This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Novice Teachers' Instructional Practices in Elementary Social Studies




Kristin, Zimbelman

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


The purpose of this case study was to explore the instructional practices novice elementary social studies teachers utilized in the design and implementation of their instruction. This study included four elementary teachers, two intermediate and two primary; all were employed in the same affluent school system. The participants all attended, albeit at different times, the same undergraduate teacher preparatory program, and thus participated in the same undergraduate social studies methods course. The data were collected through interviews, observations, and evaluation of weekly lesson plans using the Analysis of Weekly Lesson Plan Rubric, which was developed from the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Curriculum Guidelines for Social Studies Teaching and Learning (NCSS, 2008). The findings of this qualitative study highlight what existing research has shown: a lack of quality social studies instruction on a daily basis exists in the elementary classroom, even in a resource rich environment, with social studies being nearly nonexistent in the primary grades (Ellington, Leming, & Schug, 2006; Fitchett & Heafner, 2010; Tanner, 2008; VanFossen, 2005; Vogler et al., 2007), and thus a call for professional development from both the state, and from local university teacher preparation programs is vital in order to address the marginalization of the subject of social studies at the elementary level. In addition, instructors of social studies methods courses need to be deliberate, explicit, and transparent, as they model practices that are supported by theory.