Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs


Diane Ball

Publication Date



In 2006, the Japanese American National Museum funded a three year curriculum development project entitled Enduring Communities: Japanese Americans in Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Utah. As a member of the team of teachers from New Mexico, I used this experience to study my process of developing meaningful content and pedagogy about Japanese American internment for U.S. History and Civics courses at the secondary level. History is full of stories involving characters, actions, events, artifacts and analysis by those within the experience and those studying the experience in an academic setting. Understanding the past means knowing how what happened was shaped by a multiplicity of factors including the lives of those affected then and now. Developing this kind of historical knowledge was transformative; ideas became more important than facts. For the student, it meant learning to analyze and synthesize information to expand their thinking beyond a single event. Civil liberties for example, could be examined through the lens of the Japanese American experience during World War II. Narrative inquiry provides a methodology to document as well as analyze this personal story of curriculum development. Using Clandinin and Connelleys (2000, 2002) three-dimensional narrative inquiry space, the study focused on the context of the experience, the temporality of locating events within a larger framework, story-telling and metaphor as a way to describe the experience, and the inclusion of different voices to explore point-of-view. Data included journal entries, primary sources, video tapes, readings of both historical and pedagogical materials, student work from field tests, and interviews with team members and museum personnel. The conclusions were that (1) teacher-driven curriculum development is an under-utilized process leading to effective instruction in the classroom, (2) teachers voices need to be included and valued within the field of curriculum development, (3) experiences like the Enduring Communities Project are invaluable professional development opportunities for teachers, and (4) the combination of research, pedagogy and time are crucial components of effective teaching. Future studies should explore the need for teacher-driven curriculum and study the connections between theorists, theory and practice in the secondary social studies classroom.'


Secondary Social Studies Curriculum, Curriculum Development, Social Studies, Narrative Inquiry, Reflection, Reflective Teacher Practice, Teacher-driven curriculum development


Japanese American National Museum

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Mitchell, Rosalita

Second Committee Member

Pence, Lucretia