ERIC Number: ED273541
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Apr
Reference Count: 0
The Treatment of Recent U.S. History in Elementary School Social Studies Textbooks: A Case Study of the Breadth and Depth of Content Coverage.
The paper analyzes seven widely-used fifth grade social studies textbooks with the hypothesis that texts are unnecessarily loaded with poorly conceived instructional design features that often do not relate to content or skills and tend to minimize the primary function of the texts. Using present and future challenges facing the United States as a target topic, a detailed analysis uncovered a fairly traditional and standard treatment of history. However, the concepts of present and future are defined by only three themes--equality, environment, and space. Though attractively presented, a careful reading of the texts revealed a superficial and minimalist treatment of various concepts that was uninspiring. Despite the occasional appearance of well written and thoughtfully researched textbook sections the overall impression from these seven texts was one of mediocrity with no real point of view or controversy, leading to speculation that the texts were written without regard to the instructional and interest needs of fifth graders. The final analysis indicates that students may learn only a series of snapshots of events and topics, and may further find it difficult to articulate information or generalizations about their country. A brief list of references, including the Social Studies Series analyzed, concludes the paper. (TRS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (67th, San Francisco, CA, April 16-20, 1986).