Teachers' Views on Teaching Current Events in Social Studies

Article excerpt

Abstract

In order to achieve its goals, the Social Studies course should convey social events, which took place within or out of the school context, into the classroom environment. Current events can be very beneficial so as to transfer the social events into classroom environment in the Social Studies courses. In this study, semi structured interview method was employed in order to figure out the circumstances of current events in the classroom by Social Studies teachers. The researcher interviewed 20 social studies teachers from low, mid and high socio-economic level schools. The data obtained from these interviews were analyzed using descriptive analysis and presented. Findings of this study showed that social studies teachers believe the importance of using current events in the classroom environment. Results also showed that teachers use current events in their classrooms in various times through different sources like newspapers and television. Additionally, results indicated that teacher use different methods and techniques during teaching current events such as question-answer, investigation tasks, discussion, and role playing. According to the findings, teachers face problems in teaching current events.

Key Words

Social Studies, Current Events, Teacher Opinions.

In the society, country and world where an individual lives, many innovations take place and these changes concern individuals more or less. The aim of social studies courses is to train active and democratic individuals who have desired behavioral outcomes, develop decision-making skills, and contribute to current events by reacting. All these expected outcomes depend on the quality of education. To integrate current events in social studies courses makes it easier to develop these skills and social studies teaching more interesting and effective (Demirtas & Barth, 1997). Moreover, these changes and improvements set over many responsibilities to the school, parents, and teachers. Therefore, the roles of social studies teachers become more important.

Social studies teachers can facilitate students' acquisition of new knowledge and adaptation to social and cultural life by including current events in the course schedule. Social studies teachers, who are responsible for training students who are conscious/sentient about and sensitive to daily events, with broad point of view, have to bring current events into classroom by utilizing different resources for varying periods and by applying various methods and techniques. It is crucial to determine the contexts in which social studies teachers bring current events into the classroom, the resources and techniques they use, and the problems they encounter, also their recommendations on account of highlighting the implications in social studies courses.

The main aim of the present study is to figure out the current circumstances of current events in the classroom environment, the resources used to transfer these events into classroom, the time period assigned for current events teaching in social studies, the methods or techniques applied, and lastly the problems encountered by social studies teachers, especially on 6th and 7th grades. Teachers' recommendations about the solutions for the problems encountered were obtained.

Method

The present study is to reveal social studies teachers' opinions about teaching current events. The study was carried out by semi-structured interviews and based on qualitative research approaches. Elementary school social studies teachers in downtown Eskisehir constituted the target population of the study. Within this population, the sample was selected by purposeful sampling method and maximum variation sampling. As a result, 20 social studies teachers working in 14 elementary schools participated in the study. Data were analyzed by descriptive obtained statistics.

Discussion

More than half of the teachers consider that current events are highly related to with social studies course. …