Date of Completion


Embargo Period



orientations, vision of practice, simulation, social studies, preservice teacher education, control, powerful teaching, formidable pedagogies

Major Advisor

Alan S. Marcus

Associate Advisor

Thomas H. Levine

Associate Advisor

David M. Moss

Field of Study

Curriculum and Instruction


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Campus Access


In this qualitative, comparative instrumental case study of two powerful high school social studies teachers, I explore the perspectives of Rosalie Green and Josh Pollan around the use of simulations in their classrooms as well as their instantiated practices with simulations. I incorporated practice theory and goal oriented decision making theory as the theoretical basis for this study. Over the course of eight months, I collected data in order to capture my participants’ lived experiences and enacted practices in order to better understand why teachers choose to use simulations, and to conceptualize the challenges they face in doing so as they try to teach in powerful ways. To do so, I employed multiple methods of data collection including individual phenomenological interviews, observations, collection of contextual documents, a written vision of practice, and a peer-led group interview.

The findings from this dissertation include: 1) Participants held coherent orientational frameworks consistent with their visions of ideal practice that helped to guide and shape their enacted practice with simulations. 2) Participants faced a number of challenges which centered around facets of control. Specifically, it was difficult to avoid engaging in ‘hard control’—overt efforts to exert overt control over student dynamics—that diminished dynamism and increased negative student behaviors, in favor of ‘soft control’—subtle efforts to influence the dynamics—that instead increased the fidelity and dynamism of simulations. 3) Each participant approached their successful practice with simulations in different ways, emphasizing either advanced preparation or concurrent support and guidance. Implications include suggestions for supporting preservice to establish coherent orientational frameworks and visions of practice; affording preservice and novice teachers with increased opportunities to engage in practice with simulations and other formidable pedagogies and increased mentoring support; more explicit opportunities for preservice teachers to learn how to utilize classroom control constructively; and possible alternatives to current models of teacher preparation that may hold more promise for providing teachers with the skills and knowledge they need to engage more effectively in powerful teaching practices.