A qualitative study of the pedagogical content knowledge and personal orientations toward economics of award-winning secondary economics teachers

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Cheryl A. Ayers (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Wayne Journell

Abstract: Historically, economic education has been predominantly characterized by low student achievement, lack of teacher preparation, and quantitative research findings. Detailed descriptions of what effective economic instruction looks like in secondary classrooms remain scarce. Therefore, the purpose of this qualitative case study was to gain an in-depth understanding of how the personal orientations toward economics of three award-winning secondary economic teachers influenced their instruction and how these teachers demonstrated their pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) in their instruction. Specifically investigated was how the economic teachers demonstrated horizon content knowledge, specialized content knowledge, knowledge of content and teaching, and knowledge of content and students. Data collection methods included classroom observations, teacher interviews and questionnaires, student surveys and tests, and artifacts. Guided by a PCK theoretical framework, a qualitative analysis of the data suggested that the most influential personal orientation factors included the teachers’ life and professional experiences, disciplinary background, political leanings, economic course beliefs, and economic instructional goals. All three teachers consistently demonstrated their PCK by connecting economic content to other grades and subjects as well as other economic concepts and skills. Economic content was also regularly used to prepare students for citizenship, including casting more informed votes and understanding current events. However, authentic discussions and controversial issues were mostly lacking. An emphasis was placed on developing students’ economic reasoning skills, including real-world applications of the economic way of thinking and decision making models. Active learning instructional practices were also frequently incorporated, and economic content was almost always related to students’ interests and experiences. Modest gains were achieved in students’ economic attitudes and knowledge midway through the yearlong course. Implications for classroom instruction and teacher education include teaching a basic economic course focused on life skills, integrating more assignments in social studies methods courses that develop PCK in economics, and offering an economic methods course.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Case study research, Economic education, Pedagogical content knowledge, Personal orientation, Secondary education, Teacher education
Economics $x Study and teaching (Secondary) $z United States $x Case studies
Economics teachers $z United States $x Attitudes $v Case studies
High school teachers $z United States $x Attitudes $v Case studies
Pedagogical content knowledge $z United States $v Case studies
Effective teaching $z United States $v Case studies
Teacher effectiveness $z United States $x Case studies

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