Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Shin, Eui-kyung

Second Advisor

Henning, Mary Beth

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CI)


This study explored the personal epistemological beliefs of three veteran secondary-level history teachers concerning the teaching of history, how students learn history, how those beliefs are enacted, and the congruence of those beliefs with teaching practices. Using a qualitative approach, data were gathered through the Beliefs about History Questionnaire, observational data, and in-depth teacher interviews including a think-aloud and video-based interview. Personal epistemological beliefs and historical reasoning provided frameworks to examine the description of beliefs and congruence of those beliefs in instructional practices.

The findings show that the teachers’ personal epistemological beliefs were shaped by their own experiences as learners and teachers. Also, their personal epistemological beliefs indicated that teachers’ see their history instruction as an urgent need but when confronted with time constraints, cut explicit civic competence connections. Finally, although the teachers struggled to describe their personal epistemological beliefs, their actions demonstrated sophisticated beliefs concerning the nature of knowledge and knowing in history.

Based on the findings, it is recommended that teachers engage in high quality professional learning, including seeking out additional resources for models or conducting a lesson study, that help them consider the framework of their beliefs and challenge their assumptions. These shared conversations and learning experiences with colleagues or instructional coaches, help to challenge teachers to self-reflect on the congruencies between their described beliefs and instructional practices. Further, administrators should design curriculum maps that explicitly articulate the beliefs upon which it is based and actively work to remove obstacles to implementation while providing professional learning and support to teachers. Finally, teacher preparation programs should continue to model instructional practices focused on historical reasoning while helping pre-service educators reflect upon their own personal epistemological beliefs about history.


239 pages




Northern Illinois University

Rights Statement

In Copyright

Rights Statement 2

NIU theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from Huskie Commons for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without the written permission of the authors.

Media Type