Teaching higher-order thinking in social studies: The role of content coverage and intellectual challenge

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.11576/jsse-5808

Keywords:

higher-order thinking, second-order social science concepts, intellectual challenge, citizenship education

Abstract

Purpose: The study aimed at investigating the prevalence and characteristics of classroom practices geared at promoting higher-order social studies thinking, and the potential dilemma for teachers between focusing on explaining knowledge to and intellectually challenging students. 

Design/methodology/approach: A comparative design using data from naturalistic classroom observations of 80 social studies lessons in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. We deployed the PLATO observation system to systematically measure intellectual challenge and the conceptual complexity of teacher explanations across the three countries.

Findings: We found evidence that many teachers promoted higher-order thinking to varying degrees within and across the three countries. Furthermore, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish teachers seemed to focus on different teaching practices related to higher-order thinking.

Practical implications: These findings provide important empirical knowledge about naturally occurring classroom practices in the Nordic context that may be relevant for teachers to reflect on higher-order thinking in social studies.

Author Biographies

Peter Nicolai Aashamar, University of Oslo

is a researcher and PhD fellow at the Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo. His main research interest are classroom studies, social studies education, education for democracy and citizenship, and sociology of knowledge.

Kirsti Klette, University of Oslo

is professor at the Department of Teacher Education and School Research, University of Oslo. She is also Centre Director at Nordic Centre of Excellence Quality in Nordic Teaching (QUINT). Some of her research interests include classroom studies, video analysis, and teaching quality.

Anders Stig Christensen , UCL University College

is lecturer at the teacher education UCL University College in Odense, Denmark. His research interests include social studies education, civic education, education for democracy, and comparative education.

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Further information

Published

2024-03-26

How to Cite

Aashamar, P. N., Klette, K., & Christensen , A. S. (2024). Teaching higher-order thinking in social studies: The role of content coverage and intellectual challenge. JSSE - Journal of Social Science Education, 23(1). https://doi.org/10.11576/jsse-5808

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