Date of Award:

2-2013

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Education

Advisor/Chair:

Sylvia Read

Abstract

Deanne R. Murray at Utah State University conducted a qualitative case study aimed at examining the understanding and practice of historical thinking of three fifth-grade teachers. These three teachers had each been a participant for 3 years in a federally funded Teach American History (TAH) grant project aimed at increasing teachers' historical knowledge and classroom practices. This TAH project in Utah was particularly focused on teachers learning to use cultural tools in socially mediated settings with the ultimate goal of improving their students' performance in history.

This study sought to understand the development of these three teachers' historical thinking through their participation in this TAH project and explore how this development influenced their teaching of history to their students. It was the aim of the researcher to probe the understanding of these three teachers regarding historical thinking after 3 years of professional development. If we are interested in strengthening the historical thinking competence of students in our schools, it makes sense to begin by gaining a better understanding of teachers' professional development experiences that are intended to foster historical thinking.

This study required the collection of data from teacher interviews, teacher observations in the TAH setting, teacher lesson reflections, and teacher analysis of their students' work and understanding of historical thinking. Teacher participation in this study was voluntary and uncompensated and no outside funding was used during this study. The researcher, Deanne R. Murray, volunteered her time and resources for the study to fulfill the requirements of a Doctor of Philosophy in Education degree.

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