Teaching Secondary School Social Studies

By James F. High | Go to book overview

13
Teaching social justice: problems

A hundred years are but a moment of sleep. Translation from the Chinese, 822 A.D.


1. World Problems

Of all the secondary social studies, world history or the history of civilization is the most difficult to present. It is considered to be essential to any understanding of the modern world and its problems, but it also has proved too large a bite for a single year, and it always lacks contemporaneity if it includes enough coverage. History of civilization shows up regularly twice from grades nine through fourteen, and each time it receives similar reactions: the students cannot cover the necessary material, chronologically they rarely get anywhere near the present, and prerequisite geographic knowledge is often sketchy or lacking altogether.1

Knowledge of world history is absolutely essential to the education of modern man, but it is probably best covered in a more leisurely fashion than that represented by the traditional attempt. The objective is to make students aware of their heritage as it impinges upon the present, and to make possible for them as citizens to contribute appropriately to that heritage for the future. The tenth grade world history outline is usually a selection of outstanding institutional developments in Western civilization intended to anticipate amplification of the whole subject of civilization after graduation whether the student goes to college or not.

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1
Alex Weingrod, "Anthropology and the Social Studies," Social Education ( January, 1956); J. Russell Smith, "Geography and World History," Social Education ( May, 1957); Joe Park, "Trends in Social Studies: Grade 13 and 14." Social Education ( April, 1955).

-394-

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