Reflecting on elementary children's understanding of history and social studies: An inquiry project with beginning teachers in Northern Ireland and the United States.

Alan McCully, K.C. Barton, M.J. Marks

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    beginning teachers in Northern ireland and the United states conducted structured inquiry projects in which they investigated elementary children's understanding of history and social studies. Interviews with the teachers and analysis of their written assignments indicate that these investigations challenged their beliefs about children's prior knowledge and their own instructional techniques. Teachers intially believed that inadequate cogniative development and lack of background knowledge limited children's ability to understand history and social studies; however, after taking part in these projects, they developed a new appreciation for childrens' prior ideas and a clearer commitment to their own role in building on that knowledge. These findings suggest that structured investigations, focused on specific disciplinary content, have the potential to encourage beginning teachers' reflection on their students' cognition and to enhance their own sense of professional responsibility.
    LanguageEnglish
    Pages70-90
    JournalJournal of Teacher Education
    Volume55
    Issue number55
    Publication statusPublished - 2004

    Fingerprint

    social studies
    teacher
    history
    cognition
    commitment
    responsibility
    lack
    ability
    interview
    knowledge
    student

    Keywords

    • History
    • Social Studies
    • teacher preparation
    • teacher reflection
    • action research

    Cite this

    @article{8039172da69045de867f2f203f496cf2,
    title = "Reflecting on elementary children's understanding of history and social studies: An inquiry project with beginning teachers in Northern Ireland and the United States.",
    abstract = "beginning teachers in Northern ireland and the United states conducted structured inquiry projects in which they investigated elementary children's understanding of history and social studies. Interviews with the teachers and analysis of their written assignments indicate that these investigations challenged their beliefs about children's prior knowledge and their own instructional techniques. Teachers intially believed that inadequate cogniative development and lack of background knowledge limited children's ability to understand history and social studies; however, after taking part in these projects, they developed a new appreciation for childrens' prior ideas and a clearer commitment to their own role in building on that knowledge. These findings suggest that structured investigations, focused on specific disciplinary content, have the potential to encourage beginning teachers' reflection on their students' cognition and to enhance their own sense of professional responsibility.",
    keywords = "History, Social Studies, teacher preparation, teacher reflection, action research",
    author = "Alan McCully and K.C. Barton and M.J. Marks",
    note = "Reference text: Ball, D. L., & Cohen, D. K. (1999). Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward a practice-based theory of professional education. In L. Darling-Hammond and G. Sykes (Eds.), Teaching as the learning profession: Handbook of policy and practice (pp. 3-32). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Barton, K. C., and Levstik, L. S. (1996). “Back when God was around and everything”: The development of elementary children’s understanding of historical time. American Educational Research Journal, 33, 419-454. Berti, A. E., & Bombi, A. S. (1988). The child’s construction of economics. New York: Cambridge University Press. Bohan, C., & Davis, Jr., O. L. (1998). Historical constructions: How social studies student teachers’ historical thinking is reflected in their writing of history. Theory and Research in Social Education, 26, 173–197. Borko, H., & Putnam, R. T. (1995). Expanding a teacher’s knowledge base: A cognitive psychological perspective on professional development. In T. R. Guskey & M. Huberman (Eds.), Professional Development in Education: New Paradigms and Practices (pp. 35-65). New York: Teachers College Press. Borko, H., & Putnam, R. T. (1996). Learning to teach. In D. C. Berliner and R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 673-708). New York: Macmillan. Brophy, J., and VanSledright, B. (1997). Teaching and learning history in elementary schools. New York: Teachers College Press. Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (1993). Inside/outside: Teacher research and knowledge. New York: Teachers College Press. Crawford, K. (1998). The teaching and learning of primary history. Teaching History, 90, 33-37. Darling–Hammond, L., & McLaughlin, M. W. (1996). Policies that support professional development in an era of reform. In M. W. McLaughlin and I. Oberman (Eds.), Teacher learning: New policies, new practices (pp. 202–218). New York: Teachers College Press. Easton, D. & Dennis, J. (1969). Children in the political system: Origins of political legitimation. New York: McGraw Hill. Elliott, J. (1991). Action research for educational change. Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press. Elliott, J., MacLure, M., & Sarland, C. (1997). Teachers as researchers in the context of award bearing courses and research degrees. Economic and Research Council Report. Norwich, England: University of East Anglia. Evans, R. W. (1990). Teacher conceptions of history revisited: Ideology, curriculum, and student belief. Theory and Research in Social Education, 18, 101–38. Falk, B., and Ort, S. (1998). Sitting down to score: Teacher learning through assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80, 59–64. Fickel, L. H. (2000). Democracy is messy: Exploring the personal theories of a high school social studies teacher. Theory and Research in Social Education, 28, 359-389. Furth, H. G. (1980). The world of grown–ups: Children’s conceptions of society. New York: Elsevier. Genishi, C., & Dyson, D. H. (1984). Language assessment in the early years. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Goddard, G. (1993). The role of the LEA in induction. British Journal of In-service Education, 19, 46-54. Goodman, K. S. (1973). Miscues: Windows on the reading process. IN K. S. Goodman (Ed.), Miscue analysis: Applications to reading instruction (pp. 3–14). Urbana, IL: Eric Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills. Goswami, D., & Stillman, P. (1987). Reclaiming the classroom: Teacher research as an agency for change. Upper Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook. Grant, S. G. (2001). It’s just the facts, or is it? The relationship between teachers’ practices and students’ understandings of history. Theory and Research in Social Education, 29, 65-108. Greenstein, F. I. (1969). Children and Politics. (Revised ed.) New Haven: Yale University Press. Hargreaves, D. (1997). In defense of research for evidence-based teaching: A rejoinder to Martin Hammersley. British Education Research Journal, 23, 405-420. Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life, and work in communities and classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hess, R. D., & Torney, J. V. (1967). The development of political attitudes in children. Chicago: Aldine. Hubbard, R. S., & Power, B. M. (1993). The art of classroom inquiry: A handbook for teacher-researchers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Hutchinson, B. & Whitehouse, P. (1999). The impact of action research and education reform in Northern Ireland: Education in democracy. British Educational Research Journal, 25,141-155. Jahoda, G. (1984). The development of thinking about socio–economic systems. In H. Tajfel (Ed.), The social dimension: European developments in social psychology, vol. 1 (pp. 69–88). New York: Cambridge University Press. Lee, P. (2000, April). History education research in the U.K.: A schematic commentary. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans. Lieberman, A. (1996). Practices that support teacher development: Transforming conceptions of professional learning. In M. W. McLaughlin and I. Oberman (Eds.), Teacher learning: New policies, new practices (pp. 185–201). New York: Teachers College Press. McNiff, J., Lomax, P., & Whitehead, J. (1996). You and your action research project. London: Routledge. Mills, G. E. (2000). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Montgomery, A. & McCully, A. (1999). What have values got to do with it?: In G. Easdown (Ed.), Innovation and methodology: Opportunities and constraints in history teacher education (Pp. 55-66). Lancaster, England: St. Martin’s College. Moore, S. W., Lare, J., & Wagner, K. A. (1985). The child’s political world: A longitudinal perspective. New York: Praeger. Moses P. (1998, August). Treading water: Case studies of the induction and professional development experiences of beginning teachers in primary schools. Paper presented to the British Educational Research Conference, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Nelson, B. S., & Hammerman, J. K. (1996). Reconceptualizing teaching: Moving toward the creation of intellectual communities of students, teachers, and teacher educators. In M. W. McLaughlin and I. Oberman (Eds.), Teacher learning: New policies, new practices (pp. 3–21). New York: Teachers College Press. Noffke, S. (1997). Professional, personal, and political dimensions of action research. Review of Research in Education, 22, 305-343. O’Neill B. (1998, April). Half-truths and dogma: Teacher education in Britain and Ireland. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego. Pappas, C. C., Kiefer, B. Z., & Levstik, L. S. (1990). An integrated language perspective in the elementary school: Theory into action. White Plains, NY: Longman. Pierce, K. M., & Gilles, C. J. (1993). Cycles of meaning: Exploring the potential of talk in learning communities. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Prawat, R. S. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning: A constructivist perspective. American Journal of Education, 100, 354-95. Rearick, M. L., & Feldman, A. (1999). Orientations, purposes and reflection: A framework for understanding action research. Teaching and Teacher Education, 15, 333-349. Seixas, P. (1994). Preservice teachers assess students’ prior historical understanding. The Social Studies, 85, 91-94. Seixas, P. (1998). Student teachers thinking historically. Theory and Research in Social Education, 26, 310–341. Stenhouse L. (1975). An introduction to curriculum research and development. London: Heinemann. Tickle L. (1994). The induction of new teachers. London: Cassell. VanSledright, B., & Afflerbach, P. (2000). Reconstructing Andrew Jackson: Prospective elementary teachers’ readings of revisionist history texts. Theory and Research in Social Education, 28, 411-444. Walkington, H., & Walkins, C. (1999, July). Education for critical citizenship: The impact of teachers’ world-view on classroom practice in the teaching of values. Paper presented to the Conference on Citizenship for Teachers and Researchers, Institute for Education, London. Wells, G. (1993). Introduction: Teacher research and educational change. In Gordon Wells (Ed.), Changing schools from within: Creating communities of inquiry (pp. 1-35). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Wilson, S. M., & Wineburg, S. S. (1988). Peering at history through different lenses: The role of disciplinary perspectives in teaching history. Teachers College Record, 89, 525-539. Wilson, S. M., & Wineburg, S. S. (1993). Wrinkles in time and place: Using performance assessments to understand the knowledge of history teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 30, 729-769. Yeager, E. A., & Davis, Jr., O. L. (1995). Between campus and classroom: Secondary student–teachers thinking about historical texts. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 29, 1–8.",
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    language = "English",
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    journal = "Journal of Teacher Education",
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    }

    Reflecting on elementary children's understanding of history and social studies: An inquiry project with beginning teachers in Northern Ireland and the United States. / McCully, Alan; Barton, K.C.; Marks, M.J.

    In: Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 55, No. 55, 2004, p. 70-90.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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    T1 - Reflecting on elementary children's understanding of history and social studies: An inquiry project with beginning teachers in Northern Ireland and the United States.

    AU - McCully, Alan

    AU - Barton, K.C.

    AU - Marks, M.J.

    N1 - Reference text: Ball, D. L., & Cohen, D. K. (1999). Developing practice, developing practitioners: Toward a practice-based theory of professional education. In L. Darling-Hammond and G. Sykes (Eds.), Teaching as the learning profession: Handbook of policy and practice (pp. 3-32). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Barton, K. C., and Levstik, L. S. (1996). “Back when God was around and everything”: The development of elementary children’s understanding of historical time. American Educational Research Journal, 33, 419-454. Berti, A. E., & Bombi, A. S. (1988). The child’s construction of economics. New York: Cambridge University Press. Bohan, C., & Davis, Jr., O. L. (1998). Historical constructions: How social studies student teachers’ historical thinking is reflected in their writing of history. Theory and Research in Social Education, 26, 173–197. Borko, H., & Putnam, R. T. (1995). Expanding a teacher’s knowledge base: A cognitive psychological perspective on professional development. In T. R. Guskey & M. Huberman (Eds.), Professional Development in Education: New Paradigms and Practices (pp. 35-65). New York: Teachers College Press. Borko, H., & Putnam, R. T. (1996). Learning to teach. In D. C. Berliner and R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 673-708). New York: Macmillan. Brophy, J., and VanSledright, B. (1997). Teaching and learning history in elementary schools. New York: Teachers College Press. Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. L. (1993). Inside/outside: Teacher research and knowledge. New York: Teachers College Press. Crawford, K. (1998). The teaching and learning of primary history. Teaching History, 90, 33-37. Darling–Hammond, L., & McLaughlin, M. W. (1996). Policies that support professional development in an era of reform. In M. W. McLaughlin and I. Oberman (Eds.), Teacher learning: New policies, new practices (pp. 202–218). New York: Teachers College Press. Easton, D. & Dennis, J. (1969). Children in the political system: Origins of political legitimation. New York: McGraw Hill. Elliott, J. (1991). Action research for educational change. Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press. Elliott, J., MacLure, M., & Sarland, C. (1997). Teachers as researchers in the context of award bearing courses and research degrees. Economic and Research Council Report. Norwich, England: University of East Anglia. Evans, R. W. (1990). Teacher conceptions of history revisited: Ideology, curriculum, and student belief. Theory and Research in Social Education, 18, 101–38. Falk, B., and Ort, S. (1998). Sitting down to score: Teacher learning through assessment. Phi Delta Kappan, 80, 59–64. Fickel, L. H. (2000). Democracy is messy: Exploring the personal theories of a high school social studies teacher. Theory and Research in Social Education, 28, 359-389. Furth, H. G. (1980). The world of grown–ups: Children’s conceptions of society. New York: Elsevier. Genishi, C., & Dyson, D. H. (1984). Language assessment in the early years. Norwood, NJ: Ablex. Goddard, G. (1993). The role of the LEA in induction. British Journal of In-service Education, 19, 46-54. Goodman, K. S. (1973). Miscues: Windows on the reading process. IN K. S. Goodman (Ed.), Miscue analysis: Applications to reading instruction (pp. 3–14). Urbana, IL: Eric Clearinghouse on Reading and Communication Skills. Goswami, D., & Stillman, P. (1987). Reclaiming the classroom: Teacher research as an agency for change. Upper Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook. Grant, S. G. (2001). It’s just the facts, or is it? The relationship between teachers’ practices and students’ understandings of history. Theory and Research in Social Education, 29, 65-108. Greenstein, F. I. (1969). Children and Politics. (Revised ed.) New Haven: Yale University Press. Hargreaves, D. (1997). In defense of research for evidence-based teaching: A rejoinder to Martin Hammersley. British Education Research Journal, 23, 405-420. Heath, S. B. (1983). Ways with words: Language, life, and work in communities and classrooms. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Hess, R. D., & Torney, J. V. (1967). The development of political attitudes in children. Chicago: Aldine. Hubbard, R. S., & Power, B. M. (1993). The art of classroom inquiry: A handbook for teacher-researchers. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Hutchinson, B. & Whitehouse, P. (1999). The impact of action research and education reform in Northern Ireland: Education in democracy. British Educational Research Journal, 25,141-155. Jahoda, G. (1984). The development of thinking about socio–economic systems. In H. Tajfel (Ed.), The social dimension: European developments in social psychology, vol. 1 (pp. 69–88). New York: Cambridge University Press. Lee, P. (2000, April). History education research in the U.K.: A schematic commentary. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, New Orleans. Lieberman, A. (1996). Practices that support teacher development: Transforming conceptions of professional learning. In M. W. McLaughlin and I. Oberman (Eds.), Teacher learning: New policies, new practices (pp. 185–201). New York: Teachers College Press. McNiff, J., Lomax, P., & Whitehead, J. (1996). You and your action research project. London: Routledge. Mills, G. E. (2000). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill. Montgomery, A. & McCully, A. (1999). What have values got to do with it?: In G. Easdown (Ed.), Innovation and methodology: Opportunities and constraints in history teacher education (Pp. 55-66). Lancaster, England: St. Martin’s College. Moore, S. W., Lare, J., & Wagner, K. A. (1985). The child’s political world: A longitudinal perspective. New York: Praeger. Moses P. (1998, August). Treading water: Case studies of the induction and professional development experiences of beginning teachers in primary schools. Paper presented to the British Educational Research Conference, Belfast, Northern Ireland. Nelson, B. S., & Hammerman, J. K. (1996). Reconceptualizing teaching: Moving toward the creation of intellectual communities of students, teachers, and teacher educators. In M. W. McLaughlin and I. Oberman (Eds.), Teacher learning: New policies, new practices (pp. 3–21). New York: Teachers College Press. Noffke, S. (1997). Professional, personal, and political dimensions of action research. Review of Research in Education, 22, 305-343. O’Neill B. (1998, April). Half-truths and dogma: Teacher education in Britain and Ireland. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Diego. Pappas, C. C., Kiefer, B. Z., & Levstik, L. S. (1990). An integrated language perspective in the elementary school: Theory into action. White Plains, NY: Longman. Pierce, K. M., & Gilles, C. J. (1993). Cycles of meaning: Exploring the potential of talk in learning communities. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Prawat, R. S. (1992). Teachers’ beliefs about teaching and learning: A constructivist perspective. American Journal of Education, 100, 354-95. Rearick, M. L., & Feldman, A. (1999). Orientations, purposes and reflection: A framework for understanding action research. Teaching and Teacher Education, 15, 333-349. Seixas, P. (1994). Preservice teachers assess students’ prior historical understanding. The Social Studies, 85, 91-94. Seixas, P. (1998). Student teachers thinking historically. Theory and Research in Social Education, 26, 310–341. Stenhouse L. (1975). An introduction to curriculum research and development. London: Heinemann. Tickle L. (1994). The induction of new teachers. London: Cassell. VanSledright, B., & Afflerbach, P. (2000). Reconstructing Andrew Jackson: Prospective elementary teachers’ readings of revisionist history texts. Theory and Research in Social Education, 28, 411-444. Walkington, H., & Walkins, C. (1999, July). Education for critical citizenship: The impact of teachers’ world-view on classroom practice in the teaching of values. Paper presented to the Conference on Citizenship for Teachers and Researchers, Institute for Education, London. Wells, G. (1993). Introduction: Teacher research and educational change. In Gordon Wells (Ed.), Changing schools from within: Creating communities of inquiry (pp. 1-35). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann. Wilson, S. M., & Wineburg, S. S. (1988). Peering at history through different lenses: The role of disciplinary perspectives in teaching history. Teachers College Record, 89, 525-539. Wilson, S. M., & Wineburg, S. S. (1993). Wrinkles in time and place: Using performance assessments to understand the knowledge of history teachers. American Educational Research Journal, 30, 729-769. Yeager, E. A., & Davis, Jr., O. L. (1995). Between campus and classroom: Secondary student–teachers thinking about historical texts. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 29, 1–8.

    PY - 2004

    Y1 - 2004

    N2 - beginning teachers in Northern ireland and the United states conducted structured inquiry projects in which they investigated elementary children's understanding of history and social studies. Interviews with the teachers and analysis of their written assignments indicate that these investigations challenged their beliefs about children's prior knowledge and their own instructional techniques. Teachers intially believed that inadequate cogniative development and lack of background knowledge limited children's ability to understand history and social studies; however, after taking part in these projects, they developed a new appreciation for childrens' prior ideas and a clearer commitment to their own role in building on that knowledge. These findings suggest that structured investigations, focused on specific disciplinary content, have the potential to encourage beginning teachers' reflection on their students' cognition and to enhance their own sense of professional responsibility.

    AB - beginning teachers in Northern ireland and the United states conducted structured inquiry projects in which they investigated elementary children's understanding of history and social studies. Interviews with the teachers and analysis of their written assignments indicate that these investigations challenged their beliefs about children's prior knowledge and their own instructional techniques. Teachers intially believed that inadequate cogniative development and lack of background knowledge limited children's ability to understand history and social studies; however, after taking part in these projects, they developed a new appreciation for childrens' prior ideas and a clearer commitment to their own role in building on that knowledge. These findings suggest that structured investigations, focused on specific disciplinary content, have the potential to encourage beginning teachers' reflection on their students' cognition and to enhance their own sense of professional responsibility.

    KW - History

    KW - Social Studies

    KW - teacher preparation

    KW - teacher reflection

    KW - action research

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    ER -