This study aims to identify the benefits acquired by third-year pre-service elementary school teachers
participating in a problem-based learning process in social studies education, the issues they
encountered in that process and those they are likely to encounter, and their feelings about the
process. Semi-structured interviews were used as one of the qualitative research methods. During the
2014 to 2015 academic year, problem situations related to the subjects of “Historical Values” and
“Being a Child in Africa” were studied for five weeks through problem-based learning in the social
studies education course. At the end of the process, 16 pre-service teachers with perfect attendance
and active participation were interviewed. The interviews were recorded on tape recorders. The
obtained data were analyzed via content analysis. The results indicate that problem-based learning
(PBL) offers positive reflections/benefits to pre-service elementary school teachers in terms of learning,
democracy education, and skills acquisition in social studies education classes. Although one
participant considered the course unproductive, the pre-service teachers mostly had positive opinions
regarding the problem-based learning process.
Key words: Problem-based learning (PBL), benefits, issues, social studies, elementary school teacher.