Curriculum, Instruction, and Coaching for Teaching Difficult Histories

Author: ORCID icon
Yonas, Anna, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
van Hover, Stephanie, ED-CISE, University of Virginia
Cohen, Julie, ED-CISE, University of Virginia

Teachers often struggle to teach emotionally difficult and traumatic histories of violent racial and ethnic oppression, including the genocides of the transatlantic slave trade and the Holocaust. This dissertation consists of three manuscripts that examine the curriculum related to difficult histories, pre-service teachers’ instruction of a text from a difficult history, and how coaching can support teachers’ instruction of a text from a difficult history. The first manuscript presents a content analysis of secondary world history standards to explore which genocides are included in standards and how each genocide is described. The second and third manuscripts analyze how novice teachers teach texts written by people who experienced oppression in difficult histories; I analyze their instruction in relation to a conceptual framework for traumatic history instruction. Findings from the second paper, a case study of four pre-service teachers, suggest that pre-service teachers do not consistently utilize skills of historical source analysis when teaching a difficult history. Findings from the second paper, a case study of seven novice in-service teachers, suggest that instructional coaching on historical source analysis can improve teachers’ incorporation of these skills. Collectively, these papers deepen our understanding of the challenges teachers face when teaching difficult histories and indicate that instructional coaching may support teachers in navigating these demands.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
history education, genocide education, instructional coaching, difficult history, traumatic history
Sponsoring Agency:
University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development IDEA grant

Manuscript 1 is published with the following citation:
Yonas, A. & van Hover, S. (2024). Misleading mandates: The null curriculum of genocide education. The Journal of Social Studies Research.

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