Abstract 2- Volume 1, Number 1, Spring 2006

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 1, Number 1, Spring 2006



Narrating Democratic Education

Ellen Durrigan Santora
University of Rochester


This action research uses grounded theory and constant comparative analysis of electronic portfolios to explore how prospective secondary social studies teachers connect theories and practices of democratic education to give meaning to the complexity of learning how to teach in more democratic ways. I use contrasting case studies to focus on the relative value of theoretical/experiential ways of knowing. I conclude that students need to move more fluidly between theoretical and experiential or narrative thinking to galvanize their wills to teach more democratically. Because teaching democratically implies that teachers have a democratic world view, documenting how one learns to become a teacher cannot be adequately accomplished with only lesson plans, unit plans, or K-12 student work. Instead, those who wish to construct identities as democratic educators need to articulate their struggles through theoretically positioned stories about day-to-day classroom interactions in which they acknowledge the central role of beliefs, values, and epistemic orientations.

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About the Author(s)…

Ellen Durrigan Santora is an Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester where she teaches theory and practice of social studies education courses.  Her primary research interests are democratic education for citizenship in a culturally pluralistic society.  She received her Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from The Pennsylvania State University. Contact information: esantora@rochester.rr.com, University of Rochester