Fostering constructivist communities of learners in the amalgamated multi-discipline of social studies
This paper shows how the knowledge structures and traditions of the amalgamated multi-discipline of social studies at once help and hinder the use of constructivist instructional models. I interpret the planning process of two 'Fostering a Community of Learners' units and examine how these two units are implemented by four teachers, given their domain-specific knowledge and modes of thinking. The data suggest that the pragmatism of social studies, as well as the idea of multiple perspectives constituting social scientific and social studies knowledge, makes this field a prime candidate for constructivist modes of thinking and the design of expert and jigsaw sequences. But the weak relationship of the subject to referent disciplines and the pragmatic reliance on proven activities makes for weak conceptual synthesis in the teaching units.