Dates, battles, and treaties, oh my! Expanding college students' personal historical understanding through constructivist teaching practice
AuthorGlover, John Allen
AdvisorAnders, Patricia L.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study examined the use of constructivist content-area literacy methods in a community college American History survey course. The study was based in a perspective that college classroom culture is a nexus of multiple social interactions through which thinking and understanding are organized and meanings are negotiated and constructed. Interpretations of participant, researcher, and institution-generated data sources revealed several findings. Specifically, in this American History survey course, content-area literacy methods were employed as tools for organizing class participant thinking and for content understanding in a context of shared classroom power. Content-area literacy methods were used by the instructor (the study's author) as a way of reaching out to the class participants in an effort to establish a collegial relationship with them and to teach American History more effectively. I believed that content-area literacy methods would help class participants learn to organize their thinking and understanding and would facilitate their academic success in the course. The class participants interpreted my use of content-area literacy methods in the context of the collegial relationship they had established. Class participants interpreted my use of content-area literacy methods as evidence of my support for their formulation of a personal understanding of American History and their continued academic success. The class participants, in turn, were willing to participate in or support the content-area literacy methods that they believed contributed to their learning and academic success. The findings of this study support theories of literacy, teaching, and learning as socially constructed phenomena and suggest that the study of college literacy must be contextualized in classrooms and institutions of higher learning because content-area teaching and learning are influenced by social interactions between teachers and students. Resistance to such strategies among college and university academics may stem from personal and professional life experiences and beliefs that contribute to the construction, retention and adherence to discipline-specific pedagogical beliefs and practices. This study's findings imply that more research is needed with respect to how teachers and students in higher education build and maintain relationships and how those relationships influence andragogical teaching and learning decisions and outcomes.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture