Social Studies Research and Practice
Volume 5, Number 1, Spring 2010
Engaging 9/11 as a Learning Event: Teachers’ Perspectives Examined
Beverly B. Ray
Cynthia Lee A. Pemberton
Idaho State University
This study explored perspectives of secondary social studies teachers, who reported using live media broadcasts to engage students in an examination of terrorism on 9/11. Specifically, this study queried these teachers’ perceptions of preparedness on 9/11 to engage it as a learning event. Respondents (N=29) in one Mid-Atlantic state who were teaching in secondary social studies classrooms on September 11, 2001 (9/11), were asked to reflect on their level of preparedness to adapt and implement real-time teaching to address unfolding events. A Wilcoxon Signed Ranks Test for matched pairs revealed that respondents’ current perceptions of self-efficacy to teach about an unfolding terrorist act were positively modified by their experiences teaching about terrorism on 9/11 [Z = -4.507, p <.001 (two tailed)]. Respondents reported gains in confidence to teach about terrorism because of their teaching experiences on 9/11. Results add to the small knowledge base on the topic, even as they highlight the need for further research on the classroom response to 9/11.
Key words: 9/11, current events, media literacy, preparedness and response, secondary social studies teachers, terrorism-specific professional development