Dr. Christopher Martell, Clinical Assistant Professor and Program Director of Social Studies Education, and Dr. Kaylene Stevens, Adjunct Professor, were recently published in Theory & Research in Social Education, and, based on this work, were chosen to give the annual Research-Into-Practice Lecture at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference this November in San Francisco, California.
The article, titled “Equity- and Tolerance-Oriented Teachers: Approaches to Teaching Race in the Social Studies Classroom,” presents a study that examined the beliefs and practices of 10 self-identifying race-conscious social studies teachers. Drs. Martell and Stevens chose to examine teachers who “go against the grain” and purposely move race to the center of their social studies classrooms. They found that, while all the participants in the study taught issues of individual prejudice and larger social inequity in their classrooms, there was a division between teachers who emphasized working against individual prejudice (tolerance-oriented) and those who emphasized working against racial inequity (equity-oriented). In their conclusion, Drs. Martell and Stevens argued that teachers must move toward a more equity-based pedagogy, otherwise students may leave their classrooms thinking that racial inequity and racism can be solved by correcting individual acts, rather than challenging larger systems of racial oppression. They also offer implications for teacher preparation and professional development programs.
Abstract: In this interpretative case study, the researchers examined the beliefs and practices of 10 self-identifying race-conscious social studies teachers. Using critical race theory as the lens, the researchers found that most of the teachers made race explicit in their classrooms by including race in units not typically considered race-related and focusing on the relationship between race and inequity. Additionally, while all of the teachers made race a central theme in their classrooms, there was a division between teachers who emphasized working against individual prejudice (tolerance-oriented) and against racial inequity (equity-oriented). This study adds to the growing research on teaching race in social studies and offers new evidence on how teachers present race and racism differently across school contexts.
Theory & Research in Social Education (TRSE) is the top research journal in social studies education. It is the official publication of the College and University Faculty Assembly of the National Council for the Social Studies. Founded in 1921, National Council for the Social Studies is the largest professional association in the country devoted solely to social studies education and serves as an umbrella organization for elementary, secondary, and college teachers of history, civics, geography, economics, political science, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and law-related education.
Citation for Dr. Martell’s article:
Martell, C. C. & Stevens, K. M. (2017). Equity- and tolerance-oriented Teachers: Approaches to teaching race in the social studies classroom. Theory & Research in Social Education, 45(4), 489-516.
Drs. Martell and Stevens’s article can be accessed at: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00933104.2017.1320602