ERIC Number: ED450043
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
"I Need To Shut Up and Let Them Talk More": Beginning Teachers Reflect on Children's Understanding of Social Studies.
Barton, Keith C.; Marks, Melissa J.
This study, part of a graduate level social studies methods course at a large midwestern university, investigated beginning teachers' ideas about teaching and learning social studies before and after their participation in a set of open-ended interviews with children in the elementary grades. The interviews were designed to give new teachers direct experience investigating children's explanations of key social studies concepts and to track changes in the teachers' ideas through a set of focus group discussions. Initial discussions indicated that teachers were aware social studies occupied a position of low status (and low incidence) in the elementary curriculum, and that students often had difficulty learning the content of the subject. Teachers attempted to explain this by suggesting that students were developmentally incapable of learning social studies, students had insufficient prior knowledge, or the subject was irrelevant. They had few suggestions for how to overcome these limitations. Focus group discussions after completing interviews with students suggested a shift away from emphasis on shortcomings in student or curriculum, and toward a recognition of the teachers' role in developing students' understanding, particularly through assessing and building on students' background knowledge, focusing on conceptual understanding rather than recall of factual information, and establishing the relevance of the subject. Findings suggest that experiences that directly challenge beginning teachers' assumptions about children's thinking may be an effective way of developing their understanding of teaching and learning in social studies. Contains 26 references. Appendices contain protocols for student interviews and focus group interviews. (Author/BT)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A