Drawing on experiences in his social studies classroom, Houman Harouni evaluates both the challenges and possibilities of helping high school students develop critical research skills. The author describes how he used Wikipedia to design classroom activities that address issues of authorship, neutrality, and reliability in information gathering. The online encyclopedia is often lamented by teachers, scholars, and librarians, but its widespread use necessitates a new approach to teaching research. In describing the experience, Harouni concludes that teaching research skills in the contemporary context requires ongoing observations of the research strategies and practices students already employ as well as the active engagement of student interest and background knowledge.
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is a teacher with experience in both secondary and elementary school levels, in the United States and abroad. He has taught history, social studies, and mathematics, among other subjects. Harouni combines his practice with a research interest in the roles that teachers and students adopt in the classroom, and how factors such as economic class, resistance, and ideology can impact curriculum. He spends his summers in Iran, where he works as a teacher trainer, researcher, and advocate to create equitable educational opportunities for the disenfranchised Afghan refugee population.