Listening to Our Students: What Their Voices Tell Us About High School Social Studies Classrooms
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Data was collected in the high school social studies classroom in an attempt to better understand if students were independently utilizing active reading strategies. The author utilized focus group discussions with three different class levels: regular, honors, and advanced placement students. Additionally, data was collected through questionnaires and student surveys. Focus group discussions demonstrated the different reading and learning styles that are apparent in my varied classrooms. Even the highest-level learners admitted difficulty in synthesizing text. The discussions made apparent the differing levels of work ethic and the ability to read and comprehend text independently. This small study confirms that the majority of social studies instruction, at any level, is still largely text-based. Students either were incapable of, or simply chose not to, applying active reading strategies that might have helped them in their retention of reading based knowledge. It would seem that the answer to productive social studies instruction lay within the textbook.