Teaching Secondary School Social Studies

By James F. High | Go to book overview

1
Definitions and goals of social studies

An examination of the concepts and values clustered around the term "citizenship," and of their condition in American social beliefs, reveals a critical inability on the part of traditional social philosophies to express and defend our heritage of privacy and freedom for individual citizens in modern communities.

The Tension of Citizenship
H. MARK ROELOFS, 1957


1. Studies of Human Relationships

The aim of social studies is to teach competent citizenship. Social studies teachers, therefore, must first know what citizenship is, what its components are, what its values can be in terms of Western civilization. Social studies teachers in the United States, as in any other country, are citizens of a particular nation. They must know what the values of that nation are, how they were derived, and why they are held.

Citizenship in the democratic Western world is a complicated matter. It consists of several interlapping parts and nurtures many variant values which sometimes conflict with one another. Every American, for example, is a part of the cultural and biological tradition of Western civilization, and to the extent that the East has intruded on the West, he is also a citizen of the whole world. Primarily the American is a nationalist, that is, he owes political allegiance to the United States without question, and he owes loyalty to his cultural state, but not exclusively. These loyalties do not conflict politically, but they very well may in terms of economics or of taste. At least, to bear the burden of citizenship and to enjoy its privileges, people must know about it-- its character and its values.1

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1
Mark Roelofs, The Tension of Citizenship ( Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, New

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