Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Despite a recent emphasis on instruction that utilizes higher level critical thinking skills in middle schools, too many history teachers rely primarily on rote memorization due to state standards that place an emphasis on teaching to a multiple choice standardized test. The difficulty of having to teach copious amounts of information is that it can give rise to the problem of coverage. Teachers feel they must cover massive amounts of material so their students will do well on the standardized test at the end of the school year. This leaves little time for engaging the students in higher level critical thinking instruction. In addition, in an effort to cover the standards, teachers rely on traditional methods of instruction that bore the students and cause negative attitudes toward social studies classes. A study was conducted at a southeastern middle school. The students were given a pretest and posttest of the CM3II+ measuring student dispositions toward critical thinking. A pretest and a posttest of a researcher-created survey measuring student dispositions toward their social studies classes were also given. Between the pre and posttests, a 12-week course of inquiry was inserted into the normal course of study. In addition, the study sought to determine if there was a correlation between dispositions toward critical thinking and dispositions toward social studies classes. The purpose of this study was to determine what affect a 12-week course of inquiry would have on eighth-grade student dispositions toward critical thinking and their history classes and whether there was a correlation between the two. While the quantitative research did not support the researcher’s anticipated outcomes, it did reinforce previous studies that found that strengthening dispositions takes a substantial amount of time. In addition, the qualitative research showed that student dispositions toward their social studies class were strengthened while students were actively engaged with the material and practicing historical thinking. This study builds on previous studies and its results warrant future investigation.
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Bolling, Michael George, "A Study of Student Attitudes and Dispositions toward the Use of the Inquiry Method in Teaching Eighth-Grade Social Studies" (2017). Education Dissertations and Projects. 273.