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Social studies in elementary student teachers' classrooms: exploring decisions and practices

Ann M Adkins, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This research explored the decisions and practices of two elementary student teachers as they taught the social studies in their elementary classroom placements. The need for this investigation was underscored by the state of the social studies in the elementary classroom and the necessity of understanding the factors that impacted the student teachers' decisions as they prepared lessons in this often neglected subject area. Factors explored included the participants' own experiences in learning the social studies in elementary, middle, and high school; their expertise in the content; pedagogical knowledge gained in their social studies methods course; their philosophical beliefs about teaching the social studies; and the context of their student teaching site. Findings reveal that though the participants experienced challenges in teaching the social studies during their methods course in a professional development school, their teaching beliefs and practices during student teaching indicate that they had an understanding of many qualities of effective teaching in elementary social studies. Their own experiences in learning the social studies—both positive and negative—-contributed to these beliefs and this understanding.

Subject Area

Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Adkins, Ann M, "Social studies in elementary student teachers' classrooms: exploring decisions and practices" (2013). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3604020.