Teaching and Learning History in Classroom Contexts

Author: ORCID icon orcid.org/0000-0002-0625-7144
Fitzpatrick, Colleen, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
van Hover, Stephanie, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

This dissertation consists of three independent manuscripts, each of which addresses an aspect of a larger study that explored teaching and learning history in classroom contexts. While situated in two very different contexts (a public high school and a classical Christian middle school), the three manuscripts are connected in that they explore how a teacher teaches and what their students learn in their respective classrooms. A qualitative case study design allowed an in- depth exploration of how a teacher enacted a unit, how the students described their learning, and how the context influenced both teaching and learning. Analysis indicated both teachers (public school and classical Christian school) were influenced by the larger context in which they worked and emphasized student learning of factual information as opposed to conceptual and procedural knowledge (VanSledright & Limón, 2006). Students, in both contexts, learned some factual information from the unit, but walked away with misconceptions that were related to how their teacher’s enacted instruction.
In the first manuscript, I examined how a teacher, Miss Gill, at a classical Christian school articulated her goals for a unit on World War II, how she enacted those goals in a unit on World War II, and what her students learned from the unit. The second manuscript also draws on data from the classical Christian school to investigate how the students described and related their learning to instructional strategies and resources used by Miss Gill during a unit on World War II. In the third manuscript, I explored how a teacher and students made sense of and experienced a district mandated performance assessment while still preparing for a state mandated high-stakes multiple-choice assessment.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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