Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Department of Educational Administration and Foundations: Educational Administration

Committee Chair

Dianne Renn


In the United States, elementary social studies instruction has significantly declined in recent decades, yet it holds valuable potential in allowing for spaces where the cultures and identities of our students can be centered and celebrated. Our educational systems are too often grounded in hegemonic ways of doing that are based around a dominant narrative that centers white, Christian, heteronormative values. Social studies instruction and its connected pedagogy have great potential to change that narrative. Following Mintrop’s cycle of inquiry model, this qualitative study looked at the experiences of elementary teachers as they undertook the implementation of a new social studies curriculum while simultaneously participating in a course focused on supporting culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy in their classrooms. Through the examination of interviews, a participant survey, and final projects, the researcher sought to understand the impact of these experiences on the ways in which teachers designed inclusive learning experiences, especially in the area of social studies. Results from the study show that teachers care deeply about their students and want to know them well, but don’t always understand the most meaningful ways to do this. Teachers valued a model for professional learning that centered their voices and allowed for collaboration and reflection. This model was an effective approach to growing capacity and understanding of ways in which teachers can honor their students’ narratives in the classroom. The implications of this study could be useful for teachers, principals, and district administrators who are seeking to understand ways to center and support a diverse body of students through instruction and pedagogy.


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