Abstract 3, Volume 11, Number 1, Spring 2016

Making Them Fit: Examining Teacher Support for Student Questioning

Rebecca G. W. Mueller

University of Kentucky

Social studies research has long advocated inquiry as a desired instructional practice, but the increasing emphasis on the role students’ questions should play in inquiry requires research into what social studies teachers can do to elevate the place of student questioning in classrooms.  This study examined the attitudes and actions of two secondary social studies teachers who self-identified as advocates of student questioning and who desired to incorporate more student questioning into their instruction.  This study used qualitative research methods and generated data through multiple interviews and classroom observations with each participant along with content analysis of classroom materials.  Findings suggest that even though the participants approached student questioning in unique ways, they shared a need for curricular control, often triggered by the pressures of standardized assessments, which influenced how they incorporated student questioning into their classrooms.  This study provides valuable insight into the promise of student questioning and factors that must be addressed if teachers are to incorporate student questioning in ways that foster meaningful inquiry.

Key words: student questioning, social studies, secondary education, inquiry, instructional choices, teachers

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