Rating Teachers of Social Studies Instruction

By Ediger, Marlow | Journal of Instructional Psychology, December 2009 | Go to article overview

Rating Teachers of Social Studies Instruction


Ediger, Marlow, Journal of Instructional Psychology


Teachers are being increasingly held accountable for their quality of student instruction. They need to prepare well for each lesson taught and provide for individual differences among learners. Documentation of teaching success is desired. Tracking results of teacher effectiveness is salient. Thus, there needs to be an effective approach to use in noticing how well each teacher is doing in time.

Quality of Criteria in Rating

Standards used in the rating process must be carefully chosen with heavy involvement of teachers, supervisors, and school administrators. They need careful research, scrutiny, and study, prior to implementation.

Social studies is a highly important academic discipline and needs to be included in any mandated system of testing to indicate its saliency. There are a plethora of reasons to be given for the importance of the social studies. A major reason being that threats to humanity exist if nations continually spend excessive amount of money on the military as well as plan attacks against each other. Deaths, destruction, and wounded individuals result. Post traumatic stress is commonly discussed and this involves traumas veterans experience from actual fighting in wars. Ways need to be found to minimize/eliminate militaristic fervor among inhabitants of any nation.

There are a plethora of ways to spend moneys to benefit humanity such as quality, affordable health care. Too may people go bankrupt when a costly malady hits a family. Then too moneys may be spent on improving infrastructure of an area such as safe roads, bridges, flood control projects, and safety in cities. Crime is rampant in certain areas where hostile gangs operate. More police and fire protection is necessary, the latter is indicated with the many cases of arson occurring.

Corruption in corporations is very costly to society with extremely high salaries paid to CEOs and board members, even with a failing economic operation. In addition stock options, and bonuses add to these unfortunate ventures. Morality and ethics are certainly a problem and a major one at that.

Thus, there are numerous reasons which might well be given to stressing strong social studies curricula in the public schools. This must include economic development, a democratic society, achievements in medical science, accomplishments in the fine arts and in architecture, as well as high productivity in agriculture, among others. Social studies teachers must provide leadership to emphasize quality in the curriculum.

Quality may come from well prepared teachers, continual inservice education, adequate and purposeful teaching materials of instruction, support from school administrators and curriculum directors, and cooperating parents (Ediger, 2009). The question then arises," How should social studies teachers be appraised?"

First, social studies teachers must become efficacious in that they are highly knowledgeable and confident in their chosen profession. They possess not only the knowledge but also needed methodology to provide for individual differences among pupils. Pupils are the focal point of attention. They must do the learning and be assisted to attain optimally in the social studies. Thus, pupils need to achieve well in subject matter, in skills, and in attitudes (Ediger, 2008).

Second, developing good citizens should be at the heart of teaching and learning situations. The social studies teacher needs to serve as a model. He/she needs to take an active role in societal responsibilities, exemplify good human relations, manage personal finances effectively, and develop a good self concept. The social studies teacher guides pupils to be very knowledgeable about implementing standards of being a good citizen. This is more than passing tests, which is important, but also there needs to be the desire to improve society for the benefit of all (See Smith and Lambert, 2008).

Third, achieving advanced university degrees in the social sciences assists in developing leadership qualities to improve in the teaching of the social studies.

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