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Student Learning in the Middle School Social Studies Classroom: The Role of Differing Teacher Preparation

Hilary G. Conklin
The Elementary School Journal
Vol. 114, No. 4 (June 2014), pp. 455-478
DOI: 10.1086/675634
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/675634
Page Count: 24
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Student Learning in the Middle School Social Studies Classroom
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Abstract

AbstractIn this article, I explore the relationship between teachers’ preparation for the middle grades and their students’ learning opportunities. I draw on data from a longitudinal case study to compare how a specialized middle grades preparation and a secondary social studies preparation relate to middle grades students’ learning opportunities by looking at the classrooms of graduates from each preparation pathway. Informed by a theoretical perspective on authentic intellectual work and the understandings teachers need to have developed in teacher education in order to give students access to such learning, the research suggests that young adolescents in both sets of classrooms were generally engaged, though there was variation in the intellectual quality of student learning opportunities across the classrooms of both sets of graduates. At the same time, the results point to the potential for both programs to bolster their preparations to ultimately facilitate higher quality learning for young adolescents.

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