship wi th other families in the school and in the community, and it goes back to that whole idea of if you are not in it for the entire community and you are just here for a paycheck and that you have just done it another dayI cant believe that is a ha ppy life (Kris, March 4, 2008).
103 However, the time spent coaching and planning led Kris to believe that her personal time is completely nonexistent at this point (Kris, March 5, 2008). She expressed concern about still living in the same town and thought perhaps moving would provide her with more social options: It more has to do with my social life. I stay close to very home-grown towns, especially when you are away from the university, and I am kind of in that unfamiliar and confusing stage in my life where I am young, not married, and still like to enjoy life, but I feel that kind ofdoesnt provide me that opportunity to o much, so I feel th at a lot of my time that could be spent doing that is spent towa rds work. And maybe some of the anxiety that I sometimes experience, which is nt a whole lot, but some of it would be alleviated if I was more socially active myself. Not even just going out and having fun, but being activeI used to be active in so many grassroots organizations when I was in the north and when I was living in the north and even to a certain extent wh en I moved here and went to the college, and I just dont feel li ke I have that time anymore (Kris, March 5, 2008) However, Kriss beliefs about the importance of community left her questioning her loyalty to the school and my students if sh e chose to move. Her commitment to her beliefs left her feeling concerned that, regardless of what decision she made, there would be a great sacrifice that she was just not ready to make, at least not for this next schoo l year (Kris, March 5, 2008). Successes in Teaching Kris was able to iden tify the challenges she faced in implementing effective social studies practice. However, she also spoke of her successe s in the classroom, which kept her motivated to teach in ways that were consistent with her beliefs. Kris reflected on her successes, the events or lessons of which she was most proud, towards the end of her second year in the classroom. She identified three areas-her evolution as a teache r, her classroom manageme nt, and her ability to develop classroom practice that she believed to be consistent with he r beliefs and teacher education program. Each of these will be described in the section that follows. Classroom Practice. Kris explicitly stated her be liefs about teaching and learning, indicating that schools and teachers are responsible for empoweri ng students through education.
104 She stated that her strong se nse of community and interconnect edness supported this goal. She believed that learning was assessed through applicationthat students demonstrated learning when classroom knowledge was applied to the school community or the community in which the students lived. Kris asserted that such ideas were consistent w ith the goals of social studies education, in that community and activism are char acteristics of citizensh ip in a participatory democracy: My greatest success as a teacher so far is in building lasting relationships with my students. Although I would love for all of my students to go out and tell other people about the content they learned in my classr oom, its far more satisfying when they e-mail me and tell me they are doing volunteer work or registered to vote. Ive always felt that life is just not about me being in some bubble. Its about me and what I am able to do that makes life better for others (Kris, March 5, 2008). Content and Methods. Kris carefully selected content that reflected her beliefs about teaching and students needs. She often sought materials to use instead of the textbook, because she believed that the textbook had limited inform ation and presented a biased view of history. Her attention to diversity and her desire to make her classroom more incl usive also showed in her choice of materials. She respected her students cultures and chose materials, such as the readings on Puerto Rican soldiers, which would help her students feel a sense of belonging in the history curriculum. Kriss methods of instruction were consiste nt with her beliefs about teaching and school. She used methods such as experiential exerci ses and collabora tive learning that enabled her students to work together to find answers. Kriss students were active participants in constructing content, as she taught content th rough historical inquiry with an understanding that there was no one best answer or one ri ght answer even (Kris, May 21, 2007). According to Kris: I learned, and I agree with, the idea that we have to look at teachi ng in a different way, not just the same traditional way its always been done. These kids are different and have
105 different needs and live in a different world and we have to respect and include that. Otherwise, were not teaching, not really (Kris, March 4, 2008). Her respect for student diversity and student needs, as well as th e classroom decisions she made based on that respect, demonstrate how her beli efs influenced her peda gogical decision making and the ways in which she applied her beliefs to her teaching. Classroom Management and Community. Kriss classroom management clearly reflected her beliefs about teaching; it centered on developing and mainta ining a learning community in which she built relationships with students and engaged them in the construction of the classroom environment. Her belief that students learned best as part of a community persisted, despite her fellow teachers questions or criticisms of her classroom management style. This idea was exemplified in a statement from Kris toward the end of her second year: You know what keeps me going? When a student just comes in to say good morning or ask how Im doing or just to tell me thank you for caring about them. Its amazing when that happens and thats the stuff that rall y matters. Ive learned that, yeah, you can help every student, but sometimes that help is an A [as a grade] and sometimes that help is helping them feel like the belong and they matter (Kris, March 5, 2008). Summary Growing up in a large Greek-American family grounded in the principles of collaboration and community first shaped Kriss ideas of what schools should be. In addition, her high school social studies teachers introduced her to the idea of activism, which shaped her ideas of what it meant to teach social studies for citizenship in a participatory democracy. Even when the challenges that teachers face, such as time and testing, caused her to feel that she had to teach in ways that were inconsistent w ith her beliefs, she was able to maintain her sense of community and collaboration through her less ons. Overall, her experiences in the classroom reinforced her beliefs, thereby encouraging her to teach usi ng what she learned in her teacher education program about effective social studies practices. Kriss teacher education program gave her the
106 encouragement and confidence to align her beliefs and teaching practices, even after some of her peers criticized and questioned her classroom me thods. Kriss connection to her school and her students was evident throughout the period of th is study, and this connection was how Kris ultimately measured her success as a teacher. In the next chapter, the findi ngs will be summarized. Specifically, the chapter will discuss the implications for teacher education programs, practicing teachers, and social studies teachers In addition, the chapter will suggest directions for future researc h, and provide conclusions about the relationship between teacher beliefs and practices with particular attent ion to wise practice in social studies.
107 CHAPTER FOUR CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Summary of the Findings of the Study Beginning Teacher Beliefs and Practices Kriss beliefs regarding the purpose of e ducation did not change over the three-year period of this study. At the beginning of her teac her preparation program, Kr is clearly articulated her belief that education shoul d create community and encourage active citizenship. These core principles persisted through her first and second years in the classroom and became the goals of Kriss teaching. Kris continued to develop her classroom practice around these goals despite experiences that might have deterred some begi nning teachers, such as the pressures of the accountability movement and peer pr essure from more experienced teachers. This persistence of a history teachers goals drivi ng decisions in classroom practi ce aligns with Van Hover and Yeagers (2007) research on the practices of a be ginning history teacher. Wh at makes Kriss case unique is that her beliefs, and thus her goals, a ligned with the characteristics of powerful and effective social studies instruction as well as social studies goals related to active citizenship. As a result, her classroom practices stood in stark co ntrast to the traditional methods of instruction that tend to be favored by begi nning teachers. It is noteworthy th at the more progressive methods that were taught in her teacher education program such as historical inquiry, operationalized in Kriss classroom, despite challenges related to accountability, time, and peer pressure. Her ability to maintain her beliefs in the face of such challenges wa s what made Kriss case unique and worth noting. Although significant research ha s been conducted on teacher be liefs and practices within the context of teacher preparati on programs, this research often examined teachers whose beliefs and practices were aligned with more traditiona l classroom methods, with little change occurring
108 in teacher preparation programs that did not adhere to their long-held beliefs. However, in Kriss case, the philosophical underpinnings of her teacher pr eparation program were consistent with her beliefs about education. Consequently, Kriss teacher preparation program provided her with a skill set that enabled her to t each in ways that were consistent with her beliefs and with wise practices in social studies education. Furthermor e, because her beliefs were validated through her teacher preparation, she had the strength and conv iction to teach in less traditional ways even when discouraged to do so. Moreover, Kriss classroom goals did not ch ange during this study. Her desire to give students a more diverse and incl usive history curriculum to encourage a sense of belonging remained consistent through her internship and fi rst and second years in the classroom. She used the curriculum to demonstrate to students th at throughout history oppressed groups used their collective voices to initiate change. Her goal was to empower students and help them understand that they were responsible for their own choices. Furthermore, Kriss beliefs about the purpose of schooling influenced her goals for teachingand the themes of empowerment and community were evident in her teaching. Although her beli efs and goals remained constant, contextual factors in the state and school forced her to ex pand her classroom program to include the skills necessary for standardized testi ng and literacy that she did not fully consider in her teacher preparation program. Ironically, it was Kriss focus on community that allowed the expansion of her teaching goalsKris recognized both school and student needs and willingly made changes to incorporate the goals of her administration. As such, her practice grew to include additional readings, with questions that mimicked the standa rdized testing questions that students would be expected to answer. Although she included more r eadings, she did not view this as a departure from her beliefs or from wise practices in soci al studies education. Rath er, she viewed it as yet
109 another opportunity to include alternative vi ews of historyoften from James Loewens Lies My Teacher Told Me (1995) or Howard Zinns A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present (2005). As cited in chapter 2, Grossman et al. (2000) noted that the day-to -day experiences of novice teachers often led them to use the more practical applications learned in their teacher preparation programs. While Kris certainly did this, she again relied on the programs philosophical foundations to guide her teaching a nd adapted the methods she learned to fit her students needs and the content being studied. Kriss focus on the philosophical ideas of the program may merit further research into the attitudes and dispositions of novice teachers in relation to the purpose of schools and schooling. Powerful and Effective Social Studies Teaching According to Grants (2003) model of ef fective social studies teaching, Kriss pedagogical decisions related to soci al studies education were influen ced by the idea that the role of the teacher is to act as a reflective thinker and be committed to social action. Furthermore, Kriss actions can be viewed within the fram ework of powerful and e ffective social studies teaching as characterized by NCSS (1994): a) mean ingful, b) integrative, c) value-based, d) challenging, and e) active. Kriss practice was meaningful, both to her and her students. She believed in the importance of social studies in fighting oppression and d ebunking the myths of society. Consequently, she found ways to connect the content and methods to the lives of her students and their communities, thus engaging them in their learning. In addition, Kriss classroom was integrative; her social studies instruction included other disciplines such as language arts. Although the school context was responsible for Kriss first step toward integration, she worked to incorpor ate reading and writing skills into the classroom in authentic ways that supporte d social studies teaching and l earning. For example, Kris had
110 students read primary documents and alternative views on history then write their responses in ways that encouraged the development of info rmed opinions. Kriss methods of assessment focused more on writing than multiple choice te sts, further highlighting her commitment to providing more integrative social studies teaching. Kriss teaching also was value-based. She presented students with multiple perspectives on history that allowed them to analyze why one perspective might have been privileged over another. She encouraged her students to search for truth beyond their textbooks and gave them the materials and space within the classroom to explore a variety of ideas. Kris also pushed her students to think about social i ssues that affected their lives, such as racism. She encouraged students to explore the histori cal roots of such issues a nd reflect on their contemporary applications. In Kriss classroom, the truth was not something that presented itself easily; rather, she encouraged students to find truth beyond what might be more superficial or convenient. Kriss teaching can be characterized as ch allenging, because students were engaged in inquiry throughout much of the year. Even wh en encouraged to use simpler methods of instruction (e.g., lecture with not es) or simpler assignments for students (e.g., worksheets), Kris continued to use methods of instruction that en couraged critical thinki ng. Students worked most often on a project or a collaborative learning exercise th at challenged them to think about content in a way that perhaps was different from their pa st experiences in a soci al studies classroom. Finally, Kriss classroom practice can be characterized as active. Both she and her students often were engaged in debate and discus sion; in this context, the teacher was learning and working next to her students. Kris explai ned that her students remembered her classroom because of the discussions and experiential exer cises she used to teach social studies. Students
111 were asked to participate in constructing the knowledge taught in th e classroom, knowing that their teacher would be next to them learning about history as well. One of the stated goals of this study was to add to case study research on wise practices in social studies education. Kriss practice indeed can be characterized as powerful and effective (Yeager & Davis, 2005). However, can a novice t eachers practice be deemed wise? Kriss recognition of students needs and her ability to adapt content to these needs seemed to resemble the wise practice of more experienced teachers, as did her ability to mainta in the integrity of her content area while responding to the needs of the schools testi ng (Yeager & Davis, 2005; van Hover & Heinecke, 2005). So too did her belief in the power of social studies teaching and learning to promote change, as well as her refl ection on whether or not she was achieving these goals (Yeager & Davis, 2005; Grant, 2005). Thus, th is case study adds to recent social studies research on wise practices by se rving as an example of how novi ce teachers can work to make their practice effective within the mandates and confines of standardized testing. Implications for Teacher Education Programs At the end of her first year teaching, Kris not ed that her Utopian beliefs were gone-a note that to ld how the idealism she had carried with her about teaching had somehow diminished once faced with the real ities of teaching. Often, teacher educ ation programs prepare students for the ideal and the reality-accountability and testin g, lack of resources, l ack of time-that often prevents powerful and effective practice from operationalizing in the classroom. Perhaps teacher education programs should consider this chas m between college and the K-12 classroom and ask-is there a way to keep beginning teacher s motivated, encourage powerful and effective practice, and fully confront th e challenges of the classroom?
112 Much research has been conducted with novice teachers whose beliefs and practices do not align with the pedagogy taught in their pr eservice programs (see Barton & Levstik, 2002; Hammerness, Darling-Hammond, Bransford, Berlin er, Cochran-Smith, McDonald, & Zeichner, 2005; Slekar, 1998). However, Kriss case provid es an opportunity for teacher educators to consider better ways to suppor t novice teachers whose beliefs are consistent with those promoted in their preparation programs. Kriss instructors encouraged her by providing additional readings and resources that extended the work she did in the program. Kris mentioned specifically how one of her instructors, Charlo tte, gave her materials on culturally relevant pedagogy when she expressed an interest in teachi ng diverse populations. Once in the classroom, Kris was confident about teaching with the knowledge she gained about wise and powerful practices in her preservice program and through her network of professional support (teachers within the school district, fellow novice teachers, and university instructors and f aculty). Her case demonstrates that teacher education programs can support novice teachers by helping create professional networks and providing support once novi ce teachers enter the classroom. Identifying Preservice Teacher Needs Teacher preparation programs often instru ct their preservice teachers on the importance of differentiated instruction in K-12 classrooms, but they rare ly practice such pedagogy in college classrooms. Researchers have noted that preservice teachers te nd to resist the pedagogy in their preservice programs when they feel that their beliefs and experi ences are questioned and challenged (Barton & Levstik, 2004; Hinchey, 1998; Pajares, 1992; Thornton, 1998). If the goal of preservice programs is to provide novice teacher s with the skills and knowledge they need to teach students effectively, perhaps preservice te acher educators could begin by assessing the needs of the preservice teachers who are their students. Differen tiated instruction in preservice programs may allow for the inclusion of more powerful or wise pract ices (e.g., collaborative
113 learning, historical inquiry, culturally relevant pedagogy) ac cording to individual preservice teachers beliefs and skill levels, while also expanding the experiences and successes of the beginning teachers through field placements. University instructors and field supervisors can provide support throughout the field placement to help ensure a positive and successful experience that perhaps will lead to a change in the preservice teachers beliefs about powerful and wise practices. Professional Networks The influence of peer teachers has been noted in s ocial studies research (see Barton & Levstik, 2004; Yeager & Wilson, 1997). Many pres ervice programs are constructed on a cohort model, in which students are grouped according to major area of study and are with the same classmates throughout their preservice program. Si nce these cohorts ofte n serve as the first professional network for preservice teachers, the university can help students stay connected once they have completed their preservice progr ams. The use of technology, such as e-mail, blogs, or Google Groups, could enable novice teache rs to stay in touch during trying times and provide cohort members with resources that have worked in their respective classrooms. Having a supportive peer group could provide encourag ement for beginning teachers who are not finding the support they need to explore a variety of wise practices in thei r schools, and at the same time prevent feelings of isolation that might result in the teachers reverting to methods of instruction they might not prefer but adopt just to fit in. In addition, university faculty could help novice teachers connect to program alumni who already ar e established in the same school district. This extends Lawrences (2005) rese arch on the power of professiona l networks within schools, as these professional networks would be develope d between peers across sc hools and districts. Future research on professional networks may seek to examine university cohort models as
114 emerging professional networks, since cohorts indeed may benefit novi ce teachers beyond the university setting. The University-to-Classroom Connection In addition to helping create p rofessional s upport networks, teacher educators should be available to their graduates once they begin teaching. New teachers often have questions or need support and turn to peer teachers for help. Howeve r, peer teachers may criticize or undermine the philosophy of a teacher education program, a nd beginning teachers may frequently follow the advice of their peer teachers again, because of the need to fit in. This suggestion is not intended to add to the overwhelming workload of university faculty. However, if the goal of a program is to train new teachers to teach di verse students successfully in engaging and powerful ways, then university faculty must be willi ng to act as a resource for begi nning teachers. This support may help first-year teachers successf ully apply the pedagogical skills and content learned in their teacher preparation programs, which may lead to a more permanent change in practice. The Internship Experience Research has shown that the internship experi ence as part of preservice teacher education is vitally important in shaping teacher practice (see Darling-Hamm ond & Bransford, 2005; Lanahan & Yeager, 2008; Owens, 1997; Yeag er & Wilson, 1997). However, the methods promoted by the interns supervising teacher may often contradict t hose taught in teacher education programs (Lanahan & Yeager, 2008; Owens, 1997; Yeager & Wilson, 1997). This was true in Kriss internship experience, since she was encouraged to exclusively use teachercentered methods of instruction rather than he r preferred student-cent ered methods that she learned in her methods course. In fact, it is of ten difficult for universitie s to place preservice teachers in classrooms in which students can fully practice what they are taught in their methods courses (Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005; Lanahan & Yeager, 2008; Owens, 1997).
115 Professional networks of alumni may help estab lish field placements with experienced teachers who have completed the same methods courses and who have maintained contact with their peers and university facu lty and instructors. Implications for Soci al Studies Teachers Teaching for Democratic Citizenship In order to prepare students to become act ive citizens in a participatory democracy, educators must first define democracy and identify what democracy might look like in practice. It may be difficult for social studies educators to move forw ard in an era of accountability without having this conversation. Perhaps social studies classes should become places where students are encouraged to examine the democra tic structures that are in place in the United States and think critically about how these structures measure up against the ideal. This should include a careful analysis of the documents that are used to frame our society, beginning with the Constitution (Patrick, 2002). By using the Constitu tion as a starting point for analysis, teachers can aid students in better understanding what exactly the Founding Fathers had in mind for the fledgling democracy that became the United Stat es. This also provides a strong foundation for social studies teachers and teacher educators on wh ich to link content with theory and work to teach for democracy in their classrooms in a thematic way, with the Constitution at the center (Sleeter, 2005). The idea of the Common Good (Barton & Levstik, 2004) must become part of any discussion on the ideals of democracy. Barton an d Levstik (2004) state there is a purpose to studying history that goes beyond th e memorization of names and dates. When people refer to studying history for its own sake, they may not be putting forth a reasoned argument so much as trying to associate the subject wi th other deities with whose sake we should also be concernedChrists sake, heavens sake, Petes sake, and so on (Bart on & Levstik, 2004, p. 27). It is
116 important to help novice teachers recognize that hi story in K-12 education may not have the pure content focus that students of history in colleges and universities cherish, but rather a thematic approach to learning focused on de mocratic values and citizenship. This is part of the ontological switch identified by VanSledright (1996) and w hy history instruction in secondary classrooms still tends to mimic that of postsecondary lecture halls. The study of history should help students develop a sense of the Common Good and what th at means in terms of democratic citizenship. Thus, social studies teacher e ducation programs should explicitly focus on the principles of historical learning (historical i nquiry, citizenship) rather than the learning of history. This distinction introduces novice teachers to the skills of citizenship and democracy that can to be fostered in K-12 classrooms, wh ich gives young learners the opportuni ty to discover a sense of purpose in who they are and what they should be striving to become, as a citizen and as an individual. The learning of hi story and the learning of citi zenship should never be rote memorization or indoctrination of patriotism and ritu als, but a set of analytical skills, as outlined by Barton and Levstik (2004), that will support the dialogue and pa rticipation for democratic citizenship. Wise Practice in an Age of Accountability Research on wise practices in social studies education provides a framework that can help social studies teachers teach in ways that still engage students in an age of high stakes testing (see Yeager & Davis, 2005). In the current st udy, Kriss use of ma terials beyond the textbook and her incorporation of literatur e in her classroom showed how th e goals of standardized testing and meaningful social studies instruction co uld be met simultaneously. Kriss case also demonstrated the power of being a team player in a testing environment; because she was willing to aid school administrators in their goals fo r student achievement, sh e felt supported in using methods that she considered less traditional. By including language arts practices while
117 maintaining the integrity of social studies cont ent, Kris provides a strong example for social studies teachers who feel threatened by standardized testing mandates. As cited in chapter 2, recent research has found that social studies has disappeared in many elementary classrooms, particularly in stat es that do not require social studies testing (Henning & Yendol-Hoppey 2004; Neill & Guis bond 2005; Yendol-Hoppey & Tilford 2004). This threat appears to be affecting secondary social studies classrooms as well, in that many middle and high schools are encouraging social studi es teachers to focus on language arts skills through social studies content (Knighton, 2003; Neill & Guisbond, 2005). While Kriss case does indeed provide evidence of this trend, she nonetheless aligned he r reading selections with wise social studies practices, thus allo wing her to integrate language arts in a manner consistent with the NCSS powerful and effective social studie s philosophy (1994). Kris chose readings that included diverse perspectives, selected primary documents, and created activities that incorporated skills needed for both standardized te sting and historical inqu iry. By doing so, Kris demonstrated one way that she could meet the demands of her school while still teaching important social studies skills and content. In addition, Kriss student contract system may serve as an example for social studies teachers seek ing to apply democratic principles to their management strategies. Importantly, Kris recogn ized that wise and powerful social studies teaching extended beyond the curriculum to all aspects of her classroom. Future Research Certainly, the importance of contextual factors in pedagogical decision making is a necessary avenue of future research that woul d allow teacher educators to consider how to support preservice teachers in th eir transition into the classroom. Future studies on powerful and effective social studies teaching may also benefi t from including student voices. In Kriss case, the influence of her teaching on the actions of her students would have provided another
118 dimension of understanding her practice. Student voices would provide greater insight into the influence of contextual factors specifically testing pressure a nd student diversity on student learning and engagement.
119 APPENDIX A INFORMED CONSENT Protocol Title: A firs t-year social studies teachers beliefs and practices. Please read this consent document carefully before you decide to participate in this study. Purpose of the research study: To investigate how a first-year teacher in an Alachua County school understands culturally relevant pedagogy and the theorys application to classroom practice. What you will be asked to do in the study: To answer and discuss inte rview questions that will be recorded, be observed by principal investigat or, and provide lesson plans, syllabi, and other classroom materials used in your classroom. Time required: A maximum of 4 hours per week for interviews and observations Risks and Benefits: No more than minimal risk. The tape recorded interview will be saved for five years and then destroyed. All materials will be kept in a locked file cabinet in the principal investigators home office. Ther e is no direct benefit to the participant in this research. However, this study will add to the understand ing of the application of culturally relevant pedagogy in classroom practice. It can promote discussion on how to eliminate the theory-topractice gap that currently exists. This research can also be used by colleges of education to inform teacher education programs Compensation: There is no compensation for participating in the study. Confidentiality: Your identity will be kept confidential to the extent provided by law. The final results will be presented in a paper as partial completi on of EDF 7483 Qualitative Data Collection; to education journa ls and magazines for possible p ublication; and discussed at educational conferences. Voluntary participation: Your participation in this study is completely voluntary. There is no penalty for not participating. Right to withdraw from the study: You have the right to withdr aw from the study at anytime without consequence. You do not have to answer any questions you do not want to answer or share any archival evidence you do not want to share. Whom to contact if you have questions about the study: Michele Phillips, 2403 Norman Hall, email: email@example.com, phone: 284-1905 Whom to contact about your rights as a research participant in the study: UFIRB Office, Box 112250, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250; ph 392-0433. I have read the procedure outlined above. I voluntarily agree to participate in this study and have received a copy of this description. Participants signature and date _____________________________________ Principal investigators signature and date _____________________________________
120 APPENDIX B INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS First inte rview 1. How do you define your culture? 2. What does your classroom look like? 3. How would you descri be your students? 4. How do you define your role as a teacher? 5. How does this shape your classroom practice? Follow-up interviews after observations 1. How do you feel about how your class went today? 2. How did you decide to teach in this way? Additional questions will be determined by observation and answers from previous interviews Interview at completion of school year 1. What do you believe were your greatest successes for the year? 2. How will this affect your classroom next year? 3. What will you keep in your practice? 4. What will you change? Addition questions will be determined by observa tions and answers from previous interviews Interview guide-after preliminary data analysis Family Background 1. Describe your family-what was it like growing up? 2. How would you define your culture? 3. Would you consider yourself a religious person? How does that influence you? 4. Describe your political beliefs. How do you think this affects your teaching? 5. Why did you decide to become a teacher? 6. What does being a teacher mean to you? 7. Do you think your role as a coach affects your role as a teacher? 8. Tell me about your k-12 schooling experien ce. What stands out to you? How do you think this has affected your ideas on teaching and learning? Social Studies 1. Tell me about your experiences in college-what stands out to you? 2. Think about your teache r training program. a. What do you remember the most? b. What did you find the most helpful? c. What did you find the least helpful? 3. What did you learn in your program about wh at constitutes good social studies teaching practice? 4. Referring to the NCSS guidelines-w hich of these to you remember and find most influential? 5. Was there anything from your teacher prepar ation experience that made you think about teaching in a different way?
121 6. Was there anything from that experience th at gelled with what you already believed about teaching before going into the program? 7. What is your definition of social studies? 8. What do you believe is the purpose of social studies? 9. Why did you decide to teach social studies? Did you ever consider another discipline? Career? 10. What do you believe it takes to be a good social studies teacher? 11. How often do you refer to the social studi es guidelines or to the NCSS website? 12. How do you keep up-to-date on social studies and teaching? Teaching Questions 1. Describe your school. 2. Overall, how would you describe your stude nts? How would you describe each class? 3. What methods of instruc tion do you use most often? 4. What influences what methods you choose? 5. How do you most prefer to teach? 6. What is the best lesson you have taught this year? 7. What made that one a good lesson and why? 8. What lesson were you the le ast satisfied with? Why? 9. Describe your classroom management. 10. Tell me about a classroom management problem you have had. How did you deal with it? What has happened since then? 11. Can you describe ways in which your teac hing has been consistent with the program? Why did you teach in this way? 12. Have there been times when you have taugh t in ways that are inconsistent with the program? Why did you decide to do this? 13. Do you ever teach in ways that contradict with what you believe about teaching? When? Why? Contextual factors from data analysis 1. You have mentioned time and testing at vari ous times during our previous meetings. Can you elaborate on these concerns? Do these affect how you teach or what you teach? 2. Previously, you talked about the ideas on teac hing that are within the social studies department at your school. Can you talk to me more about that? 3. Why have you chosen to work with ESOL students? How does this affect how you teach and what you teach? 4. How do you think working with internationa l students has influenced your teaching? 5. How does having an international classroom influence your management style or classroom community? 6. What role does your administration play in how you teach? Specific question related to contact with participant 1. You stated that you are now teaching in a different way-what made you change? 2. Do your colleagues ever ta lk to you about teaching? 3. You stated that you didnt go conservative or anything. If anyt hing its the exact opposite. Tell me about this.
122 4. Why is teaching in this way intimidating? 5. Why is it important to you? 6. You are thinking about movingcan you tell me about that? 7. What factors are playing into this decision? Follow-up interviews after observations 1. How do you feel about how your class went today? 2. How did you decide to teach in this way? Additional questions will be determined by observation and answers from previous interviews Final Interview 1. What do you believe were your greatest successes for the year? 2. How will this affect your classroom next year? 3. What will you keep in your practice? 4. What will you change? 5. How do you believe your practices are consistent with these NCSS guidelines and with what you learned in your program? How are they inconsistent? 6. What is your perspective on th e guidelines at this point? Ar e they important and defining or idealistic and unrealistic?
123 APPENDIX C EXCERPTS FROM RAW DATA Interv iew 8 (3/4/08) M: How would you describe your family? T: (pause) My family, my family is very close, we are very close, I have two parents who are divorced and are now best friends it was rough at first. They did not get along, but as we got older, and as my sister and I moved out and it br ought them closer together because they realized that they still needed each other even if they werent married, and still well, they werent in love with one another, but we a ll got closer as a result of them growing closer and we could still do a lot of our family traditions and holidays and bi rthdays together as a family as a result so we are a close knit family I would say. We also have a very close extended family. My moms side of the family is always around. My dads side of the family is quickly dwindling unfortunately but there are frequent phone calls to one a nother and if someone doe s something that is considered personal in my family its personal to a ll of us and thats because of how close we are and sometimes that can cause problems because somebody gets upset about something that somebody said to someone else and, a lot of times, my role in the family is mediator. Some of my family is in Naples and some of my family is in the north. My sister is in the north. There are a lot of phone calls, with me being away from each place, being in the middle, Im kind of the one that gets the phone calls that say can you te ll someone this and can you say that and I dont really want to get involved, but I want ever yone to get along, Im ki nd of the Utopian person with my family so I do it. So, were close in a separated sort of way and maybe we are so close because there is distance and I think that it made us closer because we realized how much we need each other and its not just going next door or out to dinner and Im far away form all of them, where, every time we see each other its important and we make it important because we dont know when well see each other again. M: Now, you lived in the north and Naples? T: Yep. I lived in the north growing up and when I was 15 we moved to Naples for high school and that was during the divorce a nd my moms parents had just m oved to Naples and my dads parents had been living in Naples for a long time and we went down for Easter every year and my parents liked it there and my dad moved down ahead of us and my mom found a good-paying job and a job that she liked and we as the children were kind of stuck doing what they wanted us to do, and we didnt have a say and then I move d back to The north right after high school to go to college and then I transferred back to Fl orida half way through M: What made you go back to The north for college? T: I thought that was where I want ed to be. I wanted to go to the northern school growing up and I wanted to play sports and when that school offered me a scholarship and I waited a long time and looked a long time for the school and then in May, which was late, and The northern school offered, I dropped everything else and I went. I almost committed to another school. And I wasnt a big Gator fan at the time or anything, so I didnt have any loyalty there yet, unlike most kids in Florida who show allegiance to a big sc hool and I thought I want ed to go back to The
124 north because I knew I didnt like Naples and I unintelligently made the rest of Florida out to be just like Naples-secluded, very all about an individual and not the community, not caring whose feet you step one to get what you want, and I just wanted to get out I had a lot of friends in The north still and I thought that that would some how bring back the past and I was looking to salvage something that couldnt be salvaged and wh en I realized that, that was when I transferred to Florida M: So how did you see The north as being different from Naples? T: It was more communal and thats big to me that s important and being ab le to say hi and have people to say hi back. Its big to me to have people get together and not only be close to your family but have families be close with other families and when I feel th at your friends are only your friends because of maybe something you have th en thats not pure to me I want friends that will be there no matter what because thats the type of friend I think I am and so I want that from my friends and I got that a lot more in The north and it was just that village atmosphere. You go to the grocery store or you go to a festival a nd its that whole Cheer s effect-everybody always knows your name and thats important to me that that will be important to me when I have a family and that will be very important to me because I will want my kids to know that whatever we have or dont have, you are judged by your character no t your possessions M: Do you think that affects how you construct your classroom? T: To an extend yeah, absolutely, it definitely has an effect on how I think about my classroom because I want my students and my classes to know each other as well. I dont expect them to be best friends, I know how high school works there are cliques it is based on status and there is a hierarchy but I want them to come into an envi ronment where, at least once a day, they are not judged by what they have or dont have, that they can lean on each other or work together and one of the things that affects me the most is when they dont find a way to lean on each other I mean, I have 125 students and ass much as I try to get to each one of them and get to know them and play on their strengths, there ar e always a few I feel are left out and if they learn to help and rely on one another then that helps and they are getting what they need-work, notes, help, whatever, they can go to one another M: What do you do specifically to try and form that community? T: Team building at the beginning of the year would be one. Two, th ere are a lot of group projects that are mixed in different ways. They are mixed by ability, or by interest and they have to learn to work together and work with one another and the groaning about who they have to work with, it just doesnt happen very often. A nd. What I usually do, I set up my desks for what activity we are doing that day and if the desks are set up like tables [in groups], and they come in and sit where they normally sit, and then they have to move they dont complain any more so thats a sign to me that they dont mind working w ith one another and I thi nk they have fun with it because a lot of the projects th at they do require them to make something, something real life or a real situation and it makes it more fun and more interest ing to work with different people because you cant get the work done without some one else perspective. Especially in my regular class, with so many foreign students, th ey do get interested in the outlooks of other
125 students and what they have to bring to class. Um, the other thing is I do cons ider myself a more laid-back teacher so I think that the more they se e themselves in my classroom and the more they understand that I really do want whats best for them and they trust me then they dont complain about the groups and they know that theres a reason and if they need something they can come to me. M: What specific team building activities to you do at the beginning of the year? T: One is the little assignment we do the second day and they have to do an illustration of a person and I tell them to basically pass the pict ure around and poke holes in the pictures as they come around. Eventually everyone gets their picture back and its full of holes and I ask them what they think and they say that their pictures are all nasty and crumpled up and I say that every hole represents something negative that someone has said to you and I tell them to put their pictures back together and obviously they cant and they get the point and I tell th em that when they say something negative about another person, even if its a joke and even if you dont see it you are poking holes in each othe r and you cant undo that. That stain stays for a long time. Another thing is, well, my big thing is respect and I always ask them if what they are doing is showing respect for themselves and then respect fo r others and I ask that all the time when they make rude comments or so something they know better than. And there are a couple in each class that have a problem with respect and some that are always the brunt of the attacks, so Im not saying its a perfect class, but we keep working at it every day and, you know, its important to keep working at that. M: Lets switch back to your background. You talk ed a lot about holidays and traditions and in the past you have talked about your Greek heritage. How do you think that has shaped who you are? T: It gives me a sense of culture to go back to that when I m out in the world and things get a little hectic I can go back to something familiar and theres a routine and Im really big on routine and I dont like to be out of my routine I like to have things in pl ace and people joke that Im OCD or whatever, (laugh) but, I just like routines and when Im out in the world and my routine gets shaken up my heritage gives me so mething to go back to so mething thats going to be there, that I can rely on. There are things I brought from my family to my home and I can walk in and see the Greek flag or see the way the kitchen is set up and know it goes back to my family. You know, I go to church sometimes and the only reason I go is because of the tradition. It gives that feeling of being with my family. Thats really the most important thing for me-my culture gives my my routine, my foundation of something thats always there and it gives order even if its different order than what somebody else knows M: Is it okay if I ask about religion? T: Yeah, sure. M: You went to church growing up? T: Yes, I went to church growing up all the time
126 M: And thats not something you do all the time now? T: No, I would categorize myself now as being more spiritual th an religious. I mean, I dont I do believe that there is a god and I believe that there is a higher or der to how things work but Im also one of those people who dont waste a lot of time worrying about what I cant control or trying to figure out and answer where there migh t not be one. Um, its just, one of my personal beliefs I dont know and whats more important to be is doing good things every day that make the people around me happy and just understandi ng that somehow that will correlate to something good in the end and like I said I do sometimes go to church because it gives me a sense of what I sued to do growing up and ki nd of puts me back in that environment and sometimes I go just because I feel the need to be in that comfortable community setting but most of the time I can get those needs me t in another way not going to church Some of it just has to do with time I know it sounds bad, but I just dont have a lot of time M: Lets switch gears and talk about politics, how would you describe your political beliefs? T: I dont like politics a nd thats funny being a history teacher, but I dont like politics, I think its a lot of BS would be a good way to put it its a lot of he said, she said and a lot of me, me, me and pretending that they want to be he re for you do something for you when you know its not, they do it for themselves, to get in a posit ion of power in this countryI like to surround myself with people I can trust and I dont trust politicians. I dont trust anything that they say or anything that they do so Im not advocating the overthrow of the government or anything, but I am more of a take care of what I know and what s close and believe that the good that I do will matter. So many, so much of what we do, so ma ny problems in the world have to do with our government and the other governments around the wo rld not being able to just sit down and discuss something Its kind of taking away from the idea of a human race as a population that s supposed to be vastly superior to other forms of life we dont show it by having to deal with problems by fighting and that seems to be how we solve our problems is fighting and whoever has the biggest guns wins and its not that the problem is solved, it about whos gained what from a war and what could be gained from anothe r war and thats my biggest issue with politics is the correlation between politics and war M: How do you think that, do you think that influences how you teach? T: I really try not to let it, not let it influence me too much because thats my belief that I developed from my own st udies and experiences. I try and te ach all sides of a story and the middle story so it would be wrong of me to come in and teach history from my point of view. That would be wrong. Thats not what Im supposed to be doing thats not what they want I want them to develop their own knowledge of history by teaching them different things and ideas that need to be taught and the essentia l story of history and the only th ing that I would consider, well probably should be considered teach ing from my point of view is that I focus a lot on social history and the peoples points of view in history, what did the regular people think, not just the people writing the books. What is the experience of history and that touches on major themes in history but still allows them to understand what people who were similar to them think about events and add to history and the other thing is that most of America is made up of working class
127 or middle class people and so thats where the po int of view needs to come fromWhat is the history that relates to the most pe ople. Thats what I try and teach
128 APPENDIX D SAMPLE FIELD NOTES General Ob servations March 3, 2008 Confident in teaching, more so than last year-why is this? Students and teachers in and out of classroom all day, especially sports players Students are relaxed and active-al most 100% contribution in world history-free to ask questions, not afraid to ask que stions or clarify Not afraid to respectfully challenge content or teacher Student pictures and student work posted in classroom and students are allowed to add to as appropriate Sense of shared power and community in learning -everyone learns from one another and each is responsible for the learning of the class Each class has a general format-review/ch ecking in, set up lesson/give directions, questions/clarifications, work on content, review and share Want to know about grading and id ea of individualized grading Class organized in a consistent way-greeting/in tro-review-intro new t opic-description of the days class-work (group or individual)-review-goodbye One extra credit assignment per quarter-related to units of study, but re quires individual work outside of school Teacher leads class through samples to make sure everyone understands what they are supposed to be working on-class gi ves answers and feedback Classes have a seminar-type feel where discussion is main method of instruction with graphic organizer based on readings/discu ssion; students are responsible for building knowledge in classteacher does not give answers No formal method for calling on students or gett ing answers, but answers come from different students and each is given the opportunity to share Students switch between languages during class-tend to talk to teacher in English and peers in first language-teacher comfortable with this and does not appear to notice Takes time to reemphasize/clarify key id eas and questions as they come up
129 In Am History-focus on literacy skills-story writing based on histor ical fact, plot summary, main ideas, character development. Based on Populism and Progressivism in Midwest farming circa 1885 and development of industrialization in urban centers (link to economy) In World History-focus on alternative assessm ent for unit on East African kingdoms (Rap, song, or poem) In interviews-talked about decision-making-tensi on between powerful and effective SS practice (authentic, engaging, student-based) and pressures of testing/test prep-I know this is how they learn best and makes history intere sting but I feel like Im being disl oyal and if they fail [the test] its my fault. But I think its important for soci al studies and life past the test so I do it Key words-community/communal; responsibility; loyalty; respect; social responsibility; citizenship Talked about work and doing more work/revamping everything to get it ready for next year-what work? Why more? Why did another teacher tell you to just use worksheets? Quotes from class to support Preliminary Analysis You know you are always welcomed in my class I want you to be resp ectful of one another The point is you should care about one another Luck of the draw-the names arent in alphabetical order so its fair about who goes and who doesnt (another teacher) Do you have any referrals? (Kris) No, I dont (at) Thats okay, Ill go get us all some, the kids have gone crazy! (Kris) Really? (student) Mr. Kris, you never write no one up-why you dont nobody up? (Kris) Well, I dont like to writ e people up, I dont think I need to. (student) Well, then, she dont need to be bringing you referrals just cause she goin on a writin spree My internship was the most important experien ce for me because I could go in and try things out. I came in thinking that was my time to tr y things out and learn because I didnt know everything I didnt know the best way and that let me try some creative practices that I was learning about and I let that lead me into the teacher I was going to become. (methods-wise practice) I felt like nobody said these are th ings that can work for some students some of the time it was all these things work for students and someti mes they dont and you have to figure out what works for your students (contextual factor s influence methods-connection to program) The whole idea of bringing teachi ng to life and trying to gravitate away from the textbook thats what really sticks and I really use-(link back to wise practice) I knew that teachers could be influential but I never knew how much work it would be. If you do it right it takes real work, really hard work. (beliefs/role of teacher-p ut back in context)
130 Focus of questions/interviews Background information-family, politic s, religion, tradition, k-12 schooling Beliefs on teaching Beliefs on methods/method selection How have methods changed? New ideas on teaching See interview guide-social studies section and speci fic questions related to conversations with teacher
131 APPENDIX E SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT World History/Am erican History Cultural Bag Assignment In order to create a comfortable and safe classroom environment, students should understand and learn about the cu ltural make-up of the class. In this assignment, students will be required to fill a brown paper grocery bag with various items form their homes that define their culture. Because I think that most individuals are familiar with aspects of America culture I am looking more for a re presentation of cultures other than just American (ie: African American, Hispanic/La tino, Italian, etc.) Examples of items to be used might be flags, photos or pictures th at explain cultural practice, songs, writing, dances, and even food. Students are encouraged to work with their family members on this assignment. Extra credit will be given to t hose students who bring in a cultural food that feeds the entire class. Please notify me ahead of time in regards to what utensils may be needed if food is brought in. Each student will sign up for a specific da te to present heir cultural bag and be asked to give a 2-3 minute presentation at the beginning of class, as well as a 2-3 paragraph essay about their cultu re and why it is important to them. This essay should be typed in 12 point font and double-spaced, but may be written in legible handwriting if necessary. Grading criteria: Diversity of items (Presentation): _____ (5) Presentation of ideas (Presentation): _____ (5) Relatedness of ideas (Essay): _____ (5) Organization (Essay): _____ (5) Grammar (Essay): _____ (5)
132 APPENDIX F SAMPLE ASSESSMENT-STUDENT WORK It started with a few people who spoke the sam e language. Coming together after centuries of separation, under Oranmiyan settling in Benin. The kingdom spread through south west Nigeria, Benin, and Togo Living on under Ife Ife al ongside the Edo people. The kingdom thrived bringing much prosperity to its people. In 1100 C.E. Ife Experienced a glorious time of wealth Which was only surpassed by the wealth Oyo achieved in 1700 C.E. till 1900 C.E. Slaves, salt, and gold were trad ed through the empires hands, Due to controlling the coastal lands Through the reign of king Obalokun, The civilization became rich th rough their cast knowledges. Yoruba possessed a great political structure to govern its complex empire. The Alaafan headed the empire and had to protect tributaries and the people. The Oyo Mesi contained 7 men who select ed the Alaafan and spoke for the military. The Councils also kept the Alaafan in check, while the Obongi spoke for the people. The Ilari appointed by the Alaafan were gove rnment and religious officials for the people. Oyo the kingdom was led to great glory as it conquered with great ferocity. By 1682 it owned 200 miles to th e coast from the capital af ter the defeat of Dahomey Kingdom. With the joint forces in 1764 Oyo crushed the Asante army. Oyo exercised its new power from tributaries to make a naval blockade in their amazing Victory over in the Mali terr itory of the north in the 1700s. Oyo seemed unstoppable. Under the control of the noble Oloye. Th e Empire began to fall into darkness. Vassals turned on their falling peopl e to attempt to gain independence. Meanwhile, the Egba killed Oyo forces at the Egbado Corridor, a very important route.
133 Dahomey began to revolt and refused to pa y tribute, then began to attack Yoruba. Then the Fulani Empire attacked and sestroyed the weakened Yoruba.
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143 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Michele Seybert Phillips wa s born in San Diego, California in 1979, as the first child of Eddie and Mary Seybert. Though Michele spent th e majority of her childhood in Indiana, her family moved to Bradenton, Florida in 1995. Michele Graduated from Bayshore High School in Bradenton, Florida in June of 1997. Michele attended the University of Florida, earning a degree in History in December 2000 and a masters degr ee in social studies education in August 2002. After graduation, Michele taught 7th grade geography from 2 002-2004 at Summerour Middle School in Norcross, Georgia and from 2004-2005 at Electa Lee Magnet Middle School in Bradenton, Florida. In 2005, Michel e returned to the University of Florida to pursue a doctorate degree in social studies education. Michele married Wayne Phillips in July 2005 and they welcomed their first child, Max, in February 2007. They live in Charleston, Sout h Carolina, where Michele is an assistant professor in teacher education at the College of Charleston. She teaches social studies methods courses and classroom management for ear ly childhood, elementary, and middle grades education students. Her research continues to focus on wise practi ces in social studies education, with special attention to culture and diversity.