Exploring perceptions of generational relevance in a high school level U.S. history course
The purpose of the study was twofold. First, I wanted to understand a sample of students' perceptions of content relevance at the individual and group (generational) levels in a high school level U.S. History course. Second, I wanted to compare students' perceptions of the generational relevance of content to that of their teacher. To do so, I developed three research questions which addressed how participants talked about the relevance of course content at the individual and generational (group) levels. In understanding the complexities associated with these research questions, and a lack of related extant literature, I chose to use a qualitative exploratory case study design with three embedded units of analysis (i.e., the students as individuals, the students as a group (generation), and the teacher) to answer the research questions. After selecting participants (n=7), I collected data in seven phases, which included artifact collection, questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, focus groups, and classroom observations. Chapter four addresses findings that emerged from the students as individuals, the teacher as an individual, and cross-case analysis of the students as a group (generation) and the teacher. Consistent coding categories across the group of students (generation) and teacher contended there was not enough time in the course to adequately cover the content. Further there was consensus that generationally relevant U.S. History content prepares students for adulthood and emphasizes topics related to civil rights and politics. Implications for researchers, teachers, and policy-makers based on these findings are explained. Directions for future research are also provided.