Philosophy of Social Studies Education

By Ediger, Marlow | Journal of Instructional Psychology, March 2007 | Go to article overview

Philosophy of Social Studies Education

Ediger, Marlow, Journal of Instructional Psychology

Each teacher of social studies teacher needs to possess a philosophy of teaching and learning. Philosophy provides guidance and direction in choosing objectives, learning activities, and assessment procedures. Each philosophy to be discussed will possess differences in meaning and implementation. It is salient to understand relevant philosophical schools of thought in order to make full use of each.


Project methods emphasize a hands-on approach to learning. Active involvement of the learner is necessary to choose a project within an ongoing social studies unit of study. Interest is inherent in choosing the project. Careful consideration is given to interest factors, Learner purpose is important also. Thus, there are reasons for choosing and working on a project. Projects may stress individual or committee endeavors, depending upon the learning style of the students. After the selection has been made, the student with teacher guidance develops a plan to follow in doing the project. The plans made follow a definite sequence. Included in the plans are needed materials, which will be necessary to complete the project. There are a plethora of developmentally appropriate projects to be made such as a model farm, a solar collector, an urban scene, soil conservation scenes, and/ or a housing development. Depending upon the social unit being studied, the choices for materials to be used in the project are endless. Modifications are made as needed.

Following the completion of the plans, the student is ready for implementation. Quality work is desired. Work habits of punctuality, creativity, and care are salient. These processes as well as neatness and accuracy in the final product are important. Each of the following parts of the project method need to be assessed in terms of learner progress:

* Purposeful choice made in selecting the project. Here, the learner needs to perceive value in the ongoing activity. Motivation accrues when value is accepted in doing a project. Active engagement in learning becomes an inherent part of learning.

* Planning the ensuing project places responsibility upon the student to solve difficulties involved in flexible, sequential steps of doing things. There is teacher oversight and supervision, but the learner must assume ownership of the project.

* Implementing the plans involves the actual doing of a hands-on approach in learning. Eye hand coordination as well as cognition is being harmonized to achieve, grow, and develop. The ultimate goal is to complete a project that may be assessed favorably.

* Evaluation of the projects stresses using quality criteria to notice how well the project was completed in its final form. A comprehensive rubric makes for increased objectivity in evaluation (Ediger and Rao, 2000).

A project method emphasizes an activity-centered procedure in learning. The basics of reading to gather information, writing the plan for doing construction work, as well as arithmetic useful in measuring dimensions for the project, are brought into developing a project.

Subjects Centered Approaches in Teaching Social Studies

Subject matter will be learned in any procedure of teaching social studies.

However, when subject matter, not activity centered procedures, are stressed, the focal point of instruction will be for students to achieve vital facts, concepts, and generalizations in a more direct manner. A carefully selected basal textbook is used to determine the structure of content to be taught. Additional reference sources may be used as needed. For each lesson and unit taught, the teacher

* Has learners view the related illustrations in the basal

* Assists students to develop background information for the ensuing reading activity

* Prints the new words to be read on the chalkboard. By seeing and discussing these words, students are aided to recognize them when reading silently. …

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