Students’ Perspectives on Social Studies Teachers’ Views on Immigration and Nationalism

William David McCorkle, Hannah Jeffries


This mixed-methods study examines students’ perspectives on their high school social studies teachers’ views and pedagogy surrounding the issues of immigration, nationalism, and patriotism within the classroom. The article is based within the framework of critical pedagogy, particularly critical nationalism. The sample (N=58) comes from students enrolled in an introductory education course at a university in the American Southeast. The quantitative data revealed students believed their teachers tended towards more inclusive views towards immigration overall, but they were more exclusive towards undocumented immigration. They also tended to have high levels of patriotism and more moderate levels of nationalism. The qualitative data revealed a lack of discussion on immigration, which related to a larger fear of discussing contemporary issues of controversy within the classroom. This study has strong relevance for both educators and teachers educators in critically and thoroughly examining issues such as nationalism and immigration particularly in more conservative settings like the American Southeast where these topics are often given little more than a cursory overview. 


immigration, critical nationalism, teachers attitudes, social studies education

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