ERIC Number: ED433282
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Apr
Democracy Is Messy: Exploring the Beliefs and Personal Theories of a High School Social Studies Teacher.
Fickel, Letitia Hochstrasser
A case study examined the beliefs and theories of a high school social studies teacher and the life experiences he used to explain how he came to hold those beliefs. Examining the teacher's beliefs and theories and also the experiential roots of these theories offers greater potential for illuminating the role of teacher biography in curriculum decisions and the implications of biographical issues for teacher education. Naturalistic inquiry methods of observation and semi-structured interviews were the predominant modes of data collection. The teacher-participant was selected by criterion-based sampling. From data analysis of classroom observation, fragments of his classroom dialogue that appeared to represent a theory or belief were selected and used as talking points during the interviews. The teacher's classroom instruction was consistently reflective of how he portrayed it in the stories and conversations he shared outside the classroom. He talked explicitly about his philosophical stance and the beliefs that formed the framework for his classroom actions. A focus on social issues and problem-centered critical inquiry are key features of social education theory and hallmarks of his practice. He seemed to have a set of strong schema about education, knowledge, learning, and teaching from which to make conscious and principled decisions. It is clear that his personal theories developed from a set of life experiences and were formed in interaction with formally derived theoretical constructs. Contains 34 references. (BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, April 19-23, 1999).