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Title:Attitudes of Secondary Social Studies and English Teachers Toward the Classroom Examination and Treatment of Controversial Issues
Author(s):Engel, Samuel Louis
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cox, C. Benjamin
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Secondary
Education, Social Sciences
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to investigate the attitudes of social studies and English teachers toward the examination of controversial issues in their classrooms. The attitudes of teachers who taught both social studies and English were also examined.
The study was conducted within eight counties of a midwestern state. Surveyed were 337 secondary social studies (n = 147) and English (n = 190) teachers. The survey instrument, the East Central Illinois Social Issues Teacher Questionnaire, consisted of three questions that asked respondents to rate 27 statements which reflect teacher attitudes toward the use of controversial issues and related themes as well as other questions.
Some factors included in the study were the amount of time teachers treat controversial issues, teachers' awareness of district policy concerning treatment of controversial issues, and which controversial issues the teachers would and would not discuss with students.
Statistical treatment of the statistical data included attention to frequencies, percentages, means, standard deviations, and analysis of variance.
Conclusions. Collectively, 75% of the teachers reported spending up to 25% of their class time examining controversial issues. Membership in state or national teaching organizations did not increase or decrease the amount of time spent examining social issues. Higher percentages of female English teachers than male English teachers ranked sanction reasons (administrative disapproval, community pressure groups, and parental criticism) as reasons for not discussing some controversial issues. Male social studies teachers were more likely than female social studies teachers to rank sanction reasons for not discussing controversial issues. Low percentages of teachers working in both rural (3%) and urban (13%) schools knew whether their district had a controversial issues policy. Social studies teachers identified religion and school policy as issues they would not discuss with students. English teachers identified abuse and school policy as controversial issues they would not discuss with students.
The general conclusion is that secondary social studies and English teachers report that they are examining controversial issues with their students and that they are willing to discuss a variety of issues they deem controversial, such as abortion, abuse, drugs, gangs, racism, suicide, and teen sex.
Issue Date:1993
Description:110 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9329022
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1993

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