The Persistence of Deficit Thinking Among Social Studies Educators

Natalie Keefer


This research explores the prevalence of deficit thinking among social studies educators in the State of Florida. Included in this research is an analysis of semi-structured interview data that focused on pivotal experiences and participants’ understanding of the connection between social class and academic achievement, mobility, and race and ethnicity. Despite divergent pivotal experiences with social class, findings suggest social studies teachers’ exhibit deficit thinking towards students living in poverty. From a social justice perspective, in order for social studies teachers to develop asset-based knowledge of students living in poverty they must receive explicit training that challenges deficit thinking and stereotypes that lead to lowered expectations of students living in poverty.


social studies teachers; deficit thinking; poverty; equity pedagogy; social justice

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