Although inquiry-based instruction has been a centerpiece of progressive visions of social studies education almost since its inception as a school subject a century ago, teachers often struggle to conceptualize it in ways that make true inquiry possible for their students. In this essay I suggest that social educators strengthen their connection with John Dewey’s pragmatic epistemology as the foundation of inquiry-based teaching in social studies, arguing in support of an approach that holds the promise of advancing goals associated with meaningful democratic citizenship education.

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