Abstract 5- Volume 2, Number 3, Winter 2007

Social Studies Research and Practice

Volume 2, Number 3, Winter 2007


Using Local Oral History in the Elementary Classroom

Ruth S. Busby
University of South Alabama

Janie D. Hubbard
University of Montevallo


Increased accountability and emphasis on teaching reading and mathematics have left little time for social studies instruction in elementary schools. The results are that students have deficits in social studies content knowledge and pre-service teachers lack exposure to exemplary instructional strategies. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of oral history as a strategy for social studies instruction implemented by a group of preservice teachers. This oral history project was a collaborative effort among 57 university pre-service teachers in Alabama, 40 local elementary school fourth graders and their 3 teachers, and 5 community members serving as interviewees. Findings indicate overall positive attitudes by pre-service teachers’ concerning the use of this strategy, a renewed interest in history as a discipline, and acquired social studies teaching efficacy. Elementary students gained content knowledge and interest in learning history.

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About the Author(s)…

Ruth Busby is an instructor at the University of South Alabama in Mobile. She currently teaches undergraduate social studies methods courses as well as coordinating field experiences for students in the semester before student teaching.  She is a National Board Certified Teacher and is currently a doctoral student at the University of West Florida.  Her research interests include collecting oral histories in elementary schools, brain research, reflective teaching practices, social studies education, teacher education, and social justice. Email:  rbusby@usouthal.edu

Janie Hubbard is an assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Montevallo in Alabama and teaches elementary social studies methods and the integrated curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  She has several years of experience as an elementary educator in various U.S. public and international school settings.  Her research interests include social studies curriculum and instruction, teacher collaboration, oral history, and peace education. Email:  JDH1017@aol.com