Social justice in secondary social studies: exploring how teachers enact social justice in the classroom




Allen, Cassandra D.

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Social studies teachers in Texas and across the nation face a great ethical paradox—to teach the dominant narrative to meet standardized measures, including testing, or teach for social justice to expose oppression and promote equity, building empathy through multiple perspectives for the benefit of all their students. Thus, the purpose of this study was to examine and describe examples of secondary social studies teachers who are actively planning for and teaching for social justice in their classrooms, while also considering and planning for state curriculum standards in Texas (TEKS). The study was guided by three tiered research questions that focused on how teachers conceptualize, plan for, and enact social justice in their classrooms. These questions were developed to 1) address the complex and contextual nature of teaching for social justice and 2) address a gap in the practical literature on teaching for social justice. For these reasons, a qualitative multicase study design was used.

Participants were nominated and then selected. Several different types of data were collected including semi-structured interviews, classroom observations, curricular artifacts, and post-observation reflection forms. Chapter Four addresses the findings for each individual case, as well as a cross-case analysis. The data reinforced important factors for enacting social justice such as teacher agency and reflective practice. Implications for researchers, teacher educators, and teachers are explained as well as recommendations for future research.



Agency, Reflection, Social Justice, Social Studies, Teaching



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching