Abstract 2- Volume 2, Number 1, Spring 2007

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 2, Number 1, Spring 2007



Taxing Praxis: One Social Studies’ Teacher’s Journey with Experiential Education

Kathryn M. Obenchain
Bob Ives
University of Nevada, Reno

Launie Gardner
Truckee Meadows Community College High School


This study examines one social studies teacher’s experience developing and implementing an Experiential Education-based (EE) curriculum and her reflection on the experience of putting theory and research into practice. Using a qualitative case study research strategy, we focused on the single case of the teacher’s experience. We identified four categories related to the implementation of EE elements into her classes: (a) teacher’s values, (b) students’ values, (c) teacher directedness versus student directedness, and (d) accountability. We used the teacher’s values as the central category for our discussion to explore how these values conflicted and coordinated with manifestations of the other categories. Through this study, we learned more about the importance of teachers as researchers and the value of university and school collaboration. However, the critical result was the disconnect between what is valued by the teacher and what is assessed and the need for a continued examination of this issue.

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About the Author(s)…

Kathy Obenchain is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Specialties (EDS) specializing in K-12 social studies education. She earned her Ph.D. at Purdue University. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in social studies education, civic education, as well as general courses in teacher education. Research interests include civic education and civic literacy, both in the United States and developing democracies. Contact information: kmo@unr.edu, University of Nevada, Reno.

Bob Ives is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Specialties (EDS) focusing on special education. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in educational assessment, research methods, and special education. His recent publications have addressed issues in educational research design, teacher education, educational assessment, and special education. Contact information rives@unr.edu, University of Nevada, Reno.

Launie Gardner teaches 11th and 12th grade English and social studies at Truckee Meadows Community College High School. She earned her Master of Arts in Teaching English (MATE) from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is also involved with the Northern Nevada Writing Project, an affiliate of the National Writing Project and the Great Basin Food Cooperative. Contact information: lgardner@sbcglobal.net.