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ERIC Number: EJ988439
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 126
ISSN: ISSN-0885-985X
Distinguishing Themes of Cultural Responsiveness: A Study of Document-Based Learning
Swartz, Ellen E.
Journal of Social Studies Research, v36 n2 p135-167 Spr 2012
This qualitative study examines the distinguishing themes of cultural responsiveness in state- and federally-derived document-based learning materials. Two data sources--"Teaching with Documents" articles in Social Education and Document Based Questions on New York State 11th-grade U.S. History and Government Regents exams--were examined using interpretive and quasi-statistical methods to determine the presence or absence of cultural responsiveness. Two sets of themes emerged from the data, one set when cultural responsiveness was present, and the other when it was absent. For the most part, government-sanctioned document-based learning materials were not culturally responsive, often masking or omitting historically marginalized cultures and groups. Other themes that were not culturally responsive--the acceptance of injustice as inevitable, a dichotomous approach to history, and the cloaking of hegemonic interests--were also found. The most common theme in culturally-responsive texts was the encouraging of diverse ideas, critical thinking, and problem solving. However, content about inequities experienced by historically omitted or marginalized groups were found in very few texts, even those that exhibited other culturally-responsive characteristics. By uncovering the distinguishing themes in documents that were and were not culturally responsive, this study provides direction for examining and creating document-based learning materials that position diverse cultures and groups as normative subjects, participants, and agents in history. (Contains 9 tables and 12 notes.)
International Society for the Social Studies. University of Central Florida College of Education, Suite 123M P.O. Box 161250, Orlando, FL 32816. e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 11; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York; United States