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ERIC Number: ED315347
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1989-Mar-27
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Aspiration and Practice: Teacher as Curricular-Instructional Gatekeeper in Social Studies.
Thornton, Stephen J.
This paper argues that the teacher should be understood as a gatekeeper for curriculum and instruction in social studies, and that gatekeeping is a product of the frame of reference the teacher brings to it. The teacher plays the primary structuring role in the social studies classroom and, regardless of the official curriculum, constructs the curriculum that is actually provided in the classroom. As the curricular-instructional gatekeeper, the teacher makes the crucial decisions concerning content, sequence, and instructional strategy that determine the social studies experiences of students. The criteria the teacher employs to determine interpretations and uses of a curriculum are a product of his or her frame of reference. Curricular-instructional gatekeeping is a decision-making process often based on unexamined assumptions and conventions, that is, they are not conscious decisions. Though research relevant to gatekeeping is disparate and sketchy, some conclusions can be drawn and areas in need of research identified. Several studies illustrate specific aspects of gatekeeping by teachers in three domains: (1) the meaning of social studies, (2) planning for social studies, and (3) instruction in social studies. Teachers tend to substitute their own meanings of critical thinking in social studies for that intended by the curriculum developers. There is a general neglect of continuity of lessons by social studies teachers. Though social studies curricula are textbook-based, the instruction is teacher-dominated, therefore there is much variation in gatekeeping from teacher to teacher. It is important to raise the consciousness of teachers about their gatekeeping. (AS)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A