Several Ways We Can Teach Social Studies More Effectively

By Larry Ferlazzo, posted April 24, 2012 on Education Week – Teacher

“Bill [Bigelow] offers his advice specifically to new Social Studies advice, but they are words worth hearing for all of us no matter how long we’ve been teaching:

Perhaps the most important piece of advice I can pass along to new social studies teachers is the reminder that the textbook is not the curriculum. Increasingly, fewer and fewer giant multinational corporations produce our social studies textbooks. And all these for-profit entities have a vested interest in students (and teachers) not developing a critical awareness of the patterns of power and wealth that benefit those corporations.

That means that social studies teachers need to rely on ourselves, on networks of critical teachers, on non-profit publishers, and on the communities we serve, as the sources of curriculum.

Teach about what matters. Our job is to excite students about the world, to help them see the role that they can play in making society more equal and more just, to express their ideas powerfully, to see that social studies is about real people’s lives and about their relationship to each other and to nature. Enter the profession as a scholar, an historian, an activist, a curricular artist — not as a subordinate to some “official” curriculum established far away from our classrooms by self-interested parties.

Creating a lively, playful, experiential curriculum about things that matter is more fun for students, and for us as teachers, too. The more that your students find meaning and joy in the social studies curriculum, the more vital your professional lives will be and the longer you will likely stay in teaching.”

Read More: http://blogs.edweek.org/teachers/classroom_qa_with_larry_ferlazzo/2012/04/several_ways_we_can_teach_social_studies_more_effectively_–_part_one.html

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