Date of Award

Fall 12-13-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Secondary Education



Committee Chair

Dr. Guichun Zong

First Committee Member

Dr. Ivan Manuel Jorrin-Abellan

Second Committee Member

Dr. Reta Ugena Whitlock


The purpose of this study is to explore teachers' philosophical and pedagogical views regarding their definitions of historical thinking. Staff development intended to train teachers in this method of instruction is also reflected upon by the participants. The goal of the study is to investigate how teachers create opportunities for practice through their own understanding of the phenomena of the construction of historical knowledge through their pre-service education and current classroom experience, the application of that understanding to their pedagogy, and what they consider to be beneficial staff development.

The research design for this study is a phenomenological case study centering on three teachers’ stories. The phenomenon of historical thinking is investigated through analysis of interviews and focus groups conducted with three world history teachers.

The participants stated varying levels of comfort in using historical thinking in their classrooms. All participants saw value in historical literacy and document analysis, though they differed in incorporating these activities in their classroom activities. Teachers expressed frustration with the amount and quality of world history professional development available. Participants stressed the importance of integrating PRD analysis strategies into lessons.

A strong background in social science education, at the bachelor’s degree or master’s degree level, may lead to increased comfort in using primary resource documents to demonstrate and reinforce historical thinking skills. Teachers require staff development to strengthen historical thinking pedagogical practice in the world history classroom. By improving teacher skills, the students benefit from higher rigor and more effective instructional techniques.