Date of Award

Spring 2010

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Linda Bol

Committee Member

Shana Pribesh

Committee Member

Meghan Manfra


In this descriptive, mixed methods study, the researcher investigated secondary social studies teachers' college course experiences with and classroom use of historical thinking skills (HTS). Questionnaires were distributed to 160 teachers in a large public school system in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. Forty percent of the questionnaires were returned. From the 40%, a purposeful sample was created. Observations, interviews, and analysis of instructional documents were used to gather data from the purposeful sample. The results showed that high school social studies teachers reported a range of experiences with and use of HTS. Teachers reported more exposure to HTS in content courses than in methods courses. Teachers reported differences in experiences based on years of teaching experience and degree. The majority of teachers reported limited exposure to and use of explicit instruction. They reported using a variety of sources in their classrooms. Overall, the responses to the open-ended items suggested that teachers used HTS in college courses to varying degrees, they included sources in their lessons, and they desired specific training related to FITS and their teaching assignments. Both the interviews and observations produced evidence of HTS. During the interviews teachers reported more exposure to HTS in content courses as opposed to methods courses. They also described different activities that they include in their lessons that address I ITS. The classroom observations indicated that teachers incorporated diverse sources into their lessons. Teachers used questioning techniques to involve students with critical analysis of source material. Overall, teachers experienced and used corroboration and contextualization more so than sourcing or explicit instruction.