Date of Award:

2014

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Instructional Technology and Learning Sciences

Advisor/Chair:

Brett Shelton

Abstract

Textbooks, curriculum packages, standards, professional development and pre-service education, and national advocacy groups all utilize orientation terms to identify the pedagogical approaches, though no model for orientations has currently been validated against the lived experience of teachers. The purpose of the dissertation is to research a practitioner-informed orientation model for social studies, utilizing the lived experiences of teachers including their connections to and with technology. As a preliminary investigation to explore and understand the construct of orientations, the initial set of participants was bound to three secondary social studies teachers from an urban, suburban, and rural district, respectively. Data collection was completed through a series of detailed interviews including three modified narrative identity protocols, one elicited response interview, and one observation interview. Phenomenology formed the epistemological lens and the method that utilized various instruments as a pathway into the teachers’ perceived life worlds. Research was conducted from a transcendental or psychological approach to phenomenology with a grounded theory approach to analyzing the data to generate theoretical themes rooted in the narratives. A detailed description of each case narrative along with the phenomenological essence of each teacher is provided individually before cross case analysis is presented. From this combined case data, a constructed model that captures the narratives, trends, and overlaps was created. Evans’ orientation model was utilized as exemplary of the field for comparison. There existed overlaps present with the utilized model yet current models explored failed to encompass all elements of teacher-held orientations and an emergent model is presented that includes the following orientation constructs: social efficiency, a social sciences core, a transformative role, and personal improvement. The findings also included four themes: the role of storytelling as a central concept in practice, the role of film and television representations of history in sustaining engagement, the value of the classroom environment and students in creating a sense of equity, and a close level of uniformity in orientation reporting out of step with current frameworks. Implications for learning environments, particularly in relation to the utilization of technology, are discussed in addition to necessary future research suggestions.

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