Are we simulating the status quo? A critical analysis of selected simulations used in social studies classrooms

Date of Completion

January 2007


Education, Social Sciences|Education, Curriculum and Instruction




Reflective educators constantly try to devise ways to make classroom learning more experiential and engaging for their students. Teachers have consistently looked to activities that assist in learning and allow students to experience the world outside of the classroom. Simulations seemed to encompass the experiential component allowing students to experience situations they might face outside of the classroom. Advocates of simulations purport that they are one of the most effective ways of teaching new concepts and ideas that allows for participation, engagement, and the ability for students to take risks in a safe environment. But as critical research has demonstrated, texts often reproduce hegemonic ideology. This study critically analyzes four text-based simulations for their latent and manifested ideological content. The data demonstrates that simulations reproduce dominant ideology, and as Edward Said argued about Western European discourses of the "Other," create and sustain their topic through discursive reproduction. The study ends with suggestions on how teachers can employ simulations in building a critical social studies pedagogy.^