Committed to differentiation and engagement: A case study of two American secondary social studies teachers

Derek Anderson, Tanya Cook
2.535 427

Abstract


Abstract This case study examines two 10th-grade US History teachers who collaborated to create and implement an integrated, thematic eight-week unit on war with an emphasis differentiated instruction. Drawing on the National Council for the Social Studies (2010) framework for powerful and purposeful social studies instruction, the case study uses multiple sources of data, including 38 lesson observations, analyses of the teachers' lesson plans and student work, and interviews of teachers. Initially, the teachers were successful at engaging students in simulations, small-group discussions, and higher-order thinking. As the unit progressed, however, the teachers reverted to transmission-style teaching with an emphasis on breadth over depth. Changing teaching practice requires overcoming barriers associated with prior experiences and deeply-held beliefs about teaching and learning.

Keywords


differentiation; thematic instruction

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17499/jsser.79188

References


Anderson, D. (2014). Outliers: Elementary teachers who actually teach social studies. The Social Studies, 105(2), 91-100, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00377996.2013.850055

Barton, K. C., & Levstik, L. S. (2003). Why don't more history teachers engage students in interpretation?. Social Education, 67(6), 358-358.

Barton, K., & Smith, L. (2000). Themes or motifs? Aiming for coherence through interdisciplinary outlines. The Reading Teacher, 54(1), 54-63. Retrieved from http://www.reading.org/general/Publications/Journals/RT.aspx

Borg, S. (2011). The impact of in-service teacher education on language teachers’ beliefs. System, 39(3), 370-380.

Charmaz, K. (2006). Constructing grounded theory: A practical guide through qualitative analysis. London: Sage.

Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2011). Research methods in education. London: Routledge.

Cuban, L. (1988). Constancy and change in schools (1880's to the present). In P. Jackson (ed.), Contribution to Educational Change: Perspectives on Research and Practice (pp. 85-106). Berkeley, CA: McCutcheon.

Dewey, J. (1938). Logic: The Theory of Inquiry. Carbondale, IL: SIU Press.

Ertmer, P. A. (1999). Addressing first-and second-order barriers to change: Strategies for technology integration. Educational Technology Research and Development, 47(4), 47Fullan, M. (2007). The new meaning of educational change. New York: Teachers College Press.

Glaser, B. G., & Straus, A. L. (1967). The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine. Guidry, A., Cuthrell, K., O’Connor, K., & Good, A. (2010). From the green mile to the yellow brick road: Using a practical model to fill in the social studies content gap. The Social Studies, 101(1), 22-29.

Hinde, E. (2005). Revisiting curriculum integration: A fresh look at an old idea. The Social Studies, 96(3), 105-111.

Hootstein, E. W. (1999). Differentiation of instructional methodologies in social studies at the secondary level. Journal of Social Studies Research, 23(1), 11-18. Retrieved from http://www.thejssr.com/

Jewett, S. (2007). The stories of people’s lives: thematic investigations and the development of critical social studies. The Social Studies, 98(4), 165- 171.

Kaiser, C. (2010). Redrawing the boundaries: a constructivist approach to combating student apathy in the secondary history classroom. The History Teacher, 43(2), 223-2 Retrieved from http://www.thehistoryteacher.org/

Kalina, C. & Powell, K.C. (2009), Cognitive and social constructivism: developing tools for an effective classroom. Education, 130, 241-250. Retrieved from http://www.projectinnovation.biz/education.html

Kerr, S. (1996). Visions of sugarplums: The future of technology, education, and the schools. In S. T. Kerr. (Ed.), Technology and the future of schooling (pp. 1-27). National Society for the Study of Education. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Levy, H. (2008). Meeting the needs of all students through differentiated instruction: Helping every child reach and exceed standards. The Clearing House: A Journal of Educational Strategies, Issues and Ideas, 81 (4), 161-164.

Marcos, J. M., Sanchez, E., & Tillema, H. H. (2011). Promoting teacher reflection: What is said to be done. Journal of Education for Teaching, 37(1), 21-36.

McBee, R. H. (2000). Why teachers integrate. The Educational Forum, 64, 254-260.

Merriam, S. (1998). Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

National Standards for Social Studies Teachers (2010). National Council for the Social Studies. Retrieved from http://www.socialstudies.org/standards/teacherstandards

Onosko, J. J. (1992). An approach to designing thoughtful units. The Social Studies, 83(5), 193-1

Onosko, J. J. (1991). Barriers to the promotion of higher-order thinking in social studies. Theory & Research in Social Education, 19(4), 341-366.

Pajares, M. F. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs and educational research: Cleaning up a messy construct. Review of educational research, 62(3), 307-332.

Pederson, P. (2010). What is measured is treasured: The impact of the No Child Left Behind Act on nonassessed subjects. Clearing House: A Journal of Education Strategies, Issues, and Ideas, 80, 287-291.

Piaget, J. (1953). The origin of intelligence in the child. London: Routledge & Paul.

Richardson, V. (1990). Significant and worthwhile change in teaching practice. Educational Researcher, 19(7), 10-18.

Schmoker, M. (2006). Results now: How we can achieve unprecedented improvements in teaching and learning. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.

Schön, D. A. (1991). The reflective turn: Case studies in and on educational practice. New York: Teachers Press, Columbia University.

Sheingold, K. (1991). Restructuring for learning with technology: The potential for synergy. Phi Delta Kappan, 73(1). 17-27.

Shernoff, D., Csikszentmihalyi, M., Schneider, B., & Shernoff, E. S. (2003). Student engagement in high school classrooms from the perspective of flow theory. School Psychology Quarterly, 18(2), 158-176.

Stake, R. E. (1995). The art of case study research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Stephens, P. (2007). Does integrated thematic instruction motivate and encourage culturally and linguistically diverse students in self-directed learning? Retrieved from Teachers Network website: http://www.teachersnetwork.org/tnli/research/stephens.pdf

Tanner, L. (2008). No Child Left Behind is just the tip of the iceberg. The Social Studies, 99(1), 41-48.

Tomlinson, C. (1995). Deciding to differentiate instruction in middle school: One school's journey. Gifted Child Quarterly, 39, 77-87.

Tomlinson, C. (2000). Reconcilable differences? Standards-based teaching and differentiation. Educational Leadership. 58 (1), 6-11. Retrieved from http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership.aspx

Vars, G. & Beane, J. (2000). Integrative curriculum in a standards-based world. ERIC Digest. Retrieved from ERIC database. (EDO-PS-00-6)

Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). The Development of Scientific Concepts in Childhood. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

White, R. (1995). How thematic teaching can transform history instruction. The Clearing House 68(3), 160-162.

Windschitl, M. (2002). Framing Constructivism in Practice as the Negotiation of Dilemmas: An Analysis of the Conceptual, Pedagogical, Cultural, and Political Challenges Facing Teachers. Review of Educational Research, 72 (2), 131-175.

Yin, R. K. (1994). Case study research: Design and methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Yin, R. K. (2011). Qualitative research from start to finish. New York, NY: Guilford Publications, Inc.

Zhao, Y. & Hoge, J. (2010). What elementary students and teachers say about social studies. The Social Studies, 96, 216-221.




Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.