In fact, the idea that purpose matters in teaching social studies has received renewed interest over the past decade (Barton & Levstik
, 2004; Conklin, 2010; Dinkelman, 2009; Evans, 2012; Hawley, 2010, 2012; Hawley, Pifel, & Jordan, 2012; Powell & Hawley, 2009; Thornton, 2005, 2006).
According to Levstik
, "teaching is influenced by teachers' sense of purpose, their understanding of students' capabilities, and their expectations regarding institutional support" (pp.
A gamut of factors inform teacher learning including a teacher's knowledge of content, pedagogy, curriculum, assessment and so forth--ranging from teacher identity (Britzman, 2003; Richardson, 2003), teacher cognition (Shulman, 1986b; Wineburg & Wilson, 2001), and the ways in which teachers position disciplinary knowledge in their classrooms (Adler, 2008; Grant, 2003; Levstik
& Barton, 2001).
Given the NCLB legislation and the Reading First programs, school districts began seeking valuable information about integrating literature and reading into every subject area, from music to physical education and mathematics (El-Hindi, 2003; Lake, 1993; Pappas, Keifer, & Levstik
, 1995; Strickland, 1994-95; Tunnel & Ammon, 1993; Van Middendorp & Lee, 1994).
This finds corroboration from Freeman and Levstik
(1988: 331) who explain that
In social education, history educators have made a significant start at building the same kind of knowledge base for how students understand historical ideas and processes (Barton and Levstik
2004; Seixas 2004; Wineburg 2001).
According to Levstik
(1985) good fiction or nonfiction literature can capture the reader's interest through the characters and the places associated with the characters.
In these less-structured placements, in which candidates had more contact time with individual and small groups of students than they would in traditional classrooms, many candidates allowed themselves to learn from students, rather than be consumed by the perennial concerns of "controlling students' behavior and covering content" (Barton & Levstik
, 2010, p.
It is widely accepted within academic circles that teaching social studies from a diverse perspective that critically questions traditional notions of history is beneficial for the civic development of all students due to the increased empathy and cultural understanding that is achieved from doing so (Banks, 1990; Barton & Levstik
, 2004; Ladson-Billings, 2003; Ogbu, 1992; Wills, 1996).
Through art, early childhood learners can live vicariously in different eras and geographical areas, which leads them toward historical understanding (Dewey, 1934; Levstik
& Barton, 2005).
The last two decades have seen a revived interest in connecting children's literature and the teaching of history in the classroom (Allen & Landaker, 2004; Ammon & Tunnell, 1992; Levstik
& Pappas, 1990; Zarnowski, 2006).
Amy's view was consistent with results of recent research (Downey & Levstik
, 1991; Wilson, 1991).