The development and implementation of purposeful and powerful integrative social studies is dependent on teachers who have been given the time and resources necessary to engage in the decision-making process essential to thoughtful planning. This will allow for a better selection of content, resources, activities, and assessments for the classroom. Young learners do not become responsible, participating citizens automatically. They need to engage in frequent opportunities to make daily decisions about democratic concepts and principles that are respectful of the dignity and rights of individuals and the common good.
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They need to participate in learning experiences that involve core values of democracy, including freedom of speech and thought, equality of opportunity, justice, and diversity. Thoughtful and deliberate classroom engagement related to controversial or ethical issues provides opportunities for elementary students to practice critical thinking skills while examining multiple perspectives.
Challenging elementary school social studies can pave the way for lifelong learning and active citizenship. Challenging social studies instruction includes research, debates, discussions, projects of all varieties including the arts, and simulations that require application of critical thinking skills. Instead of simply reading and answering questions from textbooks, elementary students should be taught to inquire, question, evaluate, and challenge informational sources.
Teachers should ask young children compelling questions that stimulate decision-making, problem solving, and issue analysis. As new information or skills are presented, teachers facilitate discourse and students consider new ideas and assimilate multiple perspectives. They guide and facilitate rather than dictate learning. Effective elementary social studies instruction requires continuous support for successful student learning.
Social Studies for Secondary Schools: Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach
Teachers need adequate preparation and professional development, daily instructional time, ample resources, and assistance at the local, state, and national levels. If the status of elementary social studies education is to improve, then the education of teachers who have the responsibility for teaching those children will be a critical factor. Elementary teachers need sufficient content knowledge in the core disciplines and processes of social studies, skill in using a variety of teaching and assessment strategies, and the ability to locate, evaluate, and use appropriate resources.
Examples of active learning projects that are rich in content and exciting for children are published in the NCSS journal Social Studies and the Young Learner. As essential as all of this is, social studies can be brought to life only when teachers themselves have positive attitudes about social studies.
If teachers understand the importance of social studies in the early years, they are more likely to transfer their enthusiasm for social studies to their students. Ongoing professional development is also necessary for teachers to develop and monitor the curriculum. Effective professional development should model the kind of flexible, interactive teaching styles and instructional strategies that work well with children.
A specific daily block of time should be allocated for social studies equivalent to that provided for other core content. Equity requires that all programs have these resources, including visual images of diverse people and materials representing multiple perspectives. In an era of accountability, developing quality elementary social studies curricula and assessments requires collaboration among multiple stakeholders including teacher leaders, administrators, school districts, professional organizations, and government education agencies.
Effective standards-setting efforts involve coupling social studies standards with opportunities for children to learn in developmentally appropriate ways, not just with expectations for their performance. Elementary teachers must be explicit in advocating for social studies inside and outside of the classroom or school. Teachers need opportunities to be involved in the decisions that determine dedicated instructional time by grade level and what is taught in social studies, how social studies is taught, and what resources will be used.
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Success in the twenty-first century requires the ability to make rational decisions both independently and collectively. These abilities are not innate but are nurtured and developed through intentionally and carefully planned experiences. Students must have ample opportunities to practice social studies skills and concepts in multiple contexts. The social studies are as basic for success as reading, writing, mathematics, and science. If the young learners of this nation are to understand their roles and become effective participants in a democratic society, social studies must be an essential part of the elementary curriculum.
State and district policies must provide the time, resources, and professional development necessary to support exemplary social studies education. The democratic tradition of this country deserves an equal place in the elementary classroom. The founders of this country would expect nothing less. This statement is freely reproducible in any quantity for educational purposes. Fitchett, P. Heafner, and R. Heafner, and E. The mission of the National Council for the Social Studies is to advocate and build capacity for high-quality social studies by providing leadership, services, and support to educators.
National Council for the Social Studies. Search form. Search this site. Purpose of Elementary Social Studies The purpose of elementary school social studies is to enable students to understand, participate in, and make informed decisions about their world. Meaningful In order for social studies instruction to be meaningful, teachers must understand and meet the needs of their students. Integrative Social studies is integrative by nature. Value-Based Young learners do not become responsible, participating citizens automatically.
Challenging Challenging elementary school social studies can pave the way for lifelong learning and active citizenship.
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Recommendations for Implementing Powerful and Purposeful Elementary Social Studies Effective elementary social studies instruction requires continuous support for successful student learning. Enhance the effectiveness of elementary teacher preparation and continuing professional development If the status of elementary social studies education is to improve, then the education of teachers who have the responsibility for teaching those children will be a critical factor. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 33 5 , Ferguson, B.
Educational technology: An extended literature review. The discovery of grounded theory. Chicago: Aldine. Hope, W. Braun, P. White Eds. Keiper, T. Kook, J.
Educational Technology, 37 2 , Leh, A. ED Martorella, P.
Technology and social studies—Or: Which way to the sleeping giant? Theory and Research in Social Education, 25 4 , Mason, C. Technology application in social studies teacher education: A survey of social studies methods faculty. Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 3 3 , Merriam, S. Qualitative research and case study applications in education. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Molebash, P. K icks tart ing inquiry with WebQuests and web inquiry projects. Social Education, 67 3 , National School Board Foundation.
Teaching and Learning of Citizenship Education at the Junior Secondary Level in Botswana
Are we there yet? NSBF internet survey. The effects of technology on the attitudes of classroom teachers. ED Reeves, T. The impact of media and technology in schools: A research report prepared for the Bertelsmann Foundation. Using computers and technology in the socials tud ies classroom: A study of practical pedagogy. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Georgia State University, Atlanta. Saye, J. Technology in the classroom: The role of disposition in teacher gatekeeping.
Social Studies for Secondary Schools: Teaching to Learn, Learning to Teach - CRC Press Book
Journal of Curriculum and Supervision, 13 3 , The United States Department of Education. Retrieved January 10, , from www. International Journal of Instructional Media, 28 1 , Wenglinsky, H. F lunk ing ETS : How teaching matters. Education Matters, 1 2 , Educational Testing Service. White, C.
argo-karaganda.kz/scripts/wulehoco/3833.php Technology and social studies: An introduction. Social Education, 61 3 , Whitworth, S. Computer technology in the social studies: An examination of the effectiveness literature Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education, 2 4 , Barriers and challenges encountered by teachers in infusing technology into social studies classrooms after technology integration training.
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Related Social Studies for Secondary Schools: Teaching To Learn, Learning To Teach (2003)
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