Collective Action for Social Justice: An Exploration into Preservice Social Studies Teachers’ Conceptions of Discussion as a Tool for Equity

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

The Journal of Social Studies Research


The International Society for the Social Studies

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

An extensive body of research details the lack of discussion and collaboration occurring in K12 classrooms in the United States. This study seeks to examine this issue by exploring the associations preservice social studies teachers make between the underlying principles of democratic education and the use of discussion in the social studies classroom. The present qualitative multi-case study uses a collection of field-based data and university coursework to examine how six preservice social studies teachers at a large southeastern university conceptualize and value discussion as a pedagogical approach. Findings suggest that preservice social studies teachers do see value in the use of discussion and associate it with broad themes of democratic education. However, because their understandings of democratic education are often vague and unclear, the associations being made often do not reflect the work being conducted within academia in regards to social justice.