Textbooks and Constructivist Pedagogy in Saudi Arabian School Classrooms

Rashid Al-Abdulkareem, Guilbert C. Hentschke


Constructivist theories of teaching and learning have continued to grow in popularity among educational policymakers, but it is far less certain whether constructivist teaching practices have found their way into most classrooms.Textbooks, arguably the most important non-personnel instructional resource in classrooms, heavily influence whatteachers teach and how, but how much textbooks support constructivist pedagogy in particular is unclear. Thepurpose of this study is to assess constructivist practices in classrooms by exploring the opinions of Saudi Arabianteachers about the degree to which their textbooks adopt and support principles of social constructivism and thedegree to which these principles vary by subject matter specialization. We gather information on 31 characteristicsof textbooks identified as “constructivist” from 231 intermediate grade teachers across multiple subject areas inRiyadh. Teachers’ responses to items framed on a Likert scale were frequency analyzed, and degrees of differenceassociated with teacher subject matter background were tested using one-way analysis of variance. Results indicatedthat (1) textbooks only minimally support constructivist pedagogical practices and (2) textbook emphases onconstructivist pedagogical practices do not vary significantly by subject matter area. Despite extensive policy supportto the contrary, Saudi Arabian textbooks foster at best only very modest levels of constructivist practices inclassrooms. This effect was consistent across different subject matter fields. Implications for educational policymakers and for future research are discussed.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jct.v3n2p13


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Copyright (c) 2014 Rashid Al-Abdulkareem, Guilbert C. Hentschke

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