Teaching Secondary School Social Studies

By James F. High | Go to book overview

16
Professional improvement and professional references

The whole art of teaching is only the art of awakening the natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.

From The Daughter of Clémentine, ANATOLE FRANCE, 1844- 1924


1. Further Training

Professional Growth

If teaching is primarily concerned with awakening natural curiosity, then both the teacher and the learner must share that curiosity. Among the features that distinguish the superior teacher one stands out above the rest. He learns and enjoys learning throughout a lifetime. He never ceases to be curious.

The good teacher is teachable himself. He continues to learn and grow through out his professional life. If this is true of all teachers, it is particularly so in the case of the social studies teacher. As the specialized expert in social relations the social studies teacher is often called on to perform outside of school, to give speeches, and book reviews, to lead discussion groups and moderate panel discussions. He is expected to know about and keep abreast of local and state politics and to help the community interpret these things. Two important aspects of the social studies teacher's professional status are pointed up here. First, academic freedom must be guaranteed to him outside school as well as in the classroom. This depends on a combination of his own stature and the attitudes of the community, which in turn are dependent to a large degree upon his ability to interpret the school to the community and to express with impartiality, objectivity and tact, the content of the problems which he is supposed to discuss.

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