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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Graduate School


The problem statement. The twelfth grade social studies in the Merced Union High School District had been traditional in its organization and structure until the mid 1960's. 10 At that time the district-began to encourage teachers of government to draft new goals and innovate new methods of instruction in the government curriculum. Three separate methods of teaching twelfth grade social studies emerged as a result of that encouragement. In the Atwater High School, an activity-centered approach uses team teaching in which the emphasis is on having students involved in "doing" rather than listening and reading about government. This method includes such activities as learning activity packages, simulated games, a moot court using actual trial transcripts that the students themselves have obtained from county records, a mock assembly run by students to see the workings of a state government, and a mock convention to learn about the processes of national politics.

In contrast, a second high school, Livingston High School, teaches twelfth grade government in a traditional method: lecture, class discussion, readings from a basic text, and examinations at the end of given units of subject matter. A third high school, Merced High School, North Campus, teaches government using an activity-traditional approach. In this approach, Time magazine is used as the basic text. Articles are read and discussed by the entire class. A lecture is then given by the instructor to link the current event aspect of the selected articles to their historical backgrounds. The basic text used in the district is used as a source for reference materials. The program is traditional in the sense that instruction is teacher centered more than student centered. The student activities consist of learning-activity packages, student debates, and independent study. (See Appendix F.)

The question under investigation then is: Will instruction in twelfth grade social studies utilizing a student-activity method be a more effective method of preparing students in the cognitive and affective areas of citizenship than instruction using a traditional method or a combination traditional activity method of instruction?

An experimental design will be used to compare the innovative classes emphasizing student activities with traditional classes and classes taught in a combination traditional-activity method.



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