Maryland Middle School Teachers' Perceptions of Instructional Time Allotted to Social Studies

James Williard Eaton, Jr., Walden University


As part of the 2001 No Child Left Behind federal statute, U.S. lawmakers reduced the

amount of time that teachers could spend on social studies instruction in favor of

devoting more instructional time to other core content areas. The Middle Years Program

(MYP) is present in many local middle schools in Maryland, where MYP teachers spend

equal instructional time on all subjects. The purposes of this qualitative study were to

gauge teachers' perceptions of the MYP and clarify the amount of instructional time

being devoted to social studies education in middle schools. The research questions

addressed teachers' perceptions of the allotted social studies instructional time and how

their personal teaching practices addressed the possible marginalization of social studies

within their schools. Guided by Bruner's constructivist framework, 6 MYP teachers from

2 Maryland middle schools were interviewed face-to-face and administered a survey on

instructional time. Thematic analysis was used to interrogate the data. Teachers reported

that the MYP in their schools provided adequate instructional time for social studies, and

they incorporated interdisciplinary supports and MYP skills to teach globally-minded

students. Findings suggest that reduced instructional time had no negative effects on

teacher participants' instruction. Based on findings, a policy recommendation report was

developed, which included the recommendation that the Maryland State Department of

Education survey results be analyzed and disseminated to county leaders to ensure

communication between levels of government. By communicating teachers' perspectives

to county and school administration about how to incorporate aspects of the MYP into

lessons, this study may improve students' experiences in social studies courses as a result

of communication between educational leaders.