A Study of the Teaching Methods, Materials, Class Organizations, and Opinions of American History Teachers in Selected Iowa High Schools
SubjectSocial sciences--Study and teaching (Secondary)--Iowa; United States--History--Study and teaching (Secondary); High schools--Iowa--Study and teaching; Public schools--Iowa--Study and teaching (Secondary)
The problem. The purpose of the study was to examine the present status of social studies education in selected Iowa public high schools. The research particularly focused on aspects of social studies education related to the "new social studies" movement. The study concentrated on American History classes, since they provided a common base for research. Procedure. Teachers in thirty-five randomly selected Iowa public high schools received a questionnaire-opinionnaire form which they were asked to complete and return. The form elicited responses regarding the teachers' teaching methods, materials, and class organizations. The teachers also responded to questions intended to determine their attitudes toward new social studies techniques and concepts. The respondents' answers were categorized according to the degree to which the teaching methods, materials, and class organizations reflected traditional or new social studies orientations. Teachers' opinions toward new social studies approaches and concepts were also analyzed. Finally, it was determined if any statistically significant relationships existed between the use of new social studies teaching methods, materials, and class organizations and three selected variables. The variables were: (1) years of teacher experience, (2) number of class preparations, and (3) educational exposure of the teacher to the new social studies. It was also determined if a significant relationship existed between opinions about new social studies approaches and the three variables. Findings. Analysis of the respondents' answers showed that nearly 64 percent of the teachers reported using teaching methods that reflected a combination of traditional and new social studies approaches. Nearly 31 percent indicated that they taught in a traditional manner, and the remaining 4 percent showed a considerable use of new social studies approaches. Fifty-six percent of the respondents indicated that they used materials that were judged to be an eclectic combination of traditional and innovative. Thirty-five percent used traditional materials, while the remaining 9 percent used materials that strongly reflected a new social studies approach. Sixty-six percent of the respondents reported using ideas and concepts from social science disciplines, while 34 percent indicated that they did not. Twenty-one percent of the respondents gave opinions that strongly favored approaches that combined traditional and innovative methods. There was no significant relationship between teaching methods, materials, class organizations, or teacher opinions and any of the three variables--with one exception. Teachers with more than seven years experience showed more favorable attitudes toward new social studies approaches than did teachers with seven or fewer years. Conclusions. The findings indicated the following conclusions: (1) The majority of teachers reported using teaching methods, materials, and class organizations that reflect a combination of traditional and new social studies approaches; (2) The majority of teachers gave opinions that favored using a combination of traditional and new social studies methods; (3) On the whole, teachers' opinions were more favorable toward new social studies approaches than their teaching methods, materials, or class organizations would indicate; (4) Teachers with more than seven years of experience were more likely to have favorable opinions about new social studies practices than were those with less experience. Recommendations. Recommendations included: (1) It is desirable that further study be made of the teaching methods used by social studies teachers; (2) Another area for investigation involves the possible relationship between approaches used by social studies teachers and the college or university at which they were trained; (3) Further research could be aimed at examination of the finding that teachers with over seven years experience tended to show more favorable opinions about innovative approaches to teaching social studies.
118 leaves. Advisor: Charles D. Rowley
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