Date of Award

6-12-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Chara H. Bohan, Ph.D. - Chair

Second Advisor

John K. Lee, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Susan Talburt, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Joyce E. Many, Ph.D.

Abstract

For decades, researchers have noted that the representation of women within the social studies curriculum and historical narratives has seriously neglected meaningful contributions made by women (Crocco, 1997; Lerner, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1993, 2004; Minnich, 1990; Noddings, 2001; Sincero & Woyshner, 2003). When women have received acknowledgement within traditional history, or the “great men” of history approach (Goldberg, Brattin, & Engel, 1993), it has mostly occurred in relationship to how men define women which leads to an unknowing acceptance of a dominant patriarchal tradition of knowledge and understanding (Minnich, 1990). Using a liberal feminist perspective, this interpretive inquiry examined the decision-making processes of one experienced social studies teacher as she attempted to integrate women into a high school United States history curriculum. The initial guiding question for this study was: How does a teacher intentionally include women in meaningful contexts in a high school U.S. history class? Additional sub-questions relevant to this study were: (1) How does a teacher decide the historical contexts in which women are to be included or not included? (2) What specific challenges does the teacher face when working to implement women into the U.S. history curriculum? (3) What positive factors have shaped the teacher’s abilities or willingness to integrate women into the curriculum? Data sources included interviews, observations, field notes, the participant’s journal reflections, and other documents used during lessons. Data analysis occurred by using a constant comparative method (Glaser & Strauss, 1967) to document any themes or patterns as they emerged. Credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability helped enhance the trustworthiness and rigor of the study (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). The findings of the study suggest that the teacher’s personal experiences helped to shape her goal to show her students that women were more than secondary characters in history. The findings also indicate that even though the teacher faced many challenges as she was attempting to transform her curriculum, when she drew upon the more positive influences from her past and the positive experiences she was encountering during the study, she became much more encouraged that she could move past any obstacles confronting her.

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