Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

1-1-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D. in Education

First Advisor

Ellen J Foster

Second Advisor

Richard Balkin

Third Advisor

Rosemary Oliphant-Ingham

School

University of Mississippi

Relational Format

dissertation/thesis

Abstract

This mixed-method study explores the implementation of Twin Text and its effectiveness in the U.S. History and English classrooms with regard to: mastery of the objectives laid out within the course curriculum, perpetuation of deeper learning, and fostering empathy and civic engagement through the use of Twin Text involving tenth and eleventh grade students and United States History and English teachers. The study answers the following questions: (1) What are the experiences of students in a Twin Text setting classroom environment? Three sub questions emerged: (A) In what ways does cross-curriculum teaching with an English Language Arts instructor affect student engagement? (B) How does using Twin Text foster student recognition of societal problems and appreciation of diverse perspectives? (C) What is the effect of cross-curricular teaching on student test scores when compared to students who receive traditional instructions? Data collection involved classroom observations, interviews, student journals, Interpersonal Relatively Index (IRI), and Mississippi Academic Assessment Program pre- and post-test data. The results of the study derived from the mixed-method data collection revealed that the paired classes did not reach greater content mastery; however, the student interviews indicated an improved student perception of understanding. The following themes emerged from student interviews: positive experiences, class enjoyment, shared experiences, connection between courses that made the material more understandable, better understanding with regard to background and chronology. Based upon the observation data, student engagement was higher in the paired classes than it was for students taking U.S. History class in isolation. The results from the study support the notion that teaching history is less effective if educators rely solely on textbooks as the main driver to teach the objectives. Educators can bridge the gap by teaching history through fiction.

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