Theory and research in social education

Theory and research in social education

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Theory and research in social education
National Council for the Social Studies -- College and University Faculty Assembly
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Social sciences -- Study and teaching -- Periodicals ( lcsh )
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Theory and research in social education.
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b College and University Faculty Assembly, National Council for the Social Studies] .
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in Social Education Vol XV No 1 Winter 1987 Parker t Teachers' Mediation in Social Studies Mehaffy t Social Studies in World War I : A Period of Transition Common t Stories, Teaching, and the Social Studies Curriculum McKinney, t The Effects of Ordinary and Coordinate Burts, Ford t Concept Nonexamples on First-Grade and Gilmore t Students' Acquisitions of Three Coordinate Concepts Tixier and t Attitudes Toward and Perceived Use of Dick t Textbook Reading Strategies Among Junior and Senior High Schol Social Studies Teachers


Theory and Research in Social Education Volume XV t Number 1 t Fall 1987 College and University Faculty Assembly TRSE is the official journal of the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies Published quarterly, it is a general review open to all social studies educators, social scientists, historians and philosophers A general statement of purpose, and submission, subscription and advertising information may be found at the end of the journal € 1986 by the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies All rights reserved i


Editor : A Guy Larkins University of Georgia Associate Editor : Judith P Goetz University of Georgia Book Review Editor : C Warren McKinney Oklahoma State University Editorial Board : Mary Jo Brown University of Georgia Charles K Curtis University of British Columbia Janet Eyler Vanderbilt University John Haas University of Colorado Richard C Hunnicutt Georgia Pacific Corporation Sandra J LeSourd Washburn University Jack L Nelson San Jose State University James P Shaver Utah State University William Stanley Louisiana State University The College and University Faculty Assembly Executive Committee 1986-1987 Chair : Mary Kay Tetreault Lewis and Clark College Secretary : Stephen J Thorton University of Delaware 1987 Program Co-Chairs : Gloria Contreras University of Texas Patricia Moseley North Texas State University Members : Susan Adler Rockhurst College Gloria Contreras University of Texas Stanley E Easton Montana State University S Samuel Shermis Purdue University Lynda Stone University of New Hampshire Mary Kay Tetreault Lewis and Clark College Stephen J Thorton University of Delaware


The National Council for the Social Studies Officers 1986-1987 President : Jan Tucker Florida International University President Elect : Donald O Schneider University of Georgia Vice President : Mary McFarland, Parkway School District Chesterfield, MO Reviewers The editors wish to express special appreciation to the following scholars who served as referees of manuscripts submitted James Akenson, Tennessee Technological University Buckley Barnes, Georgia State University Mary Jo Brown, University of Georgia June Chapin, College of Notre Dame Elmer Clawson, University of the Pacific Richard Diem, University of Texas at San Antonio Jack Fraenkel, San Francisco State University Judith Goetz, University of Georgia Michael Hawkins, University of Georgia Richard Knight, Utah State University Warren McKinney, Oklahoma State University Sharon Muir, Oakland University James P Shaver, Utah State University Ben Smith, University of Southern Mississippi Stephen J Thorton, University of Delaware


Theory & Research in Social Education, ISSN 0093-3104, is published quarterly by the College & University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies Membership is $20/year, $15 of the dues are allocated for subscription to Theory & Research in Social Education Second class postage paid at Washington, DC and additional offices Postmaster : send address changes to : Theory & Research in Social Education, 3501 Newark St NW, Washington, DC 20016 iv


Volume XV Number 1 Winter, 1987 CONTENTS Walter C Parker Teachers' Mediation in Social Studies 1 George L Mehaffy Social Studies in World War I : A Period of Transition 23 Dianne L Common Stories, Teaching and the Social Studies Curriculum 33 C Warren McKinney, Diane C Burts, Mary Jane Ford, and Allison G Gilmore The Effects of Ordinary and Coordinate Concept Nonexamples on First-Grade Students' Acquisition of Three Coordinate Concepts 45 Yvonne Tixier Y Vigil and James Dick Attitudes Toward and Perceived Use of Texbook Reading Strategies Among Junior and Senior High School Social Studies Teachers 51


Theory and Research in Social Education Winter, 1987 Volume XV Number 1, pp 1-22 € by The College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies Teachers' Mediation in Social Studies Walter C Parker University of Washington Abstract This paper develops the idea of teachers' mediation and applies it to social studies education Inquiry on teachers' mediation is distinguished from inquiry on teachers' behavior and cognition, which is, in turn, shown to be embedded in a conceptually limited model of school change Gadamer's "prior question" and Schon's "reflection-in-practice" are introduced to elaborate the heritage and significance of this distinction Three illustrative examples of research on teachers' mediation in social studies are then reviewed, suggesting the diverse methods, concerns, and implications of such inquiry for social education Alfred North Whitehead once said to Bertrand Russell, "There are two kinds of people in the world, the muddle-headed and the simple-minded You Bertree, are simple-minded, and I am muddle-headed ." I begin with this quip to clear a way for curriculum theorizing--a way that brings into the open the critical and hermeneutic as well as the all-too-familiar technical, a way that permits not only the simple-minded but also the muddle-headed into deliberation on social education MacDonald (1981) proposed a clearing of this sort He was interested not in obliterating the technical preoccupation in curriculum work but engaging it in a conversation in which understanding, as distinct from mere explanation, might obtain The technical, or what Pinar (1978) called the traditional approach to curriculum tends to be uncritically devoted to a historically recent form of rationality that is eager to explain But explanation has its shortcomings To explain, as MacDonald pointed out, is to simplify, to ex-plain or "flatten out" : Almost all of our curriculum theory efforts are attempts to explain (flatten out), which are usually intended to lead to prediction and control Thus, implicit in this form of rational theory is the dualism of theory and practice and the assumption that the "proof of the pudding" is in practice The paradox of rationalist theory is in effect that it leads to an anti-intellectual priority in doing (p 131) 1


Its paradox, in other words, is that it often manufactures what it seeks to overcome The technical begets the technical My project here is to open a clearing in which the technical, the critical, and the hermeneutic can be brought to bear on understanding teachers as mediators of the social studies curriculum This is a task of some moment as a new philosophy of education, one that is more technical than ever in its vision of what it means to be educated and competent, ascends to a privileged position in public discourse on education (Aoki, 1984) An understanding of teachers as mediators of the social studies curriculum counters this dominant philosophy with perhaps more accurate and less constraining portrayals of teachers and schooling-more accurate because they do not exclude teachers' tacit and practical knowledge of schooling, and less constraining because they do not presuppose teachers as objects in a curriculum production system I shall proceed in three sections The first will summarize the burgeoning literature on teacher cognition and describe a hermeneutic turn in that literature The second will describe a conception of teachers as curriculum agents-that is, as professionals who bring intellectual and moral agency to their work with children, social studies, and the milieu of schooling This description will be largely historical, emphasizing the rise of the technical conception of practice against which the notion of agency is most clearly brought into relief Having done this, I will in the final section provide three examples of inquiry on teachers' mediation The Hermeneutic Turn in Research on Teaching Research on teacher cognition as it relates to teacher behavior and student achievement is a recent development in the study of teaching In the 1960s and '70s, the idea of studying the pedagogic thoughts of teachers was advanced infrequently, although with some enthusiasm for its potential impact on student learning, curriculum implementation, and prevailing conceptions of teaching (Berliner, 1976 ; Gage, 1963 ; Shavelson, 1973) Dominating research on teaching at this time was the process-product paradigm, which replaced the teacher characteristics paradigm (Lanier, 1978) The older of the two assumed that teachers were more or less born, not made ; the process-product research overturned that belief with another, which held that there are effective instructional behaviors available to all teachers through learning In this type of research, teacher behaviors considered likely to increase student achievement were specified, and the correlation between the frequency of their occurrence in classrooms and mean class achievement scores was determined A high, positive correlation between a particular teacher behavior and student achievement suggested that the behavior was effective Examples of behaviors thus identified are "direct instruction" (Gage, 1978 ; Rosenshine, 1979), "withitness" (Kounin, 1970), and brisk pacing (Good, Grouws, & Beckerman, 1978) 2


Process-product research was an important advance over the teacher characteristics paradigm First, it focused on teacher behaviors, which were considered more malleable than the teacher-as-person characteristics described in the prior approach ; consequently, the process-product work held out hope for the improvement of teaching without requiring the replacement of teachers Second, the accumulation of a research base on effective teaching was a bulwark against the nonempirical, favorite method approach that seemed the norm at that time Workshop presenters, professors, and supervisors all seemed to have their own elixir In social studies, favorites were higher-order questioning, the inquiry method, and the structure of the discipline approach By the end of the last decade, there seemed to be some enthusiasm among teacher educators and public school supervisors to "listen to the data" (Brophy, 1979) instead of .reiterating old claims that had little or no empirical warrant This shift was welcomed by many But doubts were soon raised about its underside : a narrowly behavioristic model of teaching . And these doubts were the impetus for a new line of research on teaching focused on teachers' cognition No retreat from the empirical thrust in research on teaching, the new work proposed that teachers' knowledge of and ability to produce effective behaviors were important but not sufficient conditions for helping students learn in classrooms Criticism of the behavioral model centered on its inability to tell us how teachers might appropriately apply effective behaviors in their classrooms Even when equipped with these behaviors, teachers still have the sizable task of deciding which behaviors to use and when, how, and with which students to use them Typical of this new concern were Shavelson's comments : A teacher may possess a full range of teaching skills, but if he is unable to determine those situations in which a particular skill or subset of skills is appropriate, the consequences of his blindly carrying out those skills alone may not be those intended (1981, p 3) And mine : Teaching-learning contexts change, and teachers' behaviors must change accordingly The basic problem for teachers is, therefore, to acknowledge that there is no one best way to behave, and then to learn to make decisions in such ways that their behaviors are continually appropriate to the dynamic, moment-to-moment complexity of the classroom (Parker, 1984, p 220) The watershed in inquiry on teachers' cognition was the publication in Curriculum Inquiry of Clark and Yinger's review of research on teachers' planning, judgment, implicit theories, and interactive decision-making (1977) It remained the most influential on teachers' thinking until Clark and Peter3


son's review in the new Handbook of Research on Teaching (Wittrock, 1986) Findings from this new line of work have helped describe how teachers think before and during instruction Consider, for example, these findings from stimulated-recall data on teachers' interactive decision-making (decisions made during, rather than before or after, instruction) 1 Decisions made during preactive planning influence those made later during interactive teaching Specifically, teachers tend to enter instruction with mental images that predetermine what they will consider a successful lesson (Morine-Dershimer, 1978-79) Moving lessons forward-that is, to completion according to image-is perhaps the chief intention during instruction (Parker & Gehrke, 1986) 2 An image is usually played out until it or the class session ends ; consequently, teachers tend to report making interactive decision primarily when the image is not being realized The cues teachers use to judge the present success or failure of a lesson are primarily student cues indicating their level of involvement in the lesson (Housner & Griffey, 1983 ; Peterson & Clark, 1978) 3 Teaching tends to be the execution of a plan, or image, and interactive decisions are, consequently, related to fine tuning that plan in the face of a dynamic task environment (Morine-Dershimer, 1978-79) 4 Teacher decision-making appears to become more frequent, more complex, and more attentive to student cues when teachers regularly reflect on their interactive decisions and talk about their decision-making with others (Parker, 1984) The implications for social education of just these findings from the rapidly accumulating literature on teachers' thinking are worth exploring Consider, for example, the common stereotype at the secondary level of the football coach who also teaches social studies If the fourth finding above can be generalized, then we might predict that coach/teachers reflect more on their coaching decisions than on their instructional decisions, which is why the former rather than the latter develops Or, considering the findings on images, we might wonder just what sort of images coach-teachers have when they enter instruction Perhaps the differences that exist among coach/teachers in the quality of their instruction can be partially accounted for by the differences in these images Finally, consider the ample findings indicating that many students do not like social studies (Shaughnessy & Haladyna, 1985) If the second finding can be generalized, then we might wonder whether and how social studies students are indicating their boredom Further, we might wonder, on the one hand, if students are cuing, but their social studies teachers are not attending to those cues ; or, on the other, if social studies teachers' images of a successful lesson are so unambitious as to permit an unusually high degree of student disengagement 4


But rather than using this space to pursue further the implications of this literature, I want now to turn to what may be a more encompassing and fruitful line of inquiry on teachers' cognition But I do not want to dichotomize here : I want to promote a program of inquiry without suggesting that other programs should be abandoned Like McDonald, I do not want to obliterate the technical but to clarify it, point to its limitations, and frame a dialog between it and alternatives The research on teachers' cognition sketched above has been helpful primarily for advancing research on teaching from its recent preoccupation with behaviorism to a recognition that teachers do not simply behave, like automata of some kind, but are cognitive beings whose thinking and doing are a piece This recognition was a considerable advance in view of educational psychology's traditional (and not subtle) mistrust of introspection (e .g ., Nisbett & Wilson, 1977) Yet we must note a similarity between research on teacher behavior and the newer research on teacher thinking, which has been, in my judgment, the Achilles' heel of this advance The advance might be characterized as a movement from regarding the teacher as a moving object to regarding the teacher as a moving and thinking object The similarities are, of course, objectivication of the teacher and the isolation of teaching from its social context While the earlier research truncated behavior, stripping it from the social and ontological moorings of practice, the newer research truncates a different piece of being, this time cognition, dropping yet a different piece of professional practice in formaldehyde What accounts for these similarities? Following Hans-Georg Gadamer, I suggest that these two lines of research are of one nature because they share a common prior, or genuine, question Both scratch the same itch Gadamer, the post-Heideggerian philosopher who proposed "philosophical hermeneutics" (1985), considers genuine questioning always an activity of the Socratic docta ignorantia In order to be able to ask, one must know, which involves knowing that one does not know . . To ask a question means to bring into the open The openness of what is in question consists in the fact that the answer is not settled (Gadamer, 1985, p 326) Genuine questioning, then, is grounded in ignorance On this ground, genuine questioning seeks to place the object of inquiry in the open To be unaware of the genuine question behind a particular research question inclines the researcher to suppose, first, that he or she is acting objectively-suspended miraculously above ground, above the tradition in which research itself is immersed Palmer (1969) is explicit : There is no such thing as a nonpositional subject, and therefore there is also no such thing as nonpositional understanding Understanding is always positional ; it stands at a given point in history There is no 5


privileged access . that stands outside of history and outside one's own horizon of understanding (p 224) Second, to be unaware of the genuine question promotes the assumption that the truth about the objects of the researcher's transcendent gaze will be found out as a function of careful methodology In other words (and paraphrasing the title of Gadamer's seminal work, Truth and Method) unaware of the prior question of which the research question is an expression, the researcher is able to suppose that method will reveal truth This string of suppositions is untenable, at once misunderstanding that understanding itself is what being human is (hence, no suspension above it is possible) ; that only from a genuine acknowledgment of not knowing can genuine knowing obtain ; that a research question presupposes a more fundamental prior question ; and that this prior question fashions the general direction that answers to the present research question must take When an unacknowledged prior question replaces the experience of ignorance, the present research question is not actually a question but an answer to the prior question posing as a question Returning to the problem at hand, we can see that research on teacher behavior and research on teacher cognition have shared a largely unacknowledged prior (genuine) question That question has been something like "How can teachers be made more accessible to externally mandated change?" (Carson, 1986) Research on teacher behavior answers this question in one way : Teachers can be improved if those teacher behaviors that increase student achievement can be specified and if means can be devised, whether in teacher education courses or inservice training, to install these behaviors in teachers Research on teacher cognition answers this question in another way, which now appears only slightly different : Teachers can be improved if their thinking during planning and instruction can be made more conductive to program implementation This prior question undergirding much process-product research and research on teacher cognition is the generalized implementation model of school change stated as a question The model assumes that curriculum inventions and experimental teaching methods, once identified and favored by educational researchers, curriculum workers, and supervisors, can and should be implemented generally, i .e ., applied universally Implementation is the name given to the center-to-periphery diffusion of the plan, and fidelity is a measure of the match between the plan and the form it actually takes in practice (see Fullan, 1982) Located in this linear conception of the curriculum development/implementation process, many curricular and instructional inventions have been designed by the experts (generally persons external to school sites who supposedly have the necessary theoretical knowledge to guide practice) and subsequently delivered to teachers, who are regarded in this scheme as curriculum conduits (Connelly & Ben-Peretz, 6


1980) Their role in this model is to transmit the program, unadulterated, to students Few of the programs thus delivered have settled into practice ; fewer have been sustained (Fullan & Promfret, 1977) Examples include some new social studies programs of the 1960s This analysis of the prior, or genuine, question helps us see that much (certainly not all) research on teachers' behaviors and cognition is hardly neutral, but embedded in the particular value that teachers ought to be competent implementers of others' plans Consequently, research questions like "How do teachers think during instruction?" or "How do teachers plan?" or "What are teachers' implicit theories?" are actually opinions aligned in the direction of the genuine question The sort of study I am calling inquiry on teachers' mediation of curricula marks a break with this research on teachers' behavior and cognition by parting with its prior question It asks instead, "How do teachers make sense of their work, and how do their understandings create the curriculumin-practice?" Put another way, it asks, "How do teachers come between students, curriculum, and milieu, and how does that coming-between, that agency or mediation, shape practice?" This is the study of understanding itself ; as such, it is a hermeneutic rather than a technical project Now relocated in a different prior question, the claim that "teachers make a difference" has an altogether different meaning No longer does it mean that teachers make or break a development/implementation process and, consequently, must receive proper inservice training so that they make Vt rather than break it This is the discourse of the teacher-as-curriculum conduit Rather, the same claim, "teachers make a difference," is re-situated in a prior question that regards teachers as curriculum agents, or inquirersinpractice, whose practice, far from conduction, is intellectual, moral, and inventive One might ask, Is not all this mediation talk just a reiteration of the tired argument that teachers cannot be overlooked in the endeavor to implement curriculum innovations? This is an important question, and the answer is, Not at all The genuine question behind that question, if I understand it correctly, is the generalized implementation model That this model is untenable in education is clear enough when we consider that it promotes a particular set of power relations that, in turn, promote, in the name of fidelity, a sort of mass lobotomizing of the adults in the school building Central to understanding teachers' mediation of the curriculum is the concept of curriculum potential (Ben-Peretz, 1975) It implies that any new curriculum plan is a "new set of unclear meanings" (Olson, 1980) yet to be situated and made sensible by practitioners Because there is no meaning external to contexts and, conversely, no contexts that do not appropriate meaning (Mishler, 1979), teachers' thinking and actions related to a given curriculum plan (e .g ., a school district plan for sixth-grade social studies, or a thinking-skills program outlined by an inservice presenter) are thus index7


ical (Garfinkel & Sacks, 1970), or contextual in the last instance Clearly, then, the notion of curriculum potential undermines the epistemology of attempts to control schools from the outside, whether by the mandates of lawmakers perfervid about accountability and minimum competencies or the proposals of professors and curriculum supervisors wanting to install programs in the schools Conversely, the notion helps restore teacher autonomy to the place it has always held in the equation of school change and rebukes the possibility of a teacher-prof curriculum It shifts the view of teachers from automata to curriculum agents who bring a complex autonomy to bear on curriculum plans, mediating them and thereby constructing their potential-in-practice, whatever that may be In summary, the hermeneutic turn in research on teachers' pedagogic thought is an attempt to correct a false conception of teachers' practice that necessarily conceals it rather than bringing it into the open The correction is not simply a contrast in methods, although that is included More fundamentally, it is a raising of a different question This question admits ignorance of teachers' practice, of the processes by which the actual social studies curriculum is created and sustained, and of the proper relationship between on the one hand, educators who work in universities, research centers, and central administration offices and, on the other hand, educators who work directly with children in schools Recovering Teacher Agency Inquiry on human agency-on humans as intentional beings who think, act, and feel-is ancient, and our current attempts to understand for social education what teacher agency means are bound up with that tradition So it will be necessary to examine that tradition, particularly the watershed in the last century when social researchers adopted the ideal of knowledge held by natural scientists This emulation of the natural sciences by those engaged in the social, or human, sciences has been the subject of lively argumentation representing a variety of perspectives (e .g ., Dilthey, 1961 ; Gouldner, 1970 ; Habermas, 1973 ; Schutz, 1967 ; Winch, 1958) Steven Jay Gould (1981) captures the phenomenon in the phrase physics envy One might say that the scientization of social inquiry had to occur since, with the rise of industrialism in the West, a positivist offensive was pervading contemporary thought with a sweeping doctrine that scientized the act of study itself The central tenets of that doctrine are, first, that the scientific method is not to be considered a particular attitude and approach to understanding, but the only way to truth in and of the world, both natural and social ; second, that the goals of natural and human sciences are the same : prediction and explanation ; third, that the relationship of theory to practice is primarily linear and technical It is a linear relationship because theory and practice are seen as clearly distinct phenomena, with the development of the former occurring first, followed by its application in 8


concrete situations (as in the phrase, theory into practice) ; and it is technical because the relationship is conceived not in terms of purpose and ethics but of means and ends : If the appropriate general laws are known and the relevant initial conditions are manipulable, we can produce a desired state of affairs, natural or social (McCarthy, 1985) This backdrop could not be more relevant to our present discussion, for entangled in these tenets is a particular epistemology of professional practice that sponsors the generalized implementation model With that logic the center-to-periphery approach to improving practice makes perfect sense Let us compare it briefly to the classical world-view it helped overturn and imagine how the project to improve social education might proceed if located in it Aristotle's conception of social and political life admitted of variability and morality There was, consequently, little endeavor to reduce human experience to general laws by which future actions could be predicted and past events explained Prediction and explanation were the proper concerns of episteme, or natural science, but the good and just life of the community was a different kind of concern altogether--a practical concern where the constants were not certainty but ambiguity, not generalizability but particularity, and not a linear but a circular, interdependent relationship of theory and practice For this reason, wise judgment, or phronesis, was the central virtue of practical life Indeed a great distance had to be traveled from this notion of the practical to the top-down logic of the generalized implementation model Something of a reconstruction of what it means to be human was necessary Donald Schon has elaborated the implications of this shift to a scientized version of practice In The Reflective Practitioner (1983), he claims that the professions are "bound to an epistemology of practice which leaves [them] at a loss to explain, or even describe, the competencies to which we now give overriding importance" (p 20) That epistemology is positivism's technical rationality, and according to it, professional activity is at root professional problem solving It is "professional" because it is more artful problem solving than might be accomplished by the lay public, and it is more artful because it applies scientific theory and techniques to the problems it endeavors to solve This is not the exercise of phronesis but the instrumental adjustment of means to ends that are not themselves brought into the open This concept of application defines professionalism in a manner that strips it of human agency-that drains being from practice What need is there for agency, for phronesis, when what is to be done is the dutiful transmission of a profession's knowledge base to the problem at hand? A knowledge base is thought to be standardized and generalizable, which, Schon notes, summarizes the technical vision of the relationship between a knowledge base and practice : Standardized knowledge is to be applied to 9


specific cases, flattening them out The epistemic hierarchy in this odd conception of practice is straightforward : The application of basic science yields applied science Applied science yields diagnostic and problem-solving techniques which are applied in turn to the actual delivery of services The order of application is also an order of derivation and independence Applied science is said to "rest on" the foundation of basic science And the more basic and general the knowledge, the higher the status of its producer (Schon, 1983, p 24) The limits of technicism for the professions are not subtle Schon cites just a few of the numerous professionally managed debacles since the 1960s, from the Vietnam War and the Bay of Pigs to the accident at Three Mile Island, as well as the now burgeoning self-criticism evident in the professions' own journals Witness the field of education, including claims of moribundity in social education (Newmann, 1986) The professions are entangled in a mistaken understanding of practice that cannot account for the real flesh and blood world of professional activity The approbation enjoyed by the professions in the post-war and post-Sputnik years has given way to a crisis of legitimacy felt particularly in such fields as education, social work, criminology, and public policy making, where experts/did their best to emulate, in their own form of physics envy, the medical and engineering models of research and development It is a crisis, Schon tells us, grounded in these professions' now self-acknowledged failure to solve the problems that they were, as professions, supposedly well equipped to solve We have now come around the circle We can locate historically the generalized implementation model for curriculum development and reform We can recognize it as a not-untypical expression of the technical rationality that overtook research and professional practice And it should be apparent that human agency has little place in this model, except at the top of the hierarchy where plans are made It was Joseph Schwab, a science educator turned generalist, who first brought this misunderstanding of practice to the attention of the curriculum field He helped break its spell by articulating an alternative vision that required a return to mediation on practical ground By practical, he did not mean the anti-intellectual resignation to superficiality often connoted in the phrase, "Let's get practical ." Rather, with Schon, he referred to : . a complex discipline, relatively unfamiliar to the academic and differing radically from the disciplines of the theoretic It is the discipline concerned with choice and action, in contrast with the theoretic, which is concerned with knowledge Its methods led to defensible decisions, where the methods of the theoretic lead to warranted conclusions, and 1 0


differ radically from the methods and competencies entailed in the theorectic (Schwab, 1969, p 1) In this and succeeding papers, Schwab turned the attention of some in curriculum away from the field's traditional regard for scientific management and generalized implementation to the project of comprehending phronesis Schwab thus heralded the old notion that today remains oddly iconoclastic : Teachers are reflective practitioners, their practice is an art, and their curriculum agency is necessarily eclectic and context-bound Inquiry on Mediation In this section, I want to describe three examples of inquiry on teachers conceived as curriculum agents I have chosen these three for the diversity of methods and concerns they display Example 1 My first example is Adler's and Goodman's related studies of student-teachers' perspectives (Adler, 1984 ; Goodman & Adler, 1985) These are studies of teachers' mediation because the authors try to understand how student teachers understand their practice, and how that understanding shapes their practice They wanted to comprehend how student-teachers "give meaning and purpose to social studies ." They were more interested in actual than imposed meaning, so both studies began by acknowledging and then casting aside conceptions of social studies devised by persons external to school sites (e .g ., social studies as citizenship education, as reflective inquiry, as social science, and as preparation for social roles) In this attempt to uncover the actual, these studies rely on the category teacher perspectives : Unlike more abstract constructs, perspectives are set in the concrete world of actual situations and refer to particular actions Teacher perspectives take into account how the situation of the school and classroom is experienced ; how this situation is interpreted given the teacher's background of experiences, beliefs, and assumptions ; and how this interpretation is manifested in behaviors (Goodman & Adler, 1985, p 2) Ethnographic field methods were used in both studies, with an emphasis on the constant-comparative technique in the latter study to generate categories of perspectives directly from the data The first studied four elementary student-teachers ; the second extended the number to 16 Both studies shed light on how perspectives might mediate social studies practice First, Adler (1984) concluded that student-teachers' perspectives toward social studies accounted for less of their practical mediation than did their broader perspective toward teaching and learning in general One studentteacher wanted to "get the kids to process information and draw conclusions," yet he daily faced a class seemingly unmotivated to do either This dilemma pervaded his practice, not only in social studies Unable to find 1 1


perspectives that were unique to the mediation of social studies, Adler recommended that "foundations questions"-those broad concerns in which one's social studies teaching is embedded-be taken up in social studies methods classes to encourage an interaction of methods and perspectives However, when the number of informants was increased to 16, and grounded theory's constant-comparative technique was used to analyze data, six perspectives on social studies were developed, and each appeared to shape social studies teaching in numerous ways One perspective, which Goodman and Adler call "social studies as human relations," defined social studies not as a field of knowledge, but as "teaching children techniques of human relations ." Jill, one of the student-teachers with this perspective, had her third-grade class make "Me Mobiles ." The children painted on paper plates faces that depicted feelings they often had Asked to explain what this activity meant, Jill responded : We have them do this kind of stuff every Tuesday and Thursday Each time we pick out a different activity from one of these [human relations] books that helps them get in touch with themselves or other kids in the class Personally, I think this stuff is a lot more meaningful than the traditional social studies I had as a kid (Goodman & Adler, 1985, P 8) A contrasting mediation was evident in student-teachers with a perspective called, "social studies as school knowledge ." They defined social studies as textbook knowledge and were concerned primarily with covering the material in texts and on mimeographed handouts They evaluated student achievement of this sort of material by asking recall and comprehension questions Ann, who held this perspective, was asked about the accuracy of the material about which she was quizzing her sixth-grade class She explicitly acknowledged that it was wrong, but rationalized her instruction in a way the authors found typical of student-teachers with this perspective : Maybe that kind of questioning is appropriate for college, but I don't think these kids can handle it Besides, if I spend a lot of time discussing every little point, we won't finish the chapter in time (p 10) Goodman and Adler present four other perspectives as well They are social studies as a nonsubject, as citizenship, as the great connection, and as social action Each narrative description illustrates, if briefly, how a teacher's perspective on social studies mediates the relationship between teachers and students, and the teachers' practical planning and implementation of the social studies curriculum Example 2 A second example is my study of teachers' mediation of a curriculum invention (Parker, 1986) This study emerged from my interest 1 2


in teachers' transformation of curriculum inventions (e .g ., discussion of moral dilemmas, Fenton's inquiry approach, or computer-assisted instruction) into classroom practice I used the term invention after Westbury (1984) to indicate a curriculum intention or form that originated outside a teacher's practice, its potential-in-practice not yet expressed A great distance must be traveled between the inventor's invention and the teacher's daily work My interest was in understanding that distance in terms of the mediation by which the invention's particular potential in the hands of a particular teacher was constructed I interviewed and observed two elementary teachers over a period of eight months They both wanted to bring computer-assisted instruction (CAI) into their classrooms, and they shared similar understandings of this invention One teacher, Dorothy, was a second-grade teacher in an open-space building She had taught for eight years, the first two at a junior high school The other, Mary, was a fourth-through-sixth-grade resource teacher who worked with learning-disabled and emotionally disturbed students for one or two periods of their school day She had been a teacher for nine years, always as a special education pull-out teacher at the same school Dorothy's school had a class set of microcomputers located not far from her classroom Mary's resource room had just been given two microcomputers by the PTA My goal was to understand the themes in their mediation of this invention, and my methods were phenomenological and hermeneutic This perspective required that I turn even further than the previous study from a realist understanding of these teachers' mediation as existing out there as an object independent of the teachers and myself, and required me instead to consider these teachers' mediation as one might consider a literary work As the word itself suggests, a work is a lived project There is being in a work, for a work is always a work of some being A work is always his or her work, or my work or your work An object, by contrast, is not similarly possessed So, when studying a work, we are seeking an understanding of the meaning of a creator's creation When studying teachers' mediation as a work, we realize we are not studying an object, and so we adjust our research accordingly While natural science has methods appropriate to the understanding of objects, works require a method of understanding appropriate to works qua works Numerous themes appeared in these teachers' mediation of CAI-among them, hope, ambiguity, prior commitments, weariness, excitement, knowing and not knowing, being organized, being innovative, seeking approval, being cooperative and collegial, handling parents and administrators, and maintaining a personal life The first three were pronounced in Dorothy's and Mary's mediation of CAI, and they are explicated and related in the study I will only outline them here Relation per se was for Dorothy and Mary what their practice was about, 1 3


what it was made of And relating was pervaded with hoping Their hope was embedded in their lived experience as their children's other parents While van Manen (1984) has remarked that "teachers and even parents seem to have forgotten a certain kind of understanding ; what it means to bear children, to hope for children entrusted to their care," Dorothy and Mary had not forgotten, but embodied what van Manen wants : "The being of teaching as in loco parentis" (p 66) Dorothy and Mary spoke a meliorative language of possibility-a language uncomfortably aware of gaps between real and ideal, between what is given and what is envisioned as better Within this hope was a pervasive assumption about social and family pathology-about circumstances threatening to pull the children down, harming them, against which Dorothy's and Mary's hope was the heartfelt desire for upward and forward movement, toward well being and healing, toward the good Dorothy worried : I have a child now who gets absolutely zero at home . . A home where there's no love And Mary : They haven't had parents who talked with them about . how the mountains were made Dorothy and Mary believed that harmful home environments were holding their children back at the lower rungs of the self-worth and achievement ladders, contributing to the very problems they were striving to help their children overcome This belief galvanized their hope, and understanding this hope helps us understand their enthusiasm to introduce what they saw as a fresh, new experience to their children, even though they were already feeling the strain of a new set of legislative mandates for curriculum reform Dorothy and Mary located this invention in that part of their practice that contained not the mandated and supervised work of public school technicians but the mollifying work of caring adults who believed that they knew their children intimately, and whose beings were profoundly implicated in their students' happiness and well being Moreover, these teachers' work with CAI was anchored in a way that restrained the scope and depth of changes in their practice that might result The stabilizing force was a system of a priori pedagogic commitments that helped Dorothy and Mary steer a course between the desirable (implementing a program that would positively affect their students in accordance with their hopes for them) and the undersirable-upsetting their own sense of stability-in-practice As Dorothy and Mary implemented CAI, their attention was directed toward the same issues and grounded in the same commitments that had previously been important to them : Dorothy was using this new resource to help her students increase their math achievement and 1 4


"be the best they can be"-aims she was already pursuing with her students She appeared to never consider using CAI in her social studies lessons, not surprising when we consider that social studies learning was not a prior anchoring commitment in her practice Similarly, Mary was intending to use CAI to help close the gap between her special education students and the other children at school and to help them succeed at grade level Both were intentions she held prior to her decision to bring CAI into her practice Since the gap was for Mary chiefly a gap in reading, writing, and mathematics scores, the use of computers in social studies instruction was simply not a concern Incorporation of CAI proceeded with no apparent alteration in these teachers' current, preferred ways of thinking about learning, teaching, and the curriculum ; indeed, the new resources were held in awareness in a way that reinforced existing theories and assumptions By holding their commitments constant, as foundations for their practice, Dorothy and Mary were able to work with CAI in ways that minimized what had to be minimized : strain-in-practice They remind us that the practical is "necessarily a realm of uncertainty" (Gauthier, 1963, p 167) Listening to Dorothy and Mary portray the activity of teaching school, and their endeavors to introduce something new and worthwhile to their students, was in large measure a listening to the themes of ambiguity and strain and their simultaneous amelioration through reference to prior commitments These commitments structured the ambiguity aroused by the change effort and, generally, kept it from escalating to strain Example 3 Henry Giroux, with Stanley Aronowitz, has written a critical analysis of the social function of intellectual work, in which he advocates viewing teachers as intellectuals (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1985 ; Giroux, 1985a, 1985b) I include this theoretical study as the third example for two reasons First, it politicizes the category of teacher mediation, relating it to the perpetuation of current purposes and forms of schooling Second, it explicates the relationship between the material conditions of teachers' work and the nature of their curriculum mediation The prior question of this study leads in the opposite direction from studies that arise in the generalized-implementation model Its prior question can be stated as, How might educators help construct new forms of society that are free from current patterns of unfairness? Giroux begins by drawing on the new sociology of education, which has demonstrated the subordination of schools to dominant social groups and ideologies, and on the Aristotelian notion of practice, which assumes the integration of thinking and action, to construct what is essentially the same argument as was given in the first two sections of this paper : Teachers are intellectuals, but their intellectual labor has been rendered instrumental by a division of labor that separates conception from execution ; consequently, their mediation of the curriculum has been confined to that permitted of lower-level civil ser1 5


vants This separation of theory from practice is, Giroux argues, a material condition of teachers' work that inclines their mediation toward the bureaucratic, which is to say the instrumental, rather than toward the critical and creative The implications of this bureaucratization of teachers' intellectual labor are far-reaching Most important, it promotes by default the continuation of current social practices regardless of the degree to which they may be fair and empowering or dominating and alienating Having situated teachers' mediation in the context of ideological and economic conditions, Giroux then extends his view of teachers as intellectuals by specifying four types of mediation Each is an ideal-typical category of the social function of educators as intellectuals As such, he points out, a teachers' mediation is not confined to one or another but may move among categories The categories are (a) transformative intellectual, (b) critical intellectual, (c) accommodating intellectual, and (d) hegemonic intellectual The defining attribute of the first category is the integration of "critical discourse and political practice ." Not limited to the rationalities and loyalties of the professional and academic groups in which they must function, these teachers-as-intellectuals "seek links with groups fighting to change the schools, to oppose their tendency towards authoritarian modes of teaching and administration" (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1985, p 56) Their mediation of the social studies curriculum seeks self-consciously the democratization of study, the classroom, and the school They invite the widest expression of points of view and arguments, and the widest participation of teachers, students, and parents They operate "in the emancipatory interest," which directs them toward critical and visionary thinking, toward engaging their students in the struggle to develop a better world, and also toward self-criticism as a means to improve their practice This category clearly recognizes schools as political sites that are implicated in "the way things are," not neutral zones that somehow plod onward, independent of the milieu By contrast, critical intellectuals, while also opposed to the status quo and dominant ways of making sense of social and political reality, do not consider themselves social-political actors Nor do they consider themselves implicated in the particular society and professional and academic groups in which they must function Their role as intellectuals, then, calls for criticism but not activism In this sense, their relationship to society is free-floating They remain on the sidelines, preferring not to link with particular social movements, arguing that this would distort their search for and practice of objective reason Their mediation of the social studies curriculum, then, avoids stepping into the fray, although, like teachers in the previous category, they think critically about the given curriculum and engage their students in the critique of the given world Accommodating intellectuals, on the other hand, would do neither These teachers-as-intellectuals "generally stand firm within an ideological 1 6


posture and set of material practices that support the dominant society and its ruling groups" (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1985, p 58) Not typically selfconscious agents of the status quo, these teachers consider themselves freefloating thinkers engaged in what they presume to be scientific, value-free discourse Nevertheless, "they function primarily to produce and mediate uncritically ideas and social practices that serve to reproduce the status quo" (p 58) Finally, hegemonic intellectuals are self-conscious agents for various dominant groups They define themselves by their identification with these groups and mediate the curriculum in a way that legitimates the existing order This analysis advances a view of teachers as intellectuals, which is provocative enough It dismisses outright the conventional concept of an intellectual as one for whom thinking fulfills at once the function of work and play ; more specifically as a person whose relationship to society is defined, both in his eyes and in the eyes of society, principally by his presumed capacity to comment upon it with greater detachment than those caught up in the practical business of production and power (Lasch, 1965, p ix) Instead, it asserts that "Although one can speak of intellectuals, one cannot speak of non-intellectuals, because non-intellectuals don't exist" (Antonio Gramsci, cited in Giroux, 1985b, pp 84-85) This is an important move, shifting at once the analysis of teaching from a behaviorist to a cognitivemediational frame, and our understanding of teachers from neutral actors in a value-free milieu to agents whose actions are of a piece with their theorizing about who they are and how they ought to be in the world The analysis thereby creates a social transformation-conservation, or conception-execution, continuum on which teachers' mediation can be examined This constitutes an important counter to what can otherwise be an inclination in research (especially phenomenological research) to ignore the interaction of social context on human agency and to simply assume the primacy of individual consciousness Mayrl (1977) calls such works an exercise in avoidance : The assumption of the priority of individual consciousness over history and the division of labor represents the feeble attempt to control these perplexing realities by substituting them for something which seems more manageable (p 277) Conclusion This paper has introduced the category teachers' mediation of the social studies curriculum Considerable space was devoted to the tradition and distinctions on which this work stands Gadamer's notion of the genuine 1 7


question was considered to illuminate the distinction between this line of inquiry and research on teacher behavior and cognition that preceded it and made it necessary The Aristotelian notion of phronesis, taken up by Schon and Schwab, was introduced to help clarify contrasting visions of professional practice Two poles were implied : The teacher-proof project of the generalized-implementation model, and the teacher-mediated project inherent in the notion of curriculum potential These establish a dialectic that those who conduct research on teaching can ignore only with some peril The three examples display the breadth in research on teachers' mediation in social education Others equally diverse could have been included (Carson, 1986 ; Elbaz, 1983 ; Kelly, 1986 ; McNeil, 1986 ; Stone, 1985 ; Thornton, 1984) Together they suggest a program that should help restore understanding to being and being to teaching Moreover, they are attempts to explore alternatives to the application of scientized research methods to education The methods used in these three studies (ethnography, phenomenology, and critical analysis) just hint at the promise of methods that attempt to deal with humans as humans Yet, I hope I have been clear : I am not advocating the use of particular methods, say, qualitative over quantitative, muddle-headed over simple-minded Our predicament is hardly as simple as a methodological debate In Gadamer's words : The [problem] that confronts us [between the methodical spirit of science and philosophical hermeneutics] is not in the method, but in the objectives of knowledge The question I have asked seeks to discover and bring into consciousness something that methodological dispute serves only to conceal and neglect, something that does not so much confine or limit modern science as precede it and make it possible (1985, p xviii) This work, then, is an endeavor to step back from the technical, not to reject it so much as to recognize its limitations while welcoming other voices into the circle Particularly, it welcomes the voices of teachers themselves, which physics envy has devalued in so many ways : according the highest status to research programs that are the farthest from social practice and using techniques most like those of the natural sciences ; maintaining a theoryinto-practice logic that separates one from the other, conceiving from doing, discovery from application ; and stripping social inquiry of the normative dimensions of which it is made Perhaps the central strength in this work lies in its potential for empowering teachers While inquiry on teachers' mediation does not regard them as impotent and artless, while it does not assert that teachers can do no wrong, which would simply replace the teacher-as-conduit model with an equally silly notion of teachers as beyond reproach, it does compel a recognition of teachers as subjects-as thou, not it In the same way that the banking (Freire, 1973) or transmission model of education disempowers students, so 1 8


does it disempower teachers when it characterizes their relationship with those who would change them At a time when the need for critical thought about substantive reform in public education is so acute, when technical rationality on the right and correspondence theory on the left both deny teacher agency, modes of relating with one another that enliven and sustain need to be promoted References Adler, S A (1984) A field study of selected student teacher perspectives toward social studies Theory and Research in Social Education, 12(1), 13-30 Aoki, T T (1984) Competence in teaching as instrumental or practical action In E C Short (Ed .), Competence : Inquiries into its meaning and acquisition settings Lanham, MD : University Press of America Aronowitz, S ., & Giroux, H (1985) Radical education and transformative intellectuals Canadian Journal of Political and Social Theory, 9(3), 48-63 ._ Ben-Peretz, M (1975) The concept of curriculum potential Curriculum Theory Network, 5, 151-159 Berliner, D C (1976) Impediments to the study of teacher effectiveness Journal of Teacher Education, 27, 5-13 Brophy, J E (1979) Teacher behavior and its effects Journal of Educational Psychology, 71, 733-750 Carson, T R (1986) Closing the gap between research and practice : Conversation as a mode of doing research Phenomenology + Pedagogy, 4, 73-85 Clark, C M ., & Peterson, P L (1986) Teachers' thought processes In M C Wittrock (Ed .), Handbook of research on teaching (3rd ed .) New York : Macmillan, 255-296 Clark, C M ., & Yinger, R J (1977) Research on teacher thinking Curriculum Inquiry, 7, 279-394 Connelly, F M ., & Ben-Peretz, M (1980) Teachers' roles in the using and doing of research and curriculum development Journal of Curriculum Studies, 12, 95-107 Dilthey, W (1961) Meaning in history (H P Rickman, Ed & Trans .) London : G Allen and Unwin Elbaz, F (1983) Teaching thinking : A study of practical knowledge London : Croom Helm Freire, P (1973) Education for critical consciousness New York : Seabury Fullan, M (1982) The meaning of educational change New York : Teachers College Press Fullan, M ., & Pomfret, A (1977) Research on curriculum and instruction implementation Review of Educational Research, 47, 335-397 1 9


Gadamer, H G (1985) Truth and method New York : Crossroad Gage, N L (1963) Paradigms for research in teaching In N L Gage (Ed .), Handbook of research on teaching Chicago : Rand McNally Gage, N L (1978) The scientific basis of the art of teaching New York : Teachers College Press Garfinkel, H ., & Sacks, H (1970) On formal structures and practical actions In J C McKinney & E A Tiryakian (Eds .), Theoretical sociology : Perspectives and development New York : Appleton-Century-Crofts Gauthier, D P (1963) Practical reasoning Oxford : Clarendon Press Giroux, H A (1985a) Intellectual labor and pedagogic work : Rethinking the role of teacher as intellectual Phenomenology + Pedagogy, 3, 20-32 Giroux, H A (1985b) Critical pedagogy and the resisting intellectual, Part II Phenomenology + Pedagogy, 3, 84-97 Good, T L ., Grouws, D A ., & Beckerman, T (1978) Curriculum pacing : Some empirical data in mathematics Journal of Curriculum Studies, 10, 75-81 Goodman, J ., & Adler, S (1985) Becoming an elementary social studies teacher : A study of perspectives Theory and Research in Social Education, 13(2), 1-20 Gould, S J (1981) The mismeasure of man New York : W W Norton Gouldner, A (1970) The coming crisis of Western sociology New York : Seabury Press Habermas, J (1973) Theory and practice Boston : Beacon Press Housner, L D ., & Griffey, D C (1983, April) Teacher cognition : Differences in planning and interactive decision making between experienced and inexperienced teachers Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Montreal Kelly, T E (1986, April) Discussing controversial issues : Toward a theory of teachers' mediation Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco Kounin, J (1970) Discipline and group management in classrooms New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston Lanier, J E (1978) Research on teaching : A dynamic area of inquiry Occasional Paper No 7 East Lansing, MI : Institute for Research on Teaching, Michigan State University Lasch, C (1965) The new radicalism in America, 1889-1963 : The intellectual as a social type New York : Vintage Macdonald, J B (1981) Theory-practice and the hermeneutic circle Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, 3, 130-138 Mayrl, W W (1977) Ethnomethodology : Sociology without society? In F R 2 0


Dallmayr & T A McCarthy (Eds .), Understanding and social inquiry (pp 262-279) Notre Dame : University of Notre Dame Press McCarthy, T (1985) The critical theory of Jurgen Habermas Cambridge : The MIT Press McNeil, L M (1986) Contradictions and control  School structure and school knowledge New York : Routledge and Kegan Paul Mishler, E G (1979) Meaning in context : Is there any other kind? Harvard Educational Review, 49, 1-19 Morine-Dershimer, G (1978-79) Planning in classroom reality : An indepth look Educational Research Quarterly, 3, 83-89 Newmann, F M (1986) Priorities for the future : Toward a common agenda Social Education, 50, 240-250 Nisbett, R E ., & Wilson, T D (1977) Telling more than we know : Verbal reports of mental processes Psychological Review, 84, 231-259 Olson, J K (1980) Teacher constructs and curriculum change Journal of Curriculum Studies, 12, 1-11 Palmer, R E (1969) Hermeneutics Evanston, IL : Northwestern University Press Parker, W C (1984) Developing teachers' decision-making Journal ofExperimental Education, 52, 220-226 Parker, W C (1986) Dorothy's and Mary's mediation of a curriculum invention Phenomenology + Pedagogy, 4, 20-3 1 Parker, W C ., & Gehrke, N J (1986) Learning activities and teachers' decisionmaking : Some grounded hypotheses American Educational Research Journal, 23, 227-442 Peterson, P L ., & Clark, C M (1978) Teachers' report of their cognitive processes during teaching American Educational Research Journal, 15, 555-565 Pinar, W F (1978) The reconceptualization of curriculum studies Journal of Curriculum Studies, 10, 205-214 Rosenshine, B (1979) Content, time and direct instruction In P L Peterson & H J Walberg (Eds .), Research on teaching : Concepts, findings, and implications (pp 281-56) Berkeley : McCutchan Schon, D A (1983) The reflective practitioner New York : Basic Books Schutz, A (1967) The phenomenology of a social world Evanston, IL : Northwestern University Press Schwab, J J (1969) The practical : A language for curriculum School Review, 77, 1-23 Shaughnessy, J M ., & Haladyna, T M (1985) Research on student attitude toward social studies .-Social Education, 49, 692-695 2 1


Shavelson, R J (1973) What is the basic teaching skill? Journal of Teacher Education, 14, 144-151 Shavelson, R J (1981, April) Research on teachers' pedagogical thoughts, judgments, decisions, and behavior Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Los Angeles Stone, L (1985, April) A characterization of foundational epistemologies of beginning teachers : The story of a qualitative methodology Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago Thornton, S J (1984, November) Curriculum consonance in U .S History classrooms Paper presented at the annual meeting of the College and University Faculty Assembly, National Council for the Social Studies, Washington D .C van Marten, M (1984) Practicing phenomenological writing Phenomenology + Pedagogy, 2, 36-39 Westbury, I (1984, April) The invention of curricula Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans Winch, P (1958) The idea of a social science and its relation to philosophy London : Routledge & Kegan Paul Wittrock, M C (Ed .) (1986) Handbook of research on teaching (3rd ed .) New York : Macmillan 2 2


Theory and Research in Social Education Winter, 1987 Volume XV Number 1, pp 23-32 € by The College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies Social Studies in World War One : A Period of Transition George L Mehaffy San Diego State University Abstract During the early years of the twentieth century, educators challenged the traditional organization and content of the high school curriculum, including the social studies Nevertheless, many teachers continued their loyalty to an elitist curriculum until World War I, which served as a catalyst for rapid change in the teaching of history, geography, and current events Indicators of that change are found in the methods and professional journals of that period, particularly The History Teacher's Magazine Social studies in public schools after WWI was more like our current curriculum than like the history and geography taught prior to the War The early years of the twentieth century witnessed a series of challenges to the prevailing political, economic, and social assumptions of the nineteenth century In politics, the Progressive Era ushered in a period of social and political reform that altered the government's policy of laissez faire toward big business Reformers like Robert La Follette and Hiram Johnson helped establish new broad-based participation in politics They supported legislation that protected workers from the excesses of the previous era, that increased access for formerly disenfranchised groups to political decisionmaking, and that limited the influence of business in politics In education, writers espoused a new populist approach ; John Dewey, for example, argued for more practical, useful studies, ones directly related to the lives of children, in contrast to the elitist' school curriculum of the previous century The changing circumstances of the early years of the new century-rising numbers of new immigrants and changing educational requirements for a newly emerging middle class-forced society in general and the public schools in particular to question previous assumptions and practices Nowhere was this changing conception of the public schools more evident than in the curriculum area that today we call the social studies The metaphor which best illustrates the focus of schools in the nineteenth century was the Report of the Committee of Ten, which called for a collegeoriented, traditional high school curriculum dominated by geography and 23


ancient, classical history, designed for a limited few who could continue their education By the early years of the twentieth century, however, educators challenged that organization and emphasis, calling for a more modern curriculum that would prepare larger numbers of students, both those going on to college and those who would soon be leaving school for the work place The social studies were identified as subject matter particularly appropriate for the training of all citizens James Harvey Robinson, echoing some of Dewey's themes, stressed the social, utilitarian nature of the social studies as education for citizenship and the inculcation of democratic values He noted the need for the study of current events, rather than a long ago past In its conclusions, published in 1916, the landmark Committee on Social Studies of the Commission on Reorganization of Secondary Schools recorded the many voices calling for change in the social studies Yet the writings and rhetoric of commissions and theorists represented intellectual concerns of that era, not necessarily practice Those reports seldom reached, much less influenced, practitioners in far-flung classrooms throughout the United States In many parts of the land, social studies teachers, mired in the practices of the past, continued to teach a curriculum dominated by the elitist traditions of an earlier era Only a cataclysmic event, one which personally touched the lives of teachers and students, could radically reshape the social studies curriculum in classrooms everywhere World War One became that watershed event It accelerated trends already in motion, which transformed the social studies from a nineteenth century curriculum for a few to the modern twentieth century curriculum of our own era For researchers of the World War One period, few descriptions of classroom activities, teaching methods, or curriculum content exist Much of the raw material of classroom history disappears quickly, discarded at the end of the year or upon the retirement of a classroom teacher Local history archives, which contain some limited school records, seldom preserve documentation about classroom life Even the memories of that long ago time are now quickly slipping away, as that period's population diminishes Yet tantalyzing glimpses of the teaching of social studies during that period exist, albeit in fragmentary form, in several of the journals of the period For example, buried within the pages of one of these journals, The History Teacher's Magazine, are fascinating examples of the changes wrought by the war Letters to the editor, reports of regional meetings, advertisements, and even the regular articles, suggest that the social studies classroom during World War One underwent major and substantial changes Conclusions and generalizations about the period, however, must be advanced cautiously The letters to the editor were probably written by only the most active social studies teachers Certainly the teachers who attended 2 4


regional meetings were a minority of the teachers of that day, as they are today Thus the anecdotal material found occasionally in the pages of journals from that era fails to provide us with more than a depiction of the practice of a few, and even then only those that were the most active, rpost involved Yet the cumulative effect of such descriptions, considered together, provides at least a tentative characterization about school life during World War One While acknowledging the limitations created by the lack of information, the evidence that is available suggests that World War One transformed the social studies curriculum by encouraging and accelerating trends already appearing in the schools The war forced a shift in emphasis from ancient to modern history, as teachers struggled to explain the great war to students The daily focus of the media on the war also forced social studies teachers to teach current events, at the expense of more traditional content Finally, the war encouraged the creation of new curriculum materials, both by government and private publishers, which flooded the social studies classroom From the largest city to the smallest town, social studies teachers in World War One began to teach a modern, contemporary social studies, more like that of today than the social studies of the nineteenth century Among changes in the curriculum, none was more profound than the shift from ancient history to modern history, a focus on the present, with particular stress on current events Rolla Tryon (1921) suggested that the war was responsible for the changing emphasis Since the fall of 1914, there has been increasing stress on the teaching of current events in connection with History and English, especially History The World War, of course, was the big impelling force behind this augmented attention to present-day happenings (p 199) A brief announcement in The History Teacher's Magazine (1915) suggests that social studies professionals were certainly considering the potential impact of the war The annual meeting of the commission on the reorganization of secondary education will be held in Cincinnati, Ohio the last week of February Among other subjects, the commission will consider the following topics of interest to teachers of history and civics : "In View of the European Cataclysm, What Readjustment Should be Made in Teaching History and Civics?" (p 60) Other reports support the contention that the war forced a shift in curriculum focus As early as 1915, G Stanley Hall noted a tendency to teach specifically about the war (The History Teacher's Magazine, 1915) He conducted a survey of the schools in 109 cities in 39 states, finding that school districts in 87 cities were teaching about the war, some intensively School districts in only 22 cities did not include teaching about the war in their cur2 5


riculum In addition, he found variations among the schools which included material about the war in their curriculum ; some districts spent ten to thirty minutes a week, while twenty minutes to an hour was more common (p 67) A history teacher, writing to The History Teacher's Magazine, reported : Since the opening of school last fall, I have devoted one recitation period per week in three of my history classes, which contain upwards of seventy pupils, to a study of current history, especially the war (Letter, 1915, p 154) A faculty member at Princeton (McElroy, 1916) commented on what he viewed as a revolution in the teaching of history : It is no small revolution that has taken place in the methods of historical teaching Thousands of teachers all over the land are using current literature as the starting point and pivotal center of education "The Independent" reports that in the year 1913-1914 only sixty instructors used that periodical as a classroom help but that in this current year it is being used by 2,500 Numbers of other periodicals make similar announcements (p 87) Some research conducted during this period also found a shifting focus Geriod Robinson, a professor at Stanford, conducted a survey of 83 high schools in California with enrollments in excess of 100 students (1917) He noted that ancient and medieval history were rapidly disappearing, and that modern history, with an emphasis on economic and social history, was becoming more pronounced He noted shifts away from the Committee of Seven's recommendations and cited several comments by teachers that justified their new focus : The new system gives the student more knowledge of the affairs of Europe today ; he is able to read comprehendingly in magazines and newspapers . . Our students want what seems vital and present They do not care so much what happened a thousand years ago (p 87) The war also renewed interest in geography, particularly European geography Newspapers and magazines often reproduced maps of the European conflict ; the entry of the United States into the war heightened that already awakening curiosity in the lands of Europe President Woodrow Wilson encouraged a focus on contemporary problems In a letter to school officers in August, 1917, Wilson commented : The war is bringing to the minds of our people . a new appreciation of the problems of national life . . These and other lessons of the war must be learned quickly if we are to intelligently and successfully defend our institutions . . I urge that teachers and other school officers increase materially the time and attention devoted to instruction bear2 6


ing directly on the problems of community and national life (Open letter, 1917, p 674) Other, more subtle forces also exerted pressure on teachers to focus their teaching on present events On several occasions, teachers were urged to collect local materials on the war for permanent storage by local historical societies and for use in teaching about the war and contemporary culture A full page advertisement in The History Teacher's Magazine in 1917 encouraged teachers to maintain a journal and scrapbook of the war years, and to collect posters, pictures, and circulars, the so-called fugitive material, for the local historical society (p 175) The History Teacher's Magazine also noted other positive aspects of the emerging emphasis on current events For example, one writer was of the opinion that "the present generation has learned more geography in the last three and a half years than in all the decades before" (Lingelbach, 1918, p 218) Clearly, the war focused attention on geography In 1914 there were few if any advertisements for teaching aids in the pages of The History Teacher's Magazine By 1918, large, full-page advertisements described new classroom maps, globes, and geographic teaching aids of all kinds Even course offerings began to change under the onslaught of attention to recent events New York City Schools, for example, proposed introducing a new course for all grades 1-12, entitled "What Every American School Pupil Should Know About The War ." The course was apparently created by the superintendent after a test of twenty "simple questions" given to high school students resulted in a 46 percent failure rate (The History Teacher's Magazine, 1918, p 356) While many commentators noted the changing emphasis in the social studies classroom, not all attributed the shift to the world war David Snedden, State Commissioner of Education in Massachusetts, described a shift from traditional historical study to a study of democracy, with concern about citizenship (1914) Snedden, however, ascribed the shift to forces that had begun before the war He suggested, for example, that one factor which forced a shift in curriculum was the enormous increase in Ithe number of students in the high school grades By 1914, over a million students of all educational abilities were enrolled in high schools ; almost one third were expected to complete a four year course of study : No longer do secondary school pupils come from a limited area of society, or represent a few well-defined needs with reference to their future vocational needs The public high school of today may be regarded in many ways as the most important single agency we have for the training of citizens (p 277) Snedden (1914) went on to suggest that more was involved than just citizenship training Educators in the immediate prewar period also had 2 7


subjected all parts of the school curriculum to a careful examination of their social utility, a reflection of the prewar philosophy that suggested that all forms of social activity should be purposeful and efficient Indeed, he claimed that Americans had become critical of any education based solely on tradition The Report of the Committee on Social Studies echoed this theme of social utilitarianism and relativity In the first part of the report, under Aims of the Social Studies, the Committee made its position clear : The social studies differ from other studies by reason of their social content rather than in social aim ; for the keynote of modern education is "social efficiency," and instruction in all subjects should contribute to this end Yet, from the nature of their content, the social studies afford peculiar opportunities for the training of the individual as a member of society (Report of the Committee, 1917, p 4) Thus the war underscored a trend already in existence, one which used the study of history, political science, geography, and other social sciences to help create good citizens The emphasis on citizenship, as Snedden (1914) suggested, was in large part perhaps a response to the large influx of students, particularly foreign-born or children of foreign-born, who entered school in the early years of the twentieth century However, the war impressed upon educators, as never before, the need to inculcate into the general citizenry a firm allegiance to country and the development of democratic versus nondemocratic values Even the Report of the Committee on Social Studies, published in The History Teacher's Magazine in the first month of 1917, noted the need for the social studies to develop a nationalistic spirit : The first step, however, toward a true "neighborliness" among nations must be a realization of national ideals, national efficiency, national loyalty, national self-respect (p 4) A professor at Tufts College, Arthur Andrews, also noted the tendency to focus on contemporary events before the start of the war (1918) "A wave of interest in recent events was noticeable even before the Great War developed in a way to involve America more and more in European affairs ." That awakening interest in contemporary events set the stage for the rapid shift during the war "The way was thus cleared for the on rush of the unprecedented interest in current events which was to materialize after July, 1914" (p 144) He noted that some had even suggested substituting a study of current events for historical study The war also produced changes in the number and variety of materials available to teachers War supplements, tracts by patriotic societies, and government documents became readily available Rather than relying solely 2 8


on the textbook, teachers could employ a large variety of printed matter in their teaching, particularly their teaching of contemporary events One of the most prominent features of The History Teacher's Magazine during the war years was the publication of selected bibliographies on the war In the early period, the bibliographies described the history of Europe for the past twenty-five years ; later attention turned to bibliographies on the actual events of the war, or American involvement in the war The government played a large and significant role in the production and distribution of curriculum materials for use in public school classrooms Much of the impetus for this came from two sources : the inability of the textbook manufacturers to respond to the teaching of current events ; and the desire of the government to inculcate into the citizenry a correct point of view, particularly concerning American involvement in the war Wilson foreshadowed the government's involvement in the production of curriculum materials in his letter to educators in 1917 : In order that there may be definite material at hand with which the schools may at once expand their teachings, I have asked Mr Hoover and Commissioner Claxton to organize the proper agencies for the preparation and distribution of suitable lessons for the elementary grades and for high school classes (Open letter, 1917, p 674) Among the government agencies producing and distributing information about the war, one of the more prolific was the Committee on Public Information One of its sub-divisions, the Division of Civic and Educational Cooperation, headed by Guy Stanton Ford, began publishing a series of pamphlets in 1917 The first issued was entitled President Wilson's War Message and the Facts Behind It A long series of titles followed that first issue (on a number of war related subjects) Apparently the publishing efforts were successful ; a small note in the December issue of The History Teacher's Magazine (1917) apologizes for the failure to respond to all the requests : A word of explanation is due the many teachers who have applied to the Board or to the Committee on Public Information for the pamphlets published by the latter Such requests have been so great (aggregating several million copies) that the Government Printing Office has been unable to keep pace with it, and the Committee on Public Information has recently made arrangements with a large printing house which will greatly increase the supply of the pamphlets (p 356) By 1918, the production of pamphlets became a flood First, the Committee on Public Information attempted to put its entire list of pamphlets in the hands of each teacher in the United States The U .S Commissioner of Education requested information from all school superintendents about the number of teachers in their districts The superintendents then distributed 2 9


the pamphlets (The History Teacher's Magazine, 1918, p 150) The Committee also produced a series of lectures on the war, accompanied by lantern slides On September 1, 1918, the Committee inaugurated a bi-weekly government journal, National School Service (The History Teacher's Magazine, 1918, p 391) A glimpse at a New England History Teacher's Association spring meeting held in 1918 illustrates the way that the Committee's work was publicized The agenda of the meeting, April 27th at Harvard University, included a description by one New England teacher of her efforts to inculcate a truer sense of democracy Her presentation was followed by an address by Samuel Harding, who spoke on "The Use and Abuse of Current Events in Teaching History ." His discussion included information about the Committee on Public Information and its efforts to provide current information for teachers At the meeting, the Committee on Methods also presented a number of charts and posters, and displayed war posters, maps, and manuscripts from a collection at Harvard (The History Teacher's Magazine, 1918, 341-342 .) Committees, groups, and societies, as well as the national government, published material which surfaced in classrooms The History Teachers' Magazine for the years 1917-1918 contained many references to published materials Among those materials were the publications of the National Board for Historical Service that worked cooperatively with the Committee on Public Information One of its more famous publications was History and the Great War : Opportunity for History Teachers The State Historical Society of Iowa began publication of a series of pamphlets on Iowa and the War The Philadelphia School Mobilization Committee distributed a series of pamphlets to teachers Columbia University began publication of a series of War Papers The National Geographic Society announced that it would produce a booklet on the flags of the nations of the world The National Security League sent resolutions to every teacher in New York City The University of North Carolina published two papers for principals and superintendents The History Teacher's Magazine began publishing war supplements Pasadena (California) High School began publishing a series of pamphlets on the war, which were subsequently distributed throughout California by the State Department of Education In short, everyone seemed to be putting out tracts on the war, on democracy, and the role of the schools in citizenship training One teacher from Brazil, Indiana, remarked : It is fair to assume that somewhere in the curriculum of every high school a place is found for the study of this, the greatest war in history The mass of literature, pamphlets, documents, magazines, newspapers, and pictures on that subject is overwhelming ; it is impossible to use all (Rice, 1918, p 21) The increasing use of visual aids also contributed to the changing nature of curriculum materials during the war period A number of articles com3 0


mented on the need to introduce lantern slides into the classroom Certainly the period was a boon to map makers While almost no map company advertisements are found in the 1914 issues of The History Teacher's Magazine, by 1918 large advertisements described all of the new maps available to teachers In June, 1918, A J Nystrom announced a move of their offices and warehouse to much larger quarters on Calumet Street in Chicago McKinley Publishing Company announced a series of outline maps of the Great War One author listed 16 companies that published maps for studying World War One Yet mapmakers were not the only ones trying to profit from the need for illustrations about the war Leslie's Weekly, a well known illustrated magazine of the day, contracted with Dr Daniel Knowlton of Newark Central High School to prepare a weekly lesson, to be used in conjunction with the pictures appearing in the magazine What then was the impact of the war on the social studies curriculum? The war encouraged two trends already found in the curriculum One trend was the shift in focus to the modern era, at the expense of more traditional curriculum arrangements A second trend was the increasing recognition of history and its sister studies as the most effective training for citizenship Additionally, the war provided for a variety and number of curriculum materials, unprecedented in the pre-war years These developments had their roots in the increasing "democratization" of the public school classroom As more and more students, some first or second generation Americans, began attending public schools, schools were forced to respond with a curriculum that did more than train students for a traditional college course of study Students needed to be enculturated, democratized, and prepared to become good citizens The war encouraged and accelerated these trends As more refugees flooded our shores, citizens demanded more efforts at teaching them American values As democratic values were challenged abroad, more efforts were made at home to ensure that children grew up believing in democracy The war aroused patriotism, and schools became the teachers of patriotic ethics As classrooms filled with students of widely ranging abilities, teachers were forced to alter instruction to meet the needs of their new students For many of these students, high school represented their last formal educational experience ; the standard college preparatory curriculum was inappropriate for these students The compelling nature of the war as an item of interest, particularly after American entry in April, 1917, made it difficult for social studies teachers to continue to teach courses and subject matter that appeared to have little relevance to the present Enormous pressures were exerted, both subtly and overtly, to teach war-related issues The flood of materials made the teaching of the war easier than the teaching of other subjects, where material was less available The social studies emerged from the First World War more like today's social studies than like the, social, studies that had preceeded the war The 3 1


prewar curriculum largely reflected the values and ideals of the nineteenth century The war, with its attention to current issues and to the development of citizenship by blurring the lines of traditional academic disciplines, accelerated efforts already set in motion by a large influx of students with vastly different academic abilities and needs The social studies that emerged from the war emerged as well from the 19th century References Andrews, A (1918) Some suggestions as to the use and abuse of current events in history classes The History Teacher's Magazine, 9, 144-147 Hall, G S (1915) Teaching the war The History Teacher's Magazine, 6, 67-70 Hill, H (1918) The war and the teaching of history The History Teacher's Magazine, 9, 218 Letter to the editor (1915) The History Teacher's Magazine, 6, 154 Lingelback, W (1918) European geography and the war The History Teacher's Magazine, (Supplement) 9, 218-220 McElroy, R M (1916) Classroom treatment of recent events in Europe and America The History Teacher's Magazine, 7, 85-88 Open letter (1917) School Review, 25, 674 Open letter (1918) The History Teacher's Magazine, 9, 341 Report of the committee on social studies (1917) The History Teacher's Magazine, 8,4-7 Rice, E (1918) The use of pictures in the study of the war The History Teacher's Magazine, 9, 21-22 Robinson, G (1917) Changing emphasis in European history in the high schools of California The History Teacher's Magazine, 8, 85-87 Snedden, D (1914) Teaching of history in secondary schools The History Tryon, R M (1921) The teaching of history in junior and senior high schools Boston : Ginn and Company 3 2 Teacher's Magazine, 5, 277-281 The History Teacher's Magazine (1915) 6, 60 The History Teacher's Magazine (1917) 8, 175, 356 The History Teacher's Magazine (1918) 9, 150, 341-342, 356, 391


Theory and Research in Social Education Winter, 1987 Volume XV Number 1, pp 33-44 € by The College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies Stories, Teaching, and the Social Studies Curriculum Dianne L Common The University of Manitoba Abstract It is argued that the proper end for social studies is understanding Stories, because of their form and substance, can provide the conditions necessary for understanding in social studies Stories are educationally worthwhile for three reasons which are classified as psychological, pedagogical, and curricular Introduction "Sing in me, Muse, and through me tell the story . ." Homer in The Odyssey One of my earliest memories is of my grandfather and his stories Time and again, my brother and I gathered around his knees, and listened intently as he spun a web of fact and fiction about his youth and his place in settling the Canadian prairies From fishing camp to railway camp, to dry land farm, by horse back, mule back, and model T Ford, we journeyed with him to meet young men and women who toiled in anguish and with exhilaration and success to build a young nation My grandfather was my first social studies teacher and a master pedagogue He also was an educational theorist because he knew how to engage my brother and me in some of the stories that constitute the history of Canada He knew how to build story upon story so that events had sequence and context ; he knew how to encourage us to enter the story, acquire the information, and render it meaningful ; he knew the ways of young minds, and taught accordingly It was through his stories that I became enthralled with a period of my nation's history, and came to make sense of some of the drama His stories enabled me then to understand a part of Canada's history They also enable me today to begin to understand something of what it is to teach social studies My thesis is that stories, because of their form and substance, provide the conditions to enable understanding The creation of the conditions for 3 3


understanding is the fundamental task of the teacher, and is, in essence, a definition of teaching Therefore, stories properly are a means for teaching Typically social studies teachers use stories primarily as sources of information, and as gimmicks to motivate students to acquire facts in a seductively painless way For most students, reading stories is clearly more fun than reading lists of facts and figures Even the authors of arithmetic texts recognize this and use stories as a context in which to house computational problems However, using stories as a source of information, or as a motivational tool, is not what I intend to consider in this essay Stories have much more instructional power Specifically, I argue that stories are a potent means for teaching for three reasons, which are psychological, pedagogical, and curricular First, I will examine the psychological justification for using stories in social education Stories, through their form, reveal the fundamental structures of the mind My point is that we think within the form of stories Because of this, we can develop a theory of learning generally and of the knowledge of social studies in particular Second, is the pedagogical justification Psychologists and pedagogues talk about the motivation of students, and about the teachable moments in motivation's wake While I am not comfortable with the psychologists' notions and their conflicting interpretations of the well-springs of human motivation, I am more at home with the notion of engagement Engagement has implicit within it the will to learn as well as the creation of external conditions for learning Stories are simply engaging We want to read good stories They engage our interests Stories, because of their form, also provide principles for designing the teaching situation These principles enable teachers to determine the order of instructional events This, in essence, is the pedagogical justification for using stories in the social studies classroom Third, is the curriculum justification To teach, a teacher must select and organize information, or curriculum content, into some sensible order Students probably will not penetrate the interrelatedness of the information and formulate understandings if content is muddled Selection and organization of content are central curriculum tasks Stories, because of their form, provide a template upon which a curriculum or a curriculum unit can be designed Before I elaborate, I will explain what a story is A Story A story is a narrative unit consisting of content and form It is through such units that first, as children, we begin to make sense of our experiences Later, as adults, it is through stories that our culture reveals to us its history, its morality, its limitations, its horizons None among us has escaped the intellectual and emotional shaping power that is wielded by stories from our past, which live in our present, and which produce our vision of the future 3 4


It is important to differentiate between story as form and story as content, and between these and a story itself The constituents of a story are its form and its content One way to make this differentiation clear is to provide an example The smallest story is the sentence The syntax of the sentence, or the ways in which the words are put together, is the form of the sentence There are in a sentence, a beginning, a middle, and an end This is its pattern Without these parts the sentence is not a sentence and, hence, does not tell a story We know that a sentence is complete when the pattern is complete The story may or may not be complex This is not the point Even a simple sentence such as this, "Jane laughs", reveals a story Knowing only part of the story, say, about the subject who is Jane, leaves us intellectually unsatisfied and wanting We have no sense of the whole ; no sense of completeness ; no understanding We have no sense of the story and thereby do not find meaning in knowing only Jane When the verb, laughs, is added, we now have formed a story The sentence tells a story There is a unity within the parts of the story because there is a unity between the words I am arguing here that the form of the story renders content or text meaningful A form enables both exploration and patterning, otherwise the content accumulated is wild and loose, beyond or perhaps preceding understanding It is the form that makes the information familiar, no matter how new, and transforms the disparate character of information into a whole, into new understanding When the form is shared, information is handled mentally in similar ways ; it is fit into recognizable patterns Because of that, it acquires a unity that is understandable The whole that is possible because of the nature of the information has identifiable boundaries that are not to be violated If all of the above is the case, then the information as new whole is deemed to have an integrity all of its own that is clearly different from any other whole We cannot live our lives free of stories We impose the story form upon our observations, measurements, and calculations, and upon our wishes, aspirations, fears, and beliefs Even physics begins with the story of the universe The religions of the world speak to their faithful through stories It is through the story form that we impose an order upon the seemingly random and never ending series of events, large and small, that compose our existence Our stories consist of actors, perhaps Jane, or myself, or tadpoles, or quasars in a situation that can be defined, say the city of Winnipeg for Jane, in my office for myself, Manitoba's LaSalle River for the tadpoles, and the edge of the Andromeda galaxy for the quasars The story of each has a definite beginning, a beginning that is imposed by the story writer, not the story actors The beginning of the story for Jane, as I write it, is in Winnipeg ; for the quasars, as I write it, in a galaxy far, far away The end of my stories, and the information or content that is included, will be as I choose them to be 3 5


The Psychological Reason : Stories and Intelligibility Teachers must have considerable understanding of how children and adolescents learn at various stages of their development There are competing theories about the nature of human learning and the instruction that is appropriate to it However, intrinsic to each theory, whether behaviorism, gestalt-field psychology, social learning theory, or developmental learning theory, is an answer to the question : How do people learn within specific conditions? A psychological theory is a description of the qualities of human nature that make learning, and its manifestation, behavior, possible in given situations, and the constraints in human nature that determine the limits of learning A pedagogical theory provides a prescription of the conditions that make learning possible Stories, via their form, enable us to understand these qualities of and constraints in human nature that make learning possible Stories embrace in their form the features of a psychological theory to guide instruction in social education We think within the form of stories and we think about their substance The substance of stories is best and most simply regarded as content Stories however are more than their content Through the shaping of content into meaningful wholes we begin to make content intelligible This shaping transforms content into the text of the story Without this shaping, content remains elusive, isolated, wild, irrelevant We can know content clearly, but we cannot make sense of its meaning, of its proper place in our minds, until it is organized in some way, is some holistic sense It is in the whole that information is secured meaningfully It is the wholes that are the mental constructs that represent our intelligence The two words that comprise the phrase mental construct are clear in and of themselves The word mental embraces that which is in and which is done by the mind I have not used the more familiar phrase psycholocial construct because psychological refers not only to the mind but also to behavior Behavior is not at issue here Rather, what is at issue is the mental state The mind is a storehouse of our thoughts and the processor that renders these thoughts It is through the mind that we come to know, and it is in the mind that resides what come to be known A construct is something that has been assembled and integrated by the mind A mental construct refers to the way the mind engages information and shapes and sorts it to its contours A fundamental mental construct is the story form Therefore, the story form is one entry point into intelligibility To put that another and more explicit way, the story form is one fundamental way in which our students bring meaning to their experiences and to the world in which they live My point is that the form of the story is fundamental to understanding Our purpose as teachers of social studies is to create the conditions to enable our students to understand the issues and theories associated with the major themes in the body of knowledge we recognize as social studies According 3 6


to Bigge (1982), most psychologists use the phrase to understand in an ambiguous way, that is, if they use it at all Most psychologists rest comfortably with the word learning However, and importantly, the word understanding has implicit within it both substance and context, while learning does not While understanding is a verb, it cannot be used independent of its object or else it loses its definitional meaning Dictionary definitions of understanding include "to apprehend the character of words or an idea" or "to grasp clearly a fact or an idea ." Its definition also embraces the notion of transcending particulars and of juxtaposing these particulars with something other than themselves, perhaps more particulars The form of a story contains within it a clue to the working of the mind, specifically a clue to how it comes to contemplate and to make sense of the world in which it finds itself and the experiences it has By focusing on understanding, we are forced to embrace considerations of both mental process and the substance of those processes A story, through both its form and content, enables considerations clearly beyond those of process Understanding what a story is enables us to craft a psychological theory, or a theory of the mind, that embraces both the structures of the mind and the constituents of those structures A story enables the development of a psychological theory composed of principles that guide the teacher's understanding not only of how learning occurs within certain constraints, but of what it consists, or its substance The Pedagogical Reason : Stories and the Engagement One of the major criticisms that many students and parents level against their teachers and the social studies curriculum is that they and it are distant, dull, and dreary Why? Because our students are not involved They are not interested They are not engaged Teachers often try all kinds of tricks to create engagement Often these tricks amount to instructional gimmicks such as flashy overheads, puzzles, twenty-question competitions, small group instruction, discussions, student presentations, models, and so on Unfortunately, teachers, in using these Sesame Street like tricks of marching and jumping letters, miss the point and confound the problem Even if students have fun playing hangman in order to identify the Fathers of Canadian Confederation or winning at the computer game of crossing Canada with the fur traders, they still tend to say in the end that social studies is a bore The games and gimmicks may work for a while, but the teachers and the students, and the social studies curriculum for that matter, lose in the end Social studies as curriculum content must be engaged willingly and enthusiastically by students Games and gimmicks are entertainment, nothing more nor less, and entertainment is not the proper business of social studies educators and students Stories, however, have the potential to engage, and to engage intimately both our cognitive and affective selves, or in other 3 7


words, our intellect and our emotions Perhaps I should let a story make this point for me-a most famous story of a King and a Jinni and a virgin, and the power of the thousand and one stories to engage It is related that there was, in ancient times, a King of the countries of India and China who was brave, just, and greatly loved His name was Shahrijar Now Shahrijar had a brother, whose name was Shahzeman, King of Samarkard Shahrijar had not seen his brother for twenty years, and so, set out to visit him At midnight of the first day, however, Shahrijar remembered that he had left some needed possessions behind in his palace He returned to his palace, and there, Shahrijar discovered his wife sleeping with a male slave On beholding this scene, Shahrijar drew his sword and slew them both King Shahrijar then journeyed to his brother's palace only to discover with much sadness and rage that Shahzeman too had been betrayed by his wife The two brothers fled the palace to discover whether a calamity such as this had befallen any other men such as they After a long journey, they came across a Jinni of gigantic stature who was broad-framed and bulky, and who possessed a treasure chest Out of the chest, the Jinni took a young woman, who was fair and as beautiful as the shining sun The Jinni was tired, and shortly, fell asleep Then, the young woman called to her the two brothers, who were hiding in a tree The brothers were greatly afraid of the Jinni, who was an efrit, one of the most powerful and cruel of the species of Jinn, a species that had been created thousands of years before Adam But she made it clear to the brothers that she had betrayed the efrit many times before, and if they did not comply with her wishes, she would waken the efrit who would put them to a cruel and nasty death And so the brothers descended from the tree and complied with her demands After some time passed, the lady produced a string of ninety-eight seal rings, and said, "The owners of these rings, as you, have been admitted to converse with me, unknown to this foolish sleeping efrit ." And to her string she added the rings of the two brothers as she said, "This genie carried me off on my wedding night, put me in a box, placed the box in a chest, affixed to the chest seven locks, and imprisoned me beneath the roaring waves at the bottom of the sea But as you can see when a woman desires to accomplish something, nothing can prevent her ." The astonished and terrified brothers fled to their palaces Shahrijar, believing that no woman could be trusted, for even a powerful efrit can be betrayed, took each night a virgin to his bed, and before each dawn, killed her By the end of three years, the people had fled the city with their daughters and it appeared as if there remained not one virgin for the King But Shahrijar was not to be thwarted He turned to his Wezir, who was his administrative assistant, and demanded that he produce a virgin The Wezir's life clearly was in jeopardy if he could not find such a woman 3 8


Now the Wezir had two virtuous daughters, the elder of whom was named Shahrazad To save her father's life, Shahrazad cried to him, "By Allah, Oh, my father, give me to the King Either I shall die or I shall live and be the cause of my deliverance ." So Shahrazad went to Shahrijar But as the day came to an end, she said to him "Oh my King, let me relate to you a story to beguile the waking hour of our night ." The King, hearing these words, and being restless, was pleased with the idea of listening to the story, and thus, on the first night of the thousand and one Shahrazad commenced her recitations Before each dawn she told her King an unfinished story, whose ending the King yearned to learn, and hence had to let Shahrazad live but another night And so began Shahrazad's tale of one thousand and one stories that were the source of her deliverance from the King's terrible, terrible wrath The lesson we must take from this story is obvious Stories have the power to fascinate the intellect and tantalize the emotions Stories place the information that students must acquire in social studies into a context That context is the form and the content of a story Specifically, the information is placed within a web of plot, situation, setting, and character, and it is this web that creates narrative unity Let us think of the curriculum content of the social studies as real toads-those particulars of the world and those concepts that render those particulars meaningful Let us think of the story context as a garden in which the real toads live (Moore, 1935) The delights of the garden are created, as Greene (1970) put it, when the imagination goes to work on the particulars It is the garden that orders the particulars and places them into a context It is the garden, through its power to arouse, tug, and tease the imagination, that engages first It is within the tangles and fascinations of the garden that the students transcend the distance and singularity of particular information and concepts to render them meaningful and significant As the garden is entered, the engagement begins For example, Massie's (1981) story of the great Russian Czar, Peter the Great, is full of real toads, men and women, battles and insurrections, victories and defeats, that are not displayed as disparate particulars of Russian history, but are nurtured within a rich garden of literary context of plot, situation, setting, and character The text of the story is important clearly because it contains a vast array of information Yet, it has power and significance because the information is organized by and seen through an imaginary literary garden or context that captivates and enthralls the students As readers grow up with Peter, share his terrors, feel his demons, rejoice in his victories, lament his betrayals and defeats, they become emotionally a part of these events This may happen suddenly or gradually It is only at this point, when people Arid events are rendered understandable, can we say that the experience of reading the story becomes integral to our understanding of their world and their experiences in it 3 9


A story means nothing except as it is experienced A story about Peter the Great or about children in another part of the world has the potential to teach because of the possibilities in the particulars that compose it A story is a self-sufficient entity, complete unto itself Once it is experienced, only then may understanding happen The objective of a story in Social Studies is to lead students from the narrative about someone else in another context back to themselves-to reflect upon what they have read and to refine, challenge, and overthrow their images of their worlds For example in The Resurrection of Douglas Llewen, written for senior grade level students about the industrial revolution in Great Britain, high school students are thrust into the social climate of the time in a sudden, forceful way The story begins : It was a hard prison that held Douglas Llewen for thirteen years Every day he had been roused at dawn, whipped from the dank, fetid atmosphere of the dormitory Every day he breakfasted on mouldy bread and a thin, watery gruel Six days of every week for thirteen years he had run from the spinning-jenny to the weaving floor, lugging reels of spun cotton almost his own weight And every Sunday his minister had praised the men who had given him his glorious opportunity to work (Common & Boxer, 1976) Students wander with Douglas Llewen, after his indenture is over, through the streets of Liverpool Douglas is lost, angry, spiteful, seeking revenge upon a society that treated him so terribly The students share Douglas' pain and crimes, learn with him about the consequences of a destructive environment on the beliefs and behaviors of human beings, and about the principles of community ownership and social development through the creation of cooperative communities They struggle, with Douglas Llewen, with questions about life, death, and vengeance, and, in their struggles, judge his choices, thereby making their own At the emotional level, the students' response is directed towards a young person, approximately their age, who confronts different challenges and terrors about the same problems that they are facing, the passing from adolescence into adulthood Comparisons of this sort bind the readers to the story's characters and render the plot and circumstance significant This kind of comparison frees students to search the story first, themselves second, and then third, to search the worlds in which they live To appreciate fully Douglas Llewen's quest, students must understand some of the society of industrializing Britain Otherwise Douglas' problems will simply be interpreted in terms of their own experiences and understandings, leaving them with meanings that are not altered in any way but are bolstered by additional evidence from a previous time The industrial revolution will suffer too from a distortion that will not render it intelligible as an event from history The words in this story derive part of their significance because they arouse and sustain emo4 0


tion, and they do this because of their meaning The meaning they create is the greater part of their significance to the social studies teacher The words in the story guide students to know how to feel about events and how to understand events Their feelings create the significant educational context for their understandings and, because their feelings are their own, the understandings they derive from the story also become their own The Curricular Reason-Stories and Scope and Sequence The unit is one of the most frequently used approaches to planning for teaching all school subjects Unit planning was made popular in social education by the pioneering work of Taba (1962) It remains an organizational structure through which much of the social studies curriculum in North America is planned and taught The idea of a unit is useful for curriculum developers and contains, intrinsic, sensible principles for curriculum design A unit refers to wholeness ; something that in and of itself contributes a single entity that is part of a greater whole The word unit does not connote simplicity However, it does connote that something complex has been reduced either in structure or substance, or both Implicit in this notion of reduction is the idea of the distillation of a core or centrality out of something else, with the core being of greater value because of its explanatory power A unit also has definition There are end points and a circumscribed geography Because of these characteristics, a unit can be managed intellectually Stories are narrative units Because they are units, they speak forcefully to those, who plan for teaching Stories have particular, clear beginnings and particular, clear ends It is their unity of wholeness and circumscription that distinguishes stories from other types of narratives As Egan (1986) puts it : The story does not deal with anything except the problem set up in the beginning once it is under way Everything in the story is focused on that central task . . Stories, then, have clear means of determining what should be included and excluded We recognize as bad stories those that include things that do not take the story forward (p 24) A story, to be complete, typically has a beginning, a middle, and an end The beginning sets the stage and creates the expectation It is the expectation created in the beginning that moves the listeners or readers forward and engages initially their interest The middle of the story provides the information needed to resolve complications, conflicts, or puzzles The middle part is primarily an elaboration of what was established in the beginning The middle may contain a few new twists and turns, but clearly they must be plausible extensions of the beginning Otherwise the listeners or readers will believe they have been duped and will begin to disengage themselves from the story Everyone enjoys a surprise, and surprises in the elaboration are to be expected and en4 1


joyed No one enjoys being fooled or made to play the fool, and it is foolish indeed for the story maker to play such tricks upon the listeners or readers Anything that does not contribute to moving the story along is irrelevant and should not be included The end of the story satisfies the expectation and resolves the conflict, problem, or puzzle This is the story's rhythm, and it is intrinsic to its form (Egan, 1986) Probably this is as much an emotional rhythm as it is intellectual Nonetheless, this rhythm is inviolable Once it is violated, the story falls apart While I do not argue that there are a number of exact and detailed principles of curriculum design, I propose that the designing of a curriculum should be as much as possible a sensible and understood business and can be guided by some general and worthwhile principles Surely curriculum designing is not like following a recipe or a blueprint However, it should make learning opportunities as worthwhile and as engaging as possible The characteristics of a story can be profitably used as a template for the design of a unit in the social studies Clearly any unit must have three parts ; namely a beginning, a middle, and an end Not only does this imply a principle for constituent unit parts but also a principle for unit sequence Considerations about proper sequence have always plagued curriculum designers with the bother being focused around the logical and psychological aspects of learning The logical aspects of curriculum organization most simply embrace the way in which the explanation should proceed to enable understanding Given this then, some argue that the best way of bringing about this understanding "is to concentrate on those parts of a subject which are somehow logically prior to others" (Hamlyn, 1913, p 197) However, the psychological aspects of curriculum organization embrace the ways in which people learn generally and specific contents in particular Given this, others argue that the proper way of bringing about this understanding is to concentrate on those parts of the subject that are most easily learned by the students, given their stage of intellectual development and readiness to learn I do not intend to resolve the debate between the psychological and logical dimensions of curriculum sequence, even if I could, which is doubtful Nonetheless, I suggest that the story form speaks to both dimensions of sequence and can offer some sensible clues as to how to organize a curriculum unit The customary pattern of a story is useful to organize a unit of work in social studies It is more useful when one considers the function of each part of a story to render information coherent and understandable Expectations must be established by the story teller and accepted in the story's beginning by the readers or listeners Expectations should determine the scope of the content of the story This should speak forcefully to the curriculum designer when the introduction to the unit is planned and the depth and breadth of content are considered The objectives of the unit may communicate partly 4 2


expectations, but they do not travel far down the avenue of stimulating intellectual or emotional engagement Objectives, then, are only a small part of what should properly constitute a unit's introduction No good story teller would fail to present the setting, set the scene, introduce the plot and the actors, and establish the incident, puzzle, or problem that fuels the plot to its resolution Once the introduction of a good story is crafted, it becomes readily apparent what information is necessary to the story's resolution and what would trip it up or snag it still There is a message here to curriculum designers Anything that does not follow from the introduction and its unfolding is irrelevant, no matter how interesting that anything might be A story has an end, and so should a curriculum unit A story engenders satisfaction at its end, and so should a curriculum unit The proper end of a story is a satisfied reader or listener This is the satisfaction that comes from completeness, from unity, from understanding The reader or listener may not be happy, may be disconsolate, may be angry because, say, the hero is slain or the ugly sister gets the prince Nonetheless, there is satisfaction because the ending is known and the whole is complete Satisfaction until, of course, the following story or social studies unit begins, and a new expectation is created A Coda : Stories and Beyond Understanding Through the form that they impose on the world and our experiences in it, stories enable intelligibility The integrity of the whole of the story, the unity of its parts, the limits of its explanatory power or its boundaries, and the pattern of its unfolding enable community or shared understanding At the very core of community life is shared understanding, and the essence of this core is the shared form of the story It is the story form, to my way of thinking, that makes social life possible and through which the community mind is maintained However, Barthes puts it better Narrative is simply there, like life itself, international, transhistorical, transcultural . a human universal of the basis of which transcultural messages about the nature of a shared reality can be transmitted Here no one speaks . . The events seem to tell themselves (White, 1981, p 3) It is clearly not an accident that all human cultures have used the form of the story to encase their possibilities, their desirabilities, and their actualities There is no other form that could be used The story form is the primitive form, the archetypical form Even if we do not understand the substance, whether the heros and villains are individuals of whom we have never heard, whether the setting is a place that we have never visited, or perhaps could never have existed, whether the deeds are impossible in terms of the physical laws and moral codes against which we live, we can relate to such stories, 4 3


engage in their rhythms, in their constituent parts, in their completeness, in their explanatory powers It is form that makes engagement possible and renders the text understandable As the text of a culture's stories changes, the shared stories change and the shared understandings change As the texts of a culture's stories change, the culture itself is transformed, or perhaps, if the change in the texts is dramatic enough, the culture is revolutionized Endnote I would like to thank Kieran Egan of Simon Fraser University and Bruce Sealey of The University of Manitoba for their careful reading of earlier drafts of this manuscript References Bigge, M L (1982) Learning theories for teachers New York : Harper and Row Common, D ., & Boxer, S (1976) Cooperative outlooks : Social studies Winnipeg : Departments of Cooperative Development and Education Egan, K (1986) Teaching as story telling London, Ontario : The Althouse Press Elliot, C W (Ed .) (1980) Stories from the thousand and one nights Danbury : Grolier Greene, M (1970) Real toads and imaginary gardens In A Dupuis (Ed .), Nature, aims, and policy Urbana : University of Illinois Press Hamlyn, D W (1913) The logical and psychological aspects of learning In R S Peters (Ed .), The philosophy of education Oxford : Oxford University Press Massie, R K (1981) Peter the Great New York : Ballantine Books Moore, M (1935) Selected poems New York : Macmillan Taba, H (1962) Curriculum development : Theory and practice New York : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich White, H (1981) The value of narrativity in the representation of reality In W J T Mitchell (Ed .) On narrative Chicago : University of Chicago Press 4 4


Theory and Research in Social Education Winter, 1987 Volume XV Number 1, pp 45-50 € by The College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies The Effects of Ordinary and Coordinate Concept Nonexamples on First-Grade Students' Acquisition of Three Coordinate Concepts C Warren McKinney University of Southern Mississippi Diane C Burts Louisiana State University Mary Jane Ford University of Southwestern Louisiana Allison C Gilmore Mercer University-Atlanta Abstract Prior research indicates that nonexamples facilitate the acquisition of single concepts by preventing overgeneralization errors The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of ordinary and coordinate concept nonexamples on first-grade students' acquisition of three concepts Sixty-seven subjects were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups and were taught the coordinate concepts of land, air, and water pollution Results of ANCOVA indicated that the group that received both coordinate and ordinary nonexamples scored significantly higher than the group that received only coordinate concept nonexamples A number of prior studies have examined the effect of nonexamples on concept acquisition (Carnine, 1980 ; Houtz, Moore, & Davis, 1973 ; Merrill & Tennyson, 1978 ; Tennyson, 1973 ; Tennyson, Woolley, & Merrill, 1972) Findings from these studies indicate that nonexamples prevent overgeneralization errors, which occur when the learner fails to discriminate between examples and closely related nonexamples Generally, studies that have addressed the role of nonexamples have taught single concepts However, most concepts do not exist in isolation Usually concepts exist in clusters For instance, when teaching the various 4 5


landforms, a teacher would include mountains, hills, plains, and plateaus Each of these four landforms is a concept that a teacher would want to teach, and each serves as a meaningful nonexample of the other concepts within the coordinate relationship A teacher has two options in teaching coordinate concepts The teacher may develop separate concept lessons for each concept (successive presentations) or the teacher may teach all of the concepts in one lesson (simultaneous presentation) Prior research suggests that a simultaneous presentation is more effective (Tennyson, 1980 ; Tennyson, Tennyson, & Rothen, 1980) In a simultaneous presentation, each example within the coordinate relationship serves as a meaningful nonexample of each of the remaining examples That is, a mountain is a meaningful nonexample of a hill, plain, and plateau Nonexamples of this type are called coordinate concept nonexamples There are other types of nonexamples that may be useful when learning coordinate concepts These nonexamples exist outside of the coordinate relationship In the case of the insurance concepts of hazards (conditions that could cause an accident) and perils (conditions that have caused an accident), there are instances that are neither hazards nor perils For instance, an unobstructed sidewalk on a sunny day is neither a hazard nor a peril Nonexamples that exist outside of the coordinate relationship are called ordinary nonexamples Findings from several studies indicate that coordinate concept nonexamples facilitate concept acquisition Only two studies have examined the role of ordinary nonexamples in the acquisition of coordinate concepts (Larkins, Hunnicutt, McKinney, & Slack, 1983 ; McKinney, Burts, Larkins, & Ford, 1985) Larkins et al (1983) taught the concepts of hazards and perils to a sample of 108 undergraduate students who were randomly assigned to one of four treatment groups The first treatment group received both coordinate concept nonexamples (examples of both hazards and perils) and ordinary nonexamples The second group received examples of one of the coordinate concepts, ordinary nonexamples, and a definition of the second coordinate concept (no examples of perils were presented) The third group received examples of one of the coordinate concepts and ordinary nonexamples (no definition and no examples of perils were presented) The fourth group received examples of both coordinate concepts but no ordinary nonexamples The authors concluded that subjects who received either coordinate concept nonexamples and ordinary nonexamples or coordinate concept nonexamples only made fewer errors on the posttest than those subjects who received ordinary nonexamples only A second study, conducted by McKinney, Burts, Larkins, and Ford (1985), used 106 first-grade students The coordinate concepts of land, air, and water pollution were taught Subjects were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups (coordinate concept nonexamples only or coordinate and ordinary nonexamples) Ordinary nonexamples were those conditions 4 6


where no pollution was present They reported no significant difference between the group that received only coordinate concept nonexamples and the group that received ordinary nonexamples and coordinate concept nonexamples However, they concluded that the group that received both types of nonexamples missed fewer of the ordinary nonexamples on the posttest The question investigated in this study was not whether students could recognize examples of concepts, but whether students would overgeneralize the concepts to include ordinary nonexamples Since the subjects received the same examples in both treatment groups, it was assumed that the subjects in both groups would do equally well in recognizing examples of the concepts It is not surprising that McKinney et al reported no significant difference since there were only six ordinary nonexamples in their posttest Therefore, there was little opportunity for scores to vary The purpose of the present study was to examine whether McKinney and his colleagues' findings would replicate when a majority of the test items were ordinary nonexamples It was hypothesized that subjects who received both ordinary nonexamples and coordinate concept nonexamples would score significantly higher on the posttest than subjects who received only coordinate concept nonexamples Procedures Sample The sample consisted of 67 first-grade students who were randomly assigned to one of two treatment groups The sample included 44 males and 23 females Subjects attended an elementary school located on the fringe of a medium size southern city Treatment and Lessons The topic of the lessons was land, air, and water pollution The lessons followed Merrill and Tennyson's (1977) instructional design Treatment 1 consisted of a definition of the three types of pollution The definition was followed by an expository presentation of nine examples (three rational sets) During this part of the lesson the teacher showed slides and explained whether each slide was land, air, or water pollution An interrogatory practice presentation followed the expository presentation During this part of the lesson subjects were presented with randomly ordered slides (three of each type of pollution) and were asked to explain which type of pollution was contained within the picture The teacher provided feedback Treatment 2 followed the same format as Treatment 1 In addition to the coordinate concept nonexamples, ordinary nonexamples (pictures of no pollution) were also included Three ordinary nonexamples were included with the nine examples presented in the expository presentation Three ordinary nonexamples were also added to the practice presentation Two experienced elementary teachers administered the treatments To 4 7


control for teacher effect, teachers were rotated across treatments In addition, an observer was present to verify that the treatment was followed The lessons were scripted to maintain consistency Instrumentation Following each presentation a 21-item multiple choice test was administered Subjects were asked to label each slide as one of the three types of pollution or as no pollution The test included two items of each of the three types of pollution and 15 ordinary nonexamples (no pollution) Because some of the subjects could not read, the answer sheet utilized drawings in addition to the words For instance, subjects were told to place an x on the drawing of the boat if the picture include water pollution Other drawings were used to represent land, air, and no pollution This testing procedure has been used in other studies (e .g ., McKinney et al ., 1985 ; Burts, McKinney, Ford, & Gilmore, 1985) The reliability of the test, as estimated by Cronbach's alpha was .84 Results Analysis of covariance was used to analyze the data Reading scores from the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills were used as the covariate Results of the ANCOVA indicated that the difference between the two groups was significant (F = 8 .3008, df = 1, 64, p < .006) The mean for the group that received both ordinary and coordinate nonexamples (X adi = 15 .663) was significantly larger than the mean for the group that did not receive ordinary nonexamples (X adi = 12 .77) Discussion The hypothesis, which stated that subjects who received both coordinate concept nonexamples and ordinary nonexamples would score significantly higher than those subjects who received only coordinate concept nonexamples, was not rejected The group that received both types of nonexamples scored .60 standard deviations higher than the group that received no ordinary nonexamples Two post hoc t tests were used to further analyze the data The first t test examined the number of ordinary nonexamples Table 1 Effect of Ordinary Nonexamples 4 8 Group n Covariate Mean SD Mean Adj Coordinate Nonex Only 33 64 .545 12 .667 4 .784 12 .771 Coordinate and Ordinary Nonex 34 67 .647 15 .765 3 .773 15 .663


missed by both groups The group that did not receive ordinary nonexamples missed significantly (p < .0001) more of these tests items than the group that received both types of nonexamples (Group 1 X = 8 .30, Group 2 X = 4 .09) The second post hoc t test examined the number of examples missed by the two groups The group that received coordinate concept nonexamples only missed .64 examples while the group that received both types of nonexamples missed 1 .15 examples This difference was not statistically significant These findings contradict findings reported by Larkins et al (1983) and McKinney et al (1985) The prior studies reported no significant differences between the groups taught with both ordinary and coordinate concept nonexamples and those taught with coordinate concept nonexamples only However, both of these studies were flawed Larkins et al reported that the adults in his sample could probably differentiate between ordinary nonexamples and examples of hazards and perils without instruction McKinney et al reported that there were probably too few ordinary nonexamples on his posttest for scores to vary However, McKinney et al reported that subjects who were taught with ordinary nonexamples missed fewer of the ordinary nonexample test items, though that finding was statistically nonsignificant The present study indicates that ordinary nonexamples facilitate concept acquisition Students who do not receive ordinary nonexamples in learning coordinate concepts appear to overgeneralize the concepts to include related nonexamples References Burts, D C ., McKinney, C W ., Ford, M J ., & Gilmore, A C (1985) The effects of the presentation order of examples and nonexamples on first-grade students' acquisition of coordinate concepts Journal of Educational Research, 78, 310-314 Carnine, D (1980) Relationship between stimulus variation and the formation of misconceptions Journal of Educational Research, 74, 106-110 Houtz, J C ., Moore, J W ., & Davis, J K (1973) Effects of different types of positive and negative instances in learning "nondimensioned" concepts Journal of Educational Psychology, 64, 206-211 Larkins, A G ., Hunnicutt, R C ., McKinney, C W ., & Slack, J P (1983, January) Effects of coordinate concept nonexamples on concept learning Paper presented at the meeting of the Southwest Educational Research Association, Houston, TX Merrill, M D ., & Tennyson, R D (1977) Teaching concepts : An instructional design guide Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Educational Technology Publications Merrill, M D ., & Tennyson, R D (1978) Concept classification and classification 4 9


errors as a function of relationships between examples and nonexamples Improving Human Performance Quarterly, 7, 351-354 McKinney, C W ., Burts, D C ., Larkins, A G ., & Ford, M J (1985, January) Effects of coordinate concept nonexamples on first-grade students' acquisition of coordinate concepts Paper presented at the meeting of the Southwest Educational Research Association, Austin, TX Tennyson, R D (1973) Effect of negative instances in concept acquisition using a verbal-learning task Journal of Educational Psychology, 64, 247-260 Tennyson, R D (1980) Instructional control strategies and content structure as design variables in concept acquisition using computer-based instruction Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 525-532 Tennyson, C L ., Tennyson, R D ., & Rothen, W (1980) Content structure and instructional control strategies as design variables in concept acquisition Journal of Educational Psychology, 72, 499-505 Tennyson, R D ., Woolley, F R ., & Merrill, M D (1972) Exemplar and nonexemplar variables which produce correct concept classification behavior and specified classification errors Journal of Educational Psychology, 63, 144-152 5 0


Theory and Research in Social Education Winter, 1987 Volume XV Number 1, pp 51-59 € by The College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies Attitudes Toward and Perceived Use of Textbook Reading Strategies Among Junior and Senior High School Social Studies Teachers Yvonne Tixier y Vigil James Dick University of Nebraska at Omaha Abstract The need to incorporate the teaching of reading into content areas is widely recognized, but there is only a limited understanding of the degree to which this has occurred in social studies classrooms The endorsement and use of selected reading strategies by social studies teachers was measured with a Likert scale questionnaire The sample included 67 social studies teachers and 170 teachers in other areas Comparisons and contrasts between junior and senior high school social studies teachers, and between social studies teachers and English, mathematics, and science teachers are reported Introduction The need to incorporate reading skills into the social studies curriculum is recognized by many social studies educators (Lunstrum, 1976 ; Sochor, 1953) This recognition is, in part, based on the number of social science concepts and the technical vocabulary found in social studies textbooks and curriculum materials (Nowell, 1963 ; Peters, 1976 ; Robinson, 1978 ; Rowell, 1978) and on the fact that many .textbooks are written at a higher level than the grade for which they are intended (Ames & Bradley, 1981 ; Janz & Smith, 1972 ; Johnson & Vardian, 1973) This recognition is also based on the reading skills students need to understand their textbooks Reading specialists recommend that subject area teachers use directed reading lessons or activities (DRA) to accomplish these goals (Vecca & Vecca, 1986 ; Herber, 1978 ; Burmeister, 1978) The DRA consists of teaching strategies to be used before, during, and after reading assignments Many social studies educators also recommend the use of these strategies (Hash & Bailey, 1978 ; Lunstrum & Irvin, 1981 ; Mahoney, 1977 ; Schneider & McGee5 1


Brown, 1980) In a review of research in reading and social studies, Wade (1983) concluded that by providing reading and study skills instruction, student achievement scores in reading and social studies could be increased However, there are questions about whether social studies teachers are aware of these strategies and about whether they use them in their classroom Teachers' attitudes toward and limited knowledge of directed reading activities have been suggested as reasons why social studies and other subject area teachers are reluctant to teach reading in the classrooms, however, research is minimal and inconclusive Studies suggest that variation in attitudes and knowledge exist among teachers within subject areas and between teachers across subject areas Several studies concluded that many teachers believe that they are not qualified to teach reading (Jackson, 1979 ; Lipton & Liss, 1978 ; Olson, 1970 ; Uskov, 1979) In addition, teachers' inability to identify specific reading skills for their subject area and contradictions between what teachers say and do regarding reading have been identified as reasons why teachers are not inclined to teach reading in their disciplines (Braam & Walker, 1979 ; Olson, 1970) Because of the need to teach textbook reading strategies and because of the inconsistencies found in existing research, it is important to continue to examine teacher attitudes toward directed reading activities It is equally important to find out whether teachers perceive themselves as using these strategies in the classroom The purpose of this study is to examine discrepencies between the endorsement of specific teaching strategies versus their perceived classroom use We posed the following questions : 1 Do social studies teachers believe that reading strategies are important? 2 Do social studies teachers perceive themselves using reading strategies in the classroom? 3 Are there discrepancies in attitudes toward and perceived use of reading strategies for junior versus senior high social studies teachers? 4 Do social studies teachers differ in their attitudes toward and perceived use of the reading strategies when compared to English, math, and science teachers? Method Subjects Surveys were sent to teachers in randomly selected metropolitan school districts in a midwestern state A total of 344 questionnaires were distributed to English, math, social studies, science, vocational education, and reading teachers ; 307 were returned (89%) However, only data gathered from teachers in social studies (n = 67), English (n = 70), math (n = 51), and science (n = 49) were analyzed in this report For the purpose 5 2


of this paper, social studies teachers included teachers at the junior high level who taught specific courses ; such as, history or geography, or taught in a core program but identified themselves as social studies teachers Senior high social studies teachers taught history, psychology, sociology, geography, anthropology, government, and/or economics Instrument and Procedure Two forms of a 35 item Likert scale questionnaire were developed for use in this study Form A assessed perceived practice of teaching textbook reading strategies, and Form B assessed teacher attitudes toward the desirability of these strategies Only items categorized as appropriate pre-, during and postreading strategies by a panel of seven reading and social studies professors were used in the questionnaire and were the basis for this study Attitude was determined by the extent to which the respondents rated the statement as most important (5) to unimportant (1) Perceived practice was determined by the extent to which respondents rated their behavior in the classroom as most like me (5) or most unlike me (1) To help to insure against response bias, selected items were stated in negative form The reliability and validity of the initial instrument were examined in a pilot study with 94 students enrolled in graduate education classes Item test-retest reliabilities ranged from .09 to .78 with 70 percent being .30 to .59 Items with test-retest reliabilities below .30 were eliminated from the final questionnaire Internal consistency for one administration of the instrument was .88 using split-half reliability and the Spearman-Brown correction formula Questionnaires were distributed to all teachers in each school selected for the study One-half of the teachers in each discipline received the perceived practice questionnaire (Form A) while the other half received the attitude questionnaire (Form B) Data collected from junior high and senior high social studies teachers provided for contrast and comparison analysis of attitudes toward and perceived use of reading strategies in the classroom Results Differences Between Attitude vs Perceived Use Social studies teachers endorse reading strategies in the content area They rated the strategies as either moderately important or important ; none were rated unimportant Social studies teachers reported they seldom use eight of the reading strategies even though they rated all of them at least moderately important or important Eleven strategies were moderately used and five strategies were frequently used according to the teachers' reports The most used strategies were in the during reading category 5 3


Table 1 Secondary Social Studies Teachers' Attitudes Toward Reading Strategies *Items placed in the three categories (unimportant, moderately important, and important) had upper mean limits of 3 .00, 4 .00, and 5 .00 respectively **Means and standard deviations are based on all items within each of the four categories (unimportant, moderate, and important) Differences Between Grades One-way ANOVAS were used to compare teachers' perceived use and attitudes toward reading activities across grades, Tukey's HSD test was used to compare pairs of means The only major differences between junior high and senior high teachers were found in the during reading strategies For junior high school teachers, the desirability of allowing reading time in class was rated higher than was their self report of whether they allowed reading time Senior high teachers rated the desirability of providing reading guides higher than their self report of whether they provide guides On only four items in the during reading area did teachers rate use higher than desirability of strategy This occurred on three items for junior high 5 4 Unimportant* Mean* SD None Moderately Important Use structured overview, Use simulation, Identify text organization, Skim chapter, Discuss reading rate, Provide Reading Guides, Allow reading in class, Take written notes on text, Use SQ3R, Have students keep vocabulary notebook, Provide textbook study questions, Class discussion of reading guides, Provide vocabulary games 3 .7 1 .08 Important Evaluate vocabulary, Identify Purpose for reading, Assess book parts, Discuss key terms, Preview chapter headings/ subheadings, Preview graphs, charts, etc ., Have students summarize text information, Provide teacher questions, Teach study skills, Conduct structured overview, Discuss key terms 4 .2 .87 Grand Mean 3 .93


Table 2 Secondary Social Studies Teachers' Perceived Use of Reading Strategies Not used* t Mean" t SD Pre discussion of key terms, Preview chapter heading/subheadings, Identify purpose for reading, Discuss reading rate, Have Students summarize text information, Allow reading in class, Class discussion of reading guides, Post discussion of key terms t 2 .13 t 1 .17 Moderately Used Evaluate vocabulary, Identify Purpose for reading, Pre structured overview, Use simulation games, Identify text organization, Skim chapter, Provide reading guides, Assess book parts, Preview graphs, charts, etc ., Provide teacher questions, Keep vocabulary notebook, Post structured overview t 3 .56 t 1 .12 Frequently Used Take written notes on text, Use SQ3R, Teach study skills, Provide textbook study questions, Provide vocabulary games t 4 .33 t .64 Grand Mean t 3 .24 *Items placed in the three categories (not used, moderately used, and frequently used) had upper mean limits of 3 .00, 4 .00, and 5 .00 respectively **Means and standard deviations are based on all items within each of the three categories (seldom, moderate, frequent) teachers : taking written notes on text, teaching study skills, and providing textbook study questions On one strategy, use of SQ3R (Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review) senior high teachers rated use higher than desirability Differences Between Disciplines One-way ANOVAS were initially used to compare teachers' perceived use and attitudes toward reading activities across subject areas Tukey's HSD test was then applied to the significant ANOVAS to determine whether responses by social studies teachers differed significantly from responses by other subject area teachers on one or more items A major finding was that social studies teachers did not differ from 5 5


Table 3 Attitude Toward and Perceived Use of Textbook Reading Strategies for Junior High Versus Senior High Social Studies Teachers' 5 6 English teachers in their attitudes toward or perceived use of reading strategies They differed from math and science teachers on various items on both forms of the questionnaire Table 4 identifies areas in which responses by social studies teachers differed significantly from responses by science and math teachers Junior Attitude > Use Senior Attitude > Use PRE-READING STRATEGIES Evaluate Vocabulary Use Structured Overview Use Simulation/Role Play Identify Purpose for Reading t 4 .74> 3 .55 4 .57 > 2 .30 Assess Book Parts Identify Text Organization Skim Chapter Discuss Key Terms t 4 .26 > 1 .25 4 .29 > 1 .80 Preview Chapter Headings & Subheadings t 4 .13>2 .71 4 .07 > 1 .60 Discuss Reading Rate Preview Graphs, Charts, Tables DURING READING STRATEGIES Provide Reading Guides t 4 .00> 2 .80 Summarize Text Information t 4 .39> 1 .40 3 .93 > 1 .60 Allow Reading in Class t 4 .34> 1 .80 Take Written Notes on Text t 3 .87< 4 .65 Provide Teacher Questions Use SQ3R t 3 .28< 4 .11 Students Keep Vocabulary Notebooks Provide Textbook Study Questions t 4 .50> 3 .78 Teach Study Skills t 4 .45 > 3 .82 POST READING STRATEGIES Class Discussion of Reading Guides t 3 .80> 1 .79 3 .36> 1 .80 Provide Vocabulary Games Structured Review/Overviews t 4 .04> 3 .45 4 .00> 2 .70 Discuss Key Terms t 4 .39> 2 .30 4 .36 > 1 .80 *Significant at the .05 level


Table 4 Items on Which the Responses of Social Studies Teachers Differed Significantly From The Response of Math and Science Teachers Conclusions and Recommendations It is recognized that a questionnaire cannot provide a complete understanding of teacher attitudes or, especially, classroom practices Nevertheless, data in this study indicate that social studies teachers appear to have positive attitudes toward reading strategies identified in the literature If the scale responses are taken at face value, teacher attitudes are clearly positive As noted in Table 1, on a five-point scale, with 5 .0 as the most positive attitude, the overall mean was nearly 4 .0 It is also interesting that both junior high and senior teachers rated their attitudes toward those strategies as higher than their perceived use It should be stressed that the differences between mean ratings for attitude and mean ratings for use are not trivial Differences between attitude and use for several items in Table 3 are striking If scale responses are taken at face value, teachers frequently fail to implement strategies they believe are important A third interesting finding is that social studies teachers report using reading strategies more often than science and math teachers In the case of math versus social studies, differences in reported use may be due to ob5 7 Social Studies Math Science FORM A ATTITUDE Identifies Text Organ *3 .93 2 .66 *2 .58 Provide Teacher Questions *4 .20 *3 .08 3 .25 Teach Study Skills *4 .46 *2 .91 3 .50 Pre & Post Vocabulary Strategies *4 .07 3 .66 *2 .83 FORM B USE Provide Reading Guides *3 .47 *2 .07 2 .41 Simulation Games *4 .00 *2 .60 3 .35 Structured Overviews *4 .46 3 .61 2 .81 Identify Purpose for Reading *3 .55 *2 .27 2 .64 Identify Chapter Organization *3 .75 *2 .12 Provide Teacher Questions *4 .25 *2 .75 3 .28 Use SQ3R *4 .00 3 .50 2 .12 Check Readability *4 .25 *3 .00 4 .00 Use Textbook Study Questions *4 .50 *2 .81 4 .50 Use CLOZE Procedure *3 .75 *2 .46 3 .35 Preview Graphs, Charts, Tables *3 .90 *2 .46 3 .78 *Significant at the .05 level


vious differences in subject matter, which may dictate different instructional methods That explanation is less convincing for the differences between social studies and science There is a continuing need to maintain positive attitudes toward the teaching of reading in all content areas There is the additional need to acquaint teachers with the varied strategies that foster efficient reading and comprehension of textbooks While social studies teachers, as a group, have positive attitudes toward many of the suggested reading strategies, there is a need for the developers of inservice programs, and the instructors of university courses to provide numerous suggestions of a greater variety of reading strategies that students can use before and after reading textbooks Examining attitude and perceived teaching behavior among teachers is only one step toward improving the teaching of reading at the secondary level More research is needed to determine what reading skills teachers actually use in their classroom and which ones they actually know There is also a need to determine the degree to which teachers view their teaching areas as exclusively content-based with little room for skills development, including reading It would be hypothesized the more teachers emphasize content, the less likely they are to teach skills In addition to examining teaching practices, there is a need to evaluate textbooks according to how well the books facilitate the teaching of reading It would be helpful to compare junior high and senior high social studies textbooks to see if the textbooks at both levels are designed to facilitate the use of the reading strategies included in this study Endnote 1 The authors would like to acknowledge the assistance of Katherine Kasten in planning this study References Ames, W S ., & Bradley, J M (1981) An in-depth study of the readability of a social studies textbook The Social Studies, 72, 77-81 Braam, L ., & Walker, J E (1979) Subject area teachers awareness of reading skills Journal of Reading, 8, 608-611 Burmeister, L E (1978) Reading strategies for middle and secondary school teachers Reading, MA : Addison-Wesley Hash, R J ., & Bailey, M B (1978) A classroom strategy for improving social studies comprehension Social Education, 42, 24-26 Herber, H L (1978) Teaching reading in content areas Englewood Cliffs, NJ : Prentice Hall Jackson, J E (1979) Reading in secondary schools Journal of Reading, 23, 229-232 5 8


Janz, M L ., & Smith, E (1972) The students' reading ability and the readability of secondary school subjects Elementary Education, 49, 622-624 Johnson, R ., & Vardian, E G (1973) Reading, readability and social studies The Reading Teacher, 26, 483-488 Lipton, J P ., & Liss, J A (1978) Attitudes of content area teachers Reading Improvement, 15, 294-300 Lundstrom, J P (1976) Reading in the social studies : A preliminary analysis of recent research Social Education, 40, 10-18 Lundstrom, J P ., & Irvin, J L (1981) Integrating of basic skills into social studies content Social Education, 45, 169-177 Mahony, J E (1977) Improving reading in the social studies Washington, D C : National Council for the Social Studies Nowell, L (1963) Developing concepts in the social studies Reading Teacher, 10, 10-15 Olson, A V (1970) Attitudes of high school content area teachers toward the teaching of reading In A A Olson & W S Ames (Eds .), Teaching reading skills in secondary schools Philadelphia : International Book Company Peters, C W (1976) The effects of systematic restructuring of material upon the comprehension process Reading Research Quarterly, 11, 87-111 Robinson, S L (1978) Content area textbooks-waste not Reading Horizons, 19, 23-28 Rowell, C G (1978) Vocabulary development in the social studies Social Education, 44, 10-15 Schneider, D 0 ., & McGee-Brown, M J (1980) Helping students study and comprehend their social studies textbooks Social Education, 44, 105-112 Socher, E (1953) Special reading skills are needed in social studies, science, and arithmetic Reading Improvement, 6, 4-11 Uskov, G M (1979) Comparing attitudes toward reading instruction among secondary principals, reading specialists, and content-area teachers Reading Improvement, 16, 162-174 Vecca, R ., & Veca, J A (1986) Content area reading Boston : Littlie Brown Wade, S E (1983) A synthesis of research for improving reading in the social studies Review of Educational Research, 53, 461-497 5 9


Journal Information Theory and Research in Social Education is designed to stimulate and communicate systematic research and thinking in social education The purpose is to foster the creation and exchange of ideas and research findings that will expand knowledge about purposes, conditions, and effects of schooling and education about society and social relations We welcome manuscripts on a variety of topics including : Purposes of social education ; Models, theories, and related frameworks concerning the development, diffusion, and adoption of curricular materials ; Instructional strategies ; The relation of the social sciences, philosophy, history and/or the arts to social education ; The politics, economics, sociology, social psychology, psychology, anthropology, philosophy, and/or the history of social education ; Alternative social organizations and utilizations of the school for social education ; Comparative studies of alternative models of social education ; Models of and research on alternative schemas for student participation and social action ; Relationship of different preand in-service patterns of teacher training to social education ; Models of the utilization of objectives in social education and related research findings ; Implications of learning theory, child development research, socialization and political socialization research for the purposes and practice of social education ; The relationship of different independent, explanatory variables to educational achievements in the area of learning about society and social relations ; The social climate and cohesion of schools and other school characteristics as independent, explanatory variables predicting general achievement 60


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