Harvard Educational Review
  1. Spring 2021 Issue »

    How Social Studies Teachers Choose News Resources for Current Events Instruction

    Integrating current events and news media in the curriculum is essential to social studies teachers’ efforts to promote critical citizenship skills. In this mixed-methods study, Christopher H. Clark, Mardi Schmeichel, and H. James Garrett draw from a survey of more than one thousand social studies teachers to examine factors that influence the frequency of teachers’ current events instruction and their choices of news resources for use in their classes. They found that respondents’ ideologies influenced the number and type of sources they preferred and that teachers listed studentfocused reasons like reading accessibility more than news-focused criteria like in-depth reporting as reasons for their choices. These findings have significant consequences for researchers and teacher educators who must find ways to help teachers discard assumptions that news sources are neutral or without perspective. The authors maintain that if teachers are to help students develop the ability to interpret news media within a complicated political and informational landscape, they must be better prepared to think critically about the news sources they incorporate into their lessons.

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    Christopher H. Clark (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0936-4444) is an assistant professor of secondary education in the Department of Teaching, Leadership, and Professional Practice at the University of North Dakota. His research focuses on how teachers and students think about politics, civic life, and media. His work has appeared in numerous journals, including Educational Researcher, Theory and Research in Social Education, and Democracy and Education.

    Mardi Schmeichel (https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7765-7076) is an associate professor in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She researches news media literacy in social studies education, social media practices, and neoliberalism and works with feminist, critical, and post-structural theories to examine how power functions to create norms that govern lived experiences in schools and to challenge the inequities those norms enable. Her work has appeared in Gender and Education, Curriculum Inquiry, American Educational Research Journal, and Journal of Media Literacy Education, among other publications.

    H.James (Jim) Garrett (https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1674-1404) is an associate professor of social studies education at the Mary Frances Early College of Education, University of Georgia. His research focuses on the diffcult conditions of teaching and learning around issues of societal unrest, upheaval, and massive violence. His most recent work has appeared in Theory and Research in Social Education, Journal of Curriculum Studies, and The Social Studies. He is the author of Learning to Be in the World with Others: Diffcult Knowledge and Social Studies Education (Peter Lang, 2017).