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ERIC Number: ED560395
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 234
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-3033-6234-7
Reflections from the "Shiny Side"--Exploring Fifth Grade Teachers' Beliefs about U.S. History Education
Schwingle, Mark Anthony
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
The purpose of this adapted grounded theory study was to identify and analyze how 23 fifth grade elementary teachers' beliefs about the U.S. and U.S. history, about the children they teach, and about the context in which they teach affected both what and how they taught. The study found that teachers' beliefs about the U.S. itself affected their teaching practices. Their beliefs ranged from what I called "Balanced Patriots" to what I called "Exceptional Exceptionalists." The teachers' beliefs about U.S. history were also varied. Some teachers believed in taking a Constructivist stance when teaching U.S. history, while others favored a more Objectivist approach. Regarding the use of historical narratives when teaching U.S. history, the teachers' beliefs ranged from teachers who "Problematized Narratives" at one end of the range, to those who were "Overly Reliant on Narratives" at the other end. These teachers also had varied beliefs about their students. Some believed their students were "Challenge Ready," while others felt their "Students Need to be Protected." Finally, the teachers were also affected by a range of contextual issues. Because of the increasingly high-stakes testing environment in which they taught, many teachers reported that U.S. history had less significance than did the tested subjects of reading, writing and mathematics. Additionally, the teachers were often concerned about the potential for parental backlash, which, often caused them to either scale back the teaching of controversial topics, or to avoid them altogether. They also were often reticent to disclose their personal views to their students. The range of views about parental backlash spanned a stance I labeled "Never Fully Safe," to a more extreme stance in which the teachers believed they were teaching in an "Unsafe Environment.". This study is useful because it helps identify possible ways in which educator preparation programs might more adequately prepare future teachers to work in today's schools. The need to act to improve educator preparation is increasingly urgent because as less U.S. history is being taught, the more critical it becomes that what is being taught is taught well. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 5; Intermediate Grades; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A