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ERIC Number: EJ898531
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 33
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0885-985X
"Fun" Pedagogy Curtails Intellectual Rigor in a U.S. History Class
DiCamillo, Lorrei
Journal of Social Studies Research, v34 n2 p175-207 2010
This case study examines a U.S. History class where a veteran teacher uses challenging primary source documents and a debate to encourage his students to think critically about history. The teacher is knowledgeable about the subject matter and articulates a clear purpose for teaching. Surprisingly, the author finds that the teacher's methods, which include the use of competitions and games, contradict some of his espoused teaching goals and some student's engagement in the class. The ambitious four-week competitive debate the teacher enacts creates an adversarial classroom climate where students focus on competing with each other. Additionally, the teacher's jokes and sense of humor encourage students' attention during lessons, but limit student's abilities to discuss issues intelligently. The findings add to the research base about teachers who use entertainment and gamesmanship, and illustrate how a teacher's beliefs and pedagogy undermined the quality of lessons and the student experiences in the class.
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 - Research
Education Level: High Schools
Audience: Teachers
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California