Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Examination of the Cognitive Level of Questions in Social Studies Textbooks and the Views of Teachers Based on Bloom Taxonomy*

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Examination of the Cognitive Level of Questions in Social Studies Textbooks and the Views of Teachers Based on Bloom Taxonomy*

Article excerpt

According to the theory of constructivism, a person's knowledge is their own because knowledge is constructed through interpretation rather than exploration. For this reason knowledge is subjective. In other words, it is justified that no knowledge is unrelated from the learner but constructed during learning. Therefore, it is focused on the learner. How students learn rather than what they learn is important. According to the theory of constructivism, gaining the basic skills of learning experientially, such as problem solving and decision making is the aim for students (Demirel, 2009). To achieve these goals, different methods, techniques, and strategies are used during the teaching-learning process, and an appropriate tool is chosen according to the new techniques (Önal & Kaya, 2006). Textbooks are certainly the most used tool in this sense. The topics in textbooks should foster student participation in class. In this way, knowledge obtained by children can become permanent (Küçükahmet, 2003).

Nowadays, it is possible to find many descriptions of Social Studies in the literature. One of the most comprehensive descriptions was made by the Ministry of National Education (MNE):

"Social Studies classes are primary education classes with the purpose of helping the individual to realize his/her public existence. These classes consist of social sciences like history, geography, economics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, philosophy, political science and law. Social Studies includes a combination of learning areas that involve the topic of citizenship, reviewing the interaction of humans with their social and physical environment, and is achieved through the idea of public education." (Milli Egitim Bakanligi [MNE], 2006a, p. 45).

In Social Studies classes, a person has the opportunity to learn about social environments near and far, as well as the past, current, and the direction of the future. Social Studies classes have a very important role in the creation and development of a child's social personality (Can, Yasar, & Sözer, 1998; Tarman & Acun, 2010). To say this another way, Social Studies gives the necessary information and skills to children for helping them solve real-life problems effectively, for making decisions that will ease their lives, and for implementing those decisions into their lives (Özmen, 2011; Tarman & Acun, 2010).

As Öztürk (2006) specified, the subject of Social Studies plays a serious role in education. Education provides an opportunity to transfer knowledge from the past to the future, enabling people to keep up with the ever developing and changing world. It also helps them improve their cultural characteristics and speed up their economic development (Çetin, 2008). Various types of tools are needed to provide education efficiently and too expedite the process of learning to reach targeted behaviors. Educational tools are highly useful in reducing the time and cost of education while increasing the permanency of knowledge gained (Tarman, 2012; Ulukalin, 2007). In addition, educational tools are used by students for efficient learning and by teachers for efficient teaching, which in turn makes the teaching-learning process more efficient (Ercan, Kayabasi, & Tertemiz, 2004; Mishra, 2014). To attain the objectives of education, textbooks are the most used tool for shaping the teaching and learning process (Kiliç & Seven, 2002). The MNE describes textbooks as "manuscripts to be used for teaching purposes in all types and degrees of education and covering the contents identified in the curriculum" (MNE, 1995). In Turkey, textbooks are thought to be the main source of information, and students use them the most while studying at home or at school (Ercan et al., 2004; Kaya, 2002; Tarman & Ayas, 2011).

Research findings have shown that textbooks play a significant role in classrooms, and teachers use textbooks as the most dominant source of their teaching activities (Abaya, 1993; Armento, 1986; Cassidy & Bognar, 1992; Chen, 1997; Rawadieh, 1998; Shaver, Davis, & Helburn, 1979; Tarman & Ayas, 2011). …

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