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Professor Champions Discipline-Driven Teaching

Adrea Lawrence is bringing discipline-driven social studies teaching methods to the School of Education, Teaching, and Health’s teacher training program (SETH).

In summer 2007, the professor piloted Social Studies Methods II. The course lets students look at primary social studies texts from the perspectives of different disciplines to see how content drives pedagogy, rather than the other way around. A version of the course will soon be offered all MAT students with a concentration in secondary education.

 

Exploring Multidisciplinary Approaches

“Understanding a field of study is understanding the central questions that shape it, understanding the types of data and evidence that researchers [within that discipline] collect, and understanding how they not only analyze that data, but how they report on it,” Lawrence explains. “If we are interested in learning how one thinks within a particular field, then actually applying the methods that they use during that thinking is essential.”

Lawrence presented the results of her research last July at the International Social Science Conference in Prato, Italy. She hopes to follow up with a more comprehensive analysis by interviewing professors from other schools.

In addition, Lawrence continues to research the historic dynamics between public schools and American Indian communities. She has been analyzing the early-20th-century correspondence between a teacher at a Pueblo day school and her supervisor, who ran an Indian boarding school. She hopes to complete a book manuscript based on this work later this year.