What Knowledge is of Most Worth? Divergent Content Knowledge Filters in Social Studies Education

Thomas Misco


This study explored the divergent content knowledge that pre-service social studies teachers negotiate during their collegiate experience. Given the array of competing canonical forces, including university departments, state departments of education, the Praxis II subject test, and local content standards, as well as the variability of social studies content course requirements within different universities, I explored student perceptions of content courses as they relate to these forces. The findings revealed that students perceive their content preparation to be overly general and disconnected from the Praxis II exam. Yet, students suggested that university courses helped prepare them to teach, and they expressed a desire for more content courses and fewer education courses. Finally, in response to the problem of canonical divergence, this article suggests blurring the divisions between university content departments, departments of teacher education, and K-12 schools, as well as teaching some content courses in teacher education.


social studies education, curriculum, teacher education

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.3776/joci.%25y.v6i2p10-32


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