Home Articles Reader Opinion Editorial Book Reviews Discussion Writers Guide About TCRecord
transparent 13
Topics
Discussion
Announcements

Putting the Squeeze on Social Studies: Managing Teaching Dilemmas in Subject Areas Excluded from State Testing


by John S. Wills 2007

Background/Context: Recent research indicates that social studies is being "squeezed" from the elementary curriculum as instructional time is shifted to language arts and mathematics in response to state testing and the federal No Child Left Behind Act, especially in schools serving poor students and students of color. However, less is known about the specific curricular and instructional choices teachers make as they confront reduced instructional time for social studies, and the enacted curriculum resulting from these choices.

Purpose/Objective/Research Question/Focus of Study: The purpose of this study is to analyze what happens to the enacted curriculum in social studies in elementary schools where instructional time for social studies was reduced in response to state testing in language arts and mathematics.

Setting: This research was conducted at a rural elementary school in Southern California serving poor Latino, African-American, and White students, a low performing yet improving school as measured by state testing in language arts and mathematics.

Research Design: A ten-month qualitative case study of social studies curriculum and instruction was conducted in one fourth-grade and two fifth-grade classrooms at one elementary school.

Data Collection and Analysis: Data collection consisted of observation and videotaping of classroom lessons and activities in social studies during the 20022003 school year in three teachers' classrooms, consisting of a total of 125 videotaped observations. Interviews with teachers, students, and the principal, and the collection and analysis of student work and curricular materials supplemented this data. For this article, data analysis was based on the coding of field notes, analysis of transcripts of lessons and activities, and teacher interviews, to understand the curricular and instructional choices teachers made in social studies and the effect of these choices on the enacted curriculum.

Findings/Results: Reduced instructional time in social studies has resulted in a reduction of the scope of the curriculum, the curtailment or elimination of opportunities to promote students' higher order thinking, and an increased emphasis at times on the simple reproduction of content knowledge.

Conclusions/Recommendations: The institution of a system of accountability meant to improve teaching and learning for all students is instead undermining the quality of students' education in social studies, especially at low performing elementary schools serving poor students and students of color. As instructional time is shifted to language arts and mathematics the scope of the social studies curriculum and opportunities for thoughtfulness that would deepen students' understanding of history are being squeezed from the enacted curriculum.



To view the full-text for this article you must be signed-in with the appropropriate membership. Please review your options below:

Sign-in
Email:
Password:
Store a cookie on my computer that will allow me to skip this sign-in in the future.
Send me my password -- I can't remember it
 
Purchase this Article
Purchase Putting the Squeeze on Social Studies: Managing Teaching Dilemmas in Subject Areas Excluded from State Testing
Individual-Resource passes allow you to purchase access to resources one resource at a time. There are no recurring fees.
$12
Become a Member
Online Access
With this membership you receive online access to all of TCRecord's content. The introductory rate of $25 is available for a limited time.
$25
Print and Online Access
With this membership you receive the print journal and free online access to all of TCRecord's content.
$210


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 109 Number 8, 2007, p. 1980-2046
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 14080, Date Accessed: 8/22/2017 10:25:29 PM

Purchase Reprint Rights for this article or review
Article Tools
Related Articles

Related Discussion
 
Post a Comment | Read All

About the Author
  • John Wills
    University of California, Riverside
    E-mail Author
    JOHN S. WILLS is an associate professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Riverside. His research focuses on history-social studies education, multicultural curriculum reform, the politics of school knowledge, and schooling and collective memory. Recent publications include "'Some People Even Died': Martin Luther King, Jr., the Civil Rights Movement, and the Politics of Remembrance in Elementary Classrooms" in International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education and "Authority, Culture, Context: Controlling the Production of Historical Knowledge in Elementary Classrooms" in Classroom Authority: Theory, Research, and Practice, edited by J. L. Pace and A. Hemmings.
Member Center
In Print
This Month's Issue

Submit
EMAIL

Twitter

RSS