A Convergent Parallel Mixed-Methods Study of Controversial Issues in Social Studies Classes: A Clash of Ideologies

Author/s: Selcuk Besir Demir, Nuray Pismek

DOI: 10.12738/estp.2018.1.0298 

Year: 2018 Vol: 18 Number: 1

Abstract

In today’s educational landscape, social studies classes are characterized by controversial issues (CIs) that teachers handle differently using various ideologies. These CIs have become more and more popular, particularly in heterogeneous communities. The actual classroom practices for teaching social studies courses are unclear in the context of Turkey. This study aims to investigate the extent to which social studies teachers’ ideologies are influential while teaching CIs and to examine the role of teachers’ personal characteristics in determining how their ideologies interfere with the way they present CIs in the classroom. Using a convergent mixed-methods parallel research design, the researchers delve into the way teachers handle CIs by collecting data through a survey, qualitative interviews, and observations. The data analysis indicates CIs to be abundant and teachers’ ideologies to highly influence the way they present these issues in social studies classrooms. The results also indicate that psycho-social reasons may be behind the act of bringing ideologies into class without paying attention to well-established scientific norms such as research, questioning, neutrality, and establishing a democratic environment for discussion when teaching social studies.

Keywords
Social studies classes, Controversial issues, Ideology-based instruction, Mixed-methods, Social polarization

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