Date of Award

Winter 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Transformative Education and Social Change


There is a general consensus that the purpose of social studies education is to prepare students for citizenship in a democracy. The question is what kind of citizenship? The history of social studies education is a mix of cultural transmission and teaching critical / reflective thinking. The former authoritarian model creates passive citizens who reproduce society’s inequalities. The latter reconstructive model teaches critical consciousness and empowers engaged citizens to protect our democracy and take collective action for social justice. Informed by a critical pedagogical perspective, I believe social studies teachers need to use alternative media in their classrooms to challenge dominant narratives perpetuated by official curricula. Alternative media can shed light on achievements of multicultural and social histories that we might wish to repeat. This will help students value diverse perspectives and learn empathy so that they can work together for change. Further, we must teach critical media literacy to equip our students to make informed decisions about the information they consume and challenge hegemony by producing their own alternative media. These values and skills are evermore important as our world becomes increasingly impacted by globalization and digital technology. I have designed a series of teacher workshops to facilitate critical reflection and action with my peers that will transform social studies classrooms for the purposes of achieving these goals.