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Preparing Elementary Pre-service Teachers to Promote Big Ideas Within Social Studies

Authors: Sarah Brooks, Daniel J. Jares,

Publish Date: 2016
Volume: , Issue:, Pages: 81-100
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Abstract

This chapter examines the influence of an elementary social studies methods course that was redesigned to prepare pre-service teachers to plan and deliver social studies instruction organized around big ideas. Data sources for the study include interviews with the participants as well as the following artifacts created by the pre-service teachers: graphic organizers, drafted and revised lesson plans, video recordings of lessons taught, reflective commentaries, drafted and revised unit plans, and a final exam. The findings suggest that participants understood what a big idea is and how such an idea could be used to organize social studies concepts, topics and facts. However, when faced with new social studies content, many of the pre-service teachers struggled to organize it under a big idea appropriate for young learners. Additionally, participants were generally unable to identify obstructions to teaching for big ideas, suggesting that more explicit attention to these barriers is necessary.


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