Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

John E. Readence


Recent studies which have focused on preservice teachers' perspectives of elementary social studies have attempted to discover the product of the relationships between their conceptions of social studies and their classroom practices. This research, conducted only during the clinical experience, indicated that the beliefs and ideas which teachers express about social studies have little effect on classroom practice. In order to better understand this phenomenon, this study investigated the evolution of preservice teachers' perspectives of social studies through methods instruction as well as the clinical experience. The participants for this study were four preservice teachers who were enrolled in the elementary social studies methods course required for all elementary education majors at a large Southeastern public university during the Spring semester 1990. These participants were selected because they held conceptions of social studies consistent with the methods instruction. This was determined by written artifacts (i.e., reflective journal entries) as well as the Conceptions of Social Studies Inventory (CSSI) (Adler, 1982). Also considered were the participant's age, gender, socioeconomic status, race and school site. These preservice teachers participated in their student teaching experience from August through December 1990. This number of participants allowed for in-depth observations and interviews which determined how these teachers perceived teaching and social studies. To allow for the incorporation of the ideas, actions, and thoughts of the participants as a major form of inquiry, it was necessary to employ a fieldwork methodology. Through the use of multiple methods and triangulation of observations, interviews, instructional materials, and pertinent artifacts (i.e., reflective journals, CSSI) the researcher attempted to determine how these preservice teachers' perspectives of social studies evolved. The results of this research indicated that the participants' conceptions, perspectives, and practice of teaching and social studies were a result of the relationships between each preservice teacher's prior educational experiences, background experiences, the cooperating teacher, the students, the context of the classroom or school setting, the university coordinator, or the principal.