This grounded theory study examined the perceptions of 14 high school social studies teachers from three school districts in the Central Florida area. They were interviewed to uncover the decision-making process that high school social studies teachers use to choose methodologies when teaching controversial public issues (CPIs). The result was a three-phase model, the CPI Decision-Making Model, in which teachers move through three conceptual phases to decide on a particular methodology. By working through this process, teachers analyze the benefits and drawbacks of different methods for teaching controversial public issues. Significant results from this study included: (a) teachers were choosing to avoid teaching CPIs with standard-level students with student-centered methods, (b) teachers received little to no training in alternative methods and no training in how to deal with controversy in the classroom, (c) teachers possibly overestimated their ability to remain neutral in the classroom, and (d) teachers were learning their methodologies for teaching CPIs through unorthodox means.
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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)
College of Community Innovation and Education
Learning Sciences and Educational Research
Curriculum and Instruction
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
Loomis, Sean, "Selecting Methods to Teach Controversial Topics: A Grounded Theory Study" (2019). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 6524.