Event Title

A Conversation Too Late: An Examination of Early-Career Teachers’ Experience With New Social Studies Standards

Location

Breakout Session A: Education

CASB 103

Start Date

8-4-2022 2:45 PM

End Date

8-4-2022 3:00 PM

Description

Teachers are curricular and instructional gatekeepers (Thornton, 2005) and are key players in the implementation of policy. Research suggests that when teachers are not on-board with policy or there is incoherence and inconsistency in teachers’ interpretation of policy, it is unlikely that policy will be implemented with fidelity and/or lead to desired impacts (Spillane, Reiser, & Gomez, 2010). The introduction of new content standards is an important example of teacher gatekeeping, especially if the proposed standards significantly alter educational structures and expectations. South Carolina implemented the Social Studies College- and Career-Ready Standards in Fall 2021 following a two-year bridge period. The state’s social studies standards had not been revised since 2011, and the new standards represent a significant change from the previous document, both in how courses are organized and the emphasis on inquiry-based instruction and disciplinary skills. This qualitative study examined how four early-career middle/secondary teachers perceived and implemented the new standards, with attention paid to challenges they faced, strategies they employed, and supports they desired. Data was generated through a series of four semi-structured interviews conducted with participants during the 2020-2021 school year. Data were analyzed using a five-phase approach common to qualitative studies: compiling, disassembling, reassembling, interpreting, and concluding (Yin, 2016). Thematic analysis revealed three key findings: (1) Teachers believe the standards’ focus on skill and perceived flexibility have the potential to improve student engagement and learning; however, they feel overwhelmed by the degree of change and choice. (2) Many teachers did not receive significant training on the standards and had to advocate for support and guidance. (3) The differences among teachers’ interpretations and access to professional learning opportunities manifested in varied approaches to implementing the standards. Evidence from this study suggest actions school leaders, teacher educators, and individual teachers can take to ensure more successful uptake and implementation of the South Carolina Social Studies College- and Career-Ready Standards. Spillane, J. P., Reiser, B. J., & Gomez, L. M. (2006). Policy implementation and cognition: The role of human, social and distributed cognition in framing policy implementation. In M. I. Honig (Ed.), New directions in education policy implementation: Confronting complexity (pp. 47-64). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Thornton, S. J. (2005). Teaching social studies that matters: Curriculum for active learning. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Yin, R. K. (2016). Qualitative research from start to finish (2nd Edition). New York, NY: Guilford Press.

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Apr 8th, 2:45 PM Apr 8th, 3:00 PM

A Conversation Too Late: An Examination of Early-Career Teachers’ Experience With New Social Studies Standards

Breakout Session A: Education

CASB 103

Teachers are curricular and instructional gatekeepers (Thornton, 2005) and are key players in the implementation of policy. Research suggests that when teachers are not on-board with policy or there is incoherence and inconsistency in teachers’ interpretation of policy, it is unlikely that policy will be implemented with fidelity and/or lead to desired impacts (Spillane, Reiser, & Gomez, 2010). The introduction of new content standards is an important example of teacher gatekeeping, especially if the proposed standards significantly alter educational structures and expectations. South Carolina implemented the Social Studies College- and Career-Ready Standards in Fall 2021 following a two-year bridge period. The state’s social studies standards had not been revised since 2011, and the new standards represent a significant change from the previous document, both in how courses are organized and the emphasis on inquiry-based instruction and disciplinary skills. This qualitative study examined how four early-career middle/secondary teachers perceived and implemented the new standards, with attention paid to challenges they faced, strategies they employed, and supports they desired. Data was generated through a series of four semi-structured interviews conducted with participants during the 2020-2021 school year. Data were analyzed using a five-phase approach common to qualitative studies: compiling, disassembling, reassembling, interpreting, and concluding (Yin, 2016). Thematic analysis revealed three key findings: (1) Teachers believe the standards’ focus on skill and perceived flexibility have the potential to improve student engagement and learning; however, they feel overwhelmed by the degree of change and choice. (2) Many teachers did not receive significant training on the standards and had to advocate for support and guidance. (3) The differences among teachers’ interpretations and access to professional learning opportunities manifested in varied approaches to implementing the standards. Evidence from this study suggest actions school leaders, teacher educators, and individual teachers can take to ensure more successful uptake and implementation of the South Carolina Social Studies College- and Career-Ready Standards. Spillane, J. P., Reiser, B. J., & Gomez, L. M. (2006). Policy implementation and cognition: The role of human, social and distributed cognition in framing policy implementation. In M. I. Honig (Ed.), New directions in education policy implementation: Confronting complexity (pp. 47-64). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press. Thornton, S. J. (2005). Teaching social studies that matters: Curriculum for active learning. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Yin, R. K. (2016). Qualitative research from start to finish (2nd Edition). New York, NY: Guilford Press.