Multiple ways of knowing in history: Eighth graders' grand conversations
KeywordsEducation, Teacher Training.
Education, Social Sciences.
Education, Curriculum and Instruction.
AdvisorMitchell, Judy Nichols
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.
AbstractThe purpose of this study was to explore what happened when literature and literature discussions were added to an eighth-grade history curriculum. I examined what occurred in the process of change as the teacher and researcher negotiated a new curriculum with the students, and what the effects of literature were on the historical understandings of middle school students. The theoretical framework of this study is embodied in the social constructivist theory of learning and the transactive theory of reading as explained by a reader-response perspective. It rests on the premise that approaching history through literature and encouraging an aesthetic stance toward the response to historical literature will enable students to enter into the process of historical inquiry. During this year-long classroom study the researcher, acting as a participant observer, gathered a variety of data including field notes, student journals, audio tapes of the small group literature discussions, student self-evaluations, and teacher interviews. The data were analyzed by developing and describing initial coding categories from the data, refining or adding to the categories as the analysis process continued, and counting frequencies for the various categories which emerged. The findings suggest that change is challenging and complex. There was a creative tension in the process with some factors that promoted teacher and curriculum change and other factors that acted as obstacles to change. Although each factor played an important role in the change process, the key to change was in the collaboration between teacher and researcher. It was in the conversations and collaboration between teacher and researcher that change was invented. In addition, the findings suggest that reading the historical literature, writing in their journals, and working out their understandings in small groups was well-received by students. They enjoyed this way of doing history and used the different activities to work their way into meaningful engagements with history. Student responses included: (1) purposeful retellings, (2) numerous connections among books, movies, historical themes, and life experiences, (3) thematic statements, (4) wonderings and wanderings, and (5) historical understandings that integrated facts and stories.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture