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ERIC Number: EJ904825
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0037-7724
What's Stopping You? Classroom Censorship for Better or Worse
Patterson, Nancy C.
Social Education, v74 n6 p326-331 Nov-Dec 2010
Censorship is a complex question. Studies show a number of reasons teachers refrain from teaching controversial issues. These include: (1) The general "chilling effects" in school and community contexts, characterized by fear of reprisal; (2) Standards and high stakes testing; (3) Insufficient teacher preparation to teach about controversy; and (4) Inadequate teacher understanding of academic freedom and the rights it affords them. Teachers often respond to these barriers by censoring themselves--a decision that ultimately undermines academic freedom. To understand better how and why social studies teachers self-censor, a small group of teachers from several Midwestern schools and districts were surveyed in 2010 about their approach to the teaching of controversy. Teachers were asked a number of questions about teaching controversy, censorship, their individual and school contexts and their sense of their own academic freedom. They reported on previous experiences with censorship, and they were asked about preparation to teach about controversy. In this article, the author reports the results of the survey that show that teachers often make up for a lack of pre-service training in the issue through in-service training, but their uncertainty about the extent of academic freedom and wariness of dealing with "hot button issues" can lead to self-censorship. (Contains 22 notes.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800; Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A