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Chapter 7: Teaching Social Studies
Transcript of Chapter 7: Teaching Social Studies
is a vital part of social studies curriculum because it helps students learn about problems and issues that are beyond their national and cultural boundaries. It also helps them recognize the interconnectedness of systems such as ecological, cultural, economic, political and technological. It encourages students to use critical thinking and perspective taking when it comes to other cultures. It also ties closely with multicultural education.
Global education can be controversial though. It's been criticized for being too slanted in America's favor. Some educators have challenged the assumption that the American way of doing things is always the best and therefore it's America's mission to bring their own values to the rest of the world. Global educators value substance rather than "value-laden mush". They instead advocate helping students collect, analyze, and evaluate information about the state of the planet without promotion of a specific policy.
A teacher's role in global education...
* A bilingual and ESL teacher should capitalize on an ESL student's rich cultural resources in the classroom.
* A teacher should know and use knowledge about world geography, history and current events to help students build their own awareness and make conclusions.
* A global education teacher should practice "open-mindedness, anticipation of complexity, resistance to stereotyping, inclination to empathize and nonchauvinism."
* A teacher needs to balance giving an ESL student the tools to function effectively in society while maintaining their diverse backgrounds. Helping the ESL students acculturate to American society entails developing the student's understanding key concepts of American history like the Bill of Rights, spirit of independence and sense of individualism.
Bilingual and ESL teachers have the dual responsibility of teaching both language and content objectives. This can often be done through theme based instruction and a variety of activities such as physical movement, visuals, things to create and touch, field trips, music and art. Students will be at different language and literacy levels, so a teacher should capitalize on this diversity by creating a group work environment. Students can learn social concepts and skills from their peers as well as the teacher.
The typical social studies sequence for elementary school is called
expanding environments sequence
1st and 2nd grade - students learn about themselves and their family.
3rd grade - students learn about their community.
4th grade - students learn about their state.
And in the final grades - students learn about the nation.
This sequence has been challenged in recent years, with some educators wanting to introduce a chronological study of history starting at the youngest levels. This can be a problem for some ESL students because if they aren't in the U.S. in the early grades, they will miss out on many historical periods.
Social Studies Challenges
There are some challenges to social studies instruction, especially for ESL students.
1. Their limited background knowledge may be a challenge for them. Many ELLs do not have historical knowledge of their home country, let alone the U.S. They won't have the schemata for U.S. history and government like their U.S. educated peers.
2. They also may have trouble relating to some Eurocentric social studies curriculum - which is why it's so important to incorporate multicultural and global content.
3. As with many other content areas, an ELL may have difficulty with the format of U.S. textbooks, procedures for report writing, and classroom discussions. These need to be taught deductively.
4. A key concept of social studies curriculum is vocabulary. An ELL may struggle with understanding all the vocabulary in addition to other unfamiliar terms and concepts.
5. ESL classes typically focus on narrative styles of writing so the expository style of writing in a social studies book may be confusing and difficult for an ELL.
6. Social studies contains concepts that present a challenge for teachers to demonstrate in a hands-on way, which means relying more on reading and writing.
An ELL is best served by having social studies instruction that includes the use of L1 until they've achieved a higher proficiency in CALP. An alternate or concurrent approach can be taken with dual use of L1 and L2. In the
, language instruction is clearly defined by alternating languages by subject area, time of day, day of the week or by week. Bilingual teachers find this to be the preferred model. Research shows that clear separation of the two languages leads to higher academic achievement.
allows for use of L1 and L2 during instructional time. The use of L1 and L2 shouldn't be random or concurrent-as-translation. Content-area knowledge and language development suffer if used this way. It should be used to scaffold to increase language proficiency and conceptual growth.
Because social studies content can be challenging, it is still useful for an ELL to use L1 in an ESL classroom. Lucas and Katz concluded that "the use of the native language is so compelling that it emerges even when policies and assumptions mitigate against it". A successful ESL social studies classroom should focus less on the issue of which language to use and more on academic development and instructional dynamics that foster meaningful interactions.
The book identifies 12 guiding principles for successful social studies instruction.
1. Offer opportunities to communicate about the topic - oral, written, physical or pictorial forms.
2. Make connections between the content being taught and students' real-life experiences.
3. Use the students as resources for information about their home country.
4. Activate schema.
5. Provide hands-on and performance based activities.
6. Promote critical thinking and study skills.
7. Pay attention to language issues and help students learn the language of social studies.
8. Use graphic organizers to help students represent information and identify connections.
9. Incorporate cooperative learning.
10. Be process oriented and provide modeling for students to make transitions to academic tasks.
11. Open discussion to different perspectives of history.
12. Adjust instruction for different learning styles.
It's important to make social studies curriculum engaging to students. Here are some strategies designed to make social studies interesting and accessible to ELL's and native speakers alike.
Connect the content to the students' lives and experiences
Use the students' knowledge about their home countries as a resource
Activate prior knowledge
Provide hands-on and performance based activities
Promote critical thinking and study skills
Pay attention to language issues
Use graphic organizers
Offer opportunities to communicate in many different ways
Incorporate teamwork and cooperative learning
Model academic behavior for students
Open discussion and incorporate different perspectives of history
Adjust instruction for different learning styles
Connecting to Student Lives, Home Countries, and Prior Knowledge
Relating content to the student sends a message that each student is a resource for their own learning. It also expands the learner's schemata.
Compare and contrast the migration patterns of early American settlers with modern-day immigrants
Lead into studying the Civil War with the umbrella topic "differences can lead to conflict
Compare the social classes of the Inca Empire with the social hierarchy of the school
Performance-based activities lend a sense of reality to social studies, and encourage empathy and looking at multiple perspectives. They can serve as unifying themes for different units across a school year and incorporate other subjects.
Mock trials, debates, and role playing are great examples of this.
DVD's and Video in the Classroom
Electronic media can be a great resource in a social studies class. It can provide an interactive experience for students (we all remember "Oregon Trail," right?) and make viewers feel immersed in the events they are watching. Videos give the viewer access to and insight into cultures, events, and worlds they might never experience otherwise.
Videos can be helpful for ELL's because they provide visual referents to spoken and written information.
Things to keep in mind about videos in the classroom:
Does the video facilitate participation, or just observation? Videos should keep the learner engaged, not serve as busy work.
What is the language load of the video? Will it be accessible to ELL's? How much of the commentary is necessary, and would it be better to watch without sound and focus on the visuals?
What perspective does the video portray? Videos may reflect the bias of the creator. But this can be a useful tool , allowing the class to analyze whose point of view is being left out and why.
Variety of information sources (websites, newspapers, periodicals, recordings, music)
Maps and globes
Critical Thinking and Study Skills
As teachers, we have to prepare language minority students for high school and higher education. Critical thinking and study skills are vital parts of this process!
We're going to focus on 2 strategies for developing critical thinking and study skills: DRTA and SQ4R
DRTA (Directed Reading Thinking Activity)
Develops critical thinking skills and helps students deal with abstract concepts.
In DRTA, students use higher-order thinking as they go through the following steps in order:
1.Brainstorm what they know about the topic
2. Predict what might be in the reading selection
3. Read the text; confirm predictions or make corrections; integrate new information into knowledge base
4. Discuss what they learned from the text, using follow-up questions and comprehension checks
SQ4R (Survey, Questions, Read, Recite, Record, Review)
Study skills routine that teaches students how to outline information from text. Promotes critical comprehension of key ideas.
Survey: Skim the reading assignment to get an overall view. Pay attention to headings, maps, pictures, graphs, and key vocab.
Questions: Created based on headings/subheadings in the chapter. Divide a sheet of paper in half vertically and write questions on left side.
Read: with the purpose of answering your questions
Recite: Answer the questions orally to yourself
Record: Write the answers to the questions on the right hand side of the outline.
Review: Look over all the material you have outlined.
This process helps students build independent work skills, which are useful for assignments and research projects!
Social Studies Language Issues
As a subject, social studies involves a large array of different language skills, which can be challenging for ELL's.
One major challenge is the amount of vocabulary involved in social studies content.
+ Visual representatives + Acting out words
+Use examples from student lives +Semantic webs
Social studies also provides students with opportunities to learn about forming more complex sentence structures, comparisons, and paraphrasing information.
Another problem ELL's face is the wide variety of writing and discourse styles associated with social studies. Teachers can help by modeling the different styles and explaining the features of each thoroughly. Students can learn to navigate social studies readings by recognizing linguistic styles and organizational structures. (i.e. "as a result" is a sign of a cause and effect relationship)
Language Experience Approach
This approach is an effective way to combine oral language development, literacy development, and social studies learning.
Start with a concrete experience the students share. During or after the activity, the class as a whole (including the teacher!) comes up with vocabulary words and sentences about the experience and records the words/sentences on flash cards, sentences, or charts. These materials are used for follow-up activities.
Bringing the Strategies Together: CALLA as an Example
All of the strategies mentioned so far work together to benefit students, and several can be used together. One way to combine multiple strategies would be to follow the CALLA method. Here's an example of how a CALLA social studies unit might be planned:
1. Teacher assess the students' background knowledge on the topic
2. Identify appropriate objectives (related to level of background knowledge)
3. Plan academic language objectives that support and align with social studies objectives and include activities involving higher-level thinking and all 4 components of language
4. Integrate learning strategies, in coordination with the social studies and language components
Theme-based social studies units can tie together concepts, create a sense of cohesiveness, and integrate other subject areas. Themed units can also be fun and engaging for students.
The book references two themed units in great detail, one centered on the concept of "Protest and the American Revolution," and the other focused on "Conflicts in World Cultures."
Both units incorporate connect to student lives and experiences, incorporate a wide variety of activities that work with different learning styles, involve personal research, and incorporate creative strategies that make the content fun and engaging for learners.
A graphic organizer is any kind of graphic organizer that shows relationships. Different organizers have different functions, and can help with the writing or language process in many ways, from serving as an outline to organizing information.
Semantic webs and tree diagrams: Show relationships between main ideas and subordinating details
Time lines: Show chronological relationships of events
Flowcharts: Show cause and effect relationships
Venn diagrams: Compare and contrast relationships
Charts or tables: Show how details relate to each other to form a category distinct from other categories on the chart
"Doing" Social Studies
"Doing" social studies refers to the process in which students do the types of activities that social scientists engage in as part of their jobs. Examples include conducting interviews, analyzing data, and writing histories. These units combine social science and critical thinking, and should be engaging and active. Some ideas for creative social studies units that a class can actively "do" together are....:
Create an oral history video by conducting interviews with a variety of subjects
In-depth study of community living patterns, based on firsthand experience, research, and data analysis.
"Island Project," in which students create their own civilization on a deserted island
City-planning exercise, in which students create their own town or city, including businesses, government, and infrastructure
Some hands-on projects as discussed before, including mock trials, mock elections, etc.
Social Studies and NCLB
The No Child Left Behind law places a heavy focus on math and reading standards, while driving social studies instruction into a corner. Social studies curriculum is not considered part of AYP.
This marginalization of social studies as a subject is problematic, because not only is social studies knowledge necessary in higher education, it is necessary to be a citizen who is informed about democracy, history, and the ideals of modern society.
Bilingual and ESL Classrooms: Teaching in Multicultural Contexts
by Carlos J. Ovando and Mary Carol Combs
Definition: The integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.
Difficulties Teaching Social Studies
Depends heavily on literacy skills
New vocabulary; fairly abstract
limited use of realia and other non-textbook materials
"boring and incomprehensible"
Goals of teaching Social Studies
Develop own sociocultural identity
Learn about the world
Exercise roles as citizens
Develop listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills
Provide basis for tive participation in society
Language Sensitive, Active Approach
Developed from a multicultural Perspective
1. Defining framework for social studies in multilingual contexts
2. Bilingual and ESL settings fro social studies
3. Instructional methods
4. Models of theme-based social studies units for language minority students
Guidelines for Powerful Teaching
establishing own experiences
development of important ideas
focusing on big ideas
Curriculum and effective use of technology
values and possibilities for social action
integration through incorporation of language development
discussing controversial issues
learning to respect multiple view points
developing sociocultural identity
model critical and creative thinking
establish an environment that insorporates dialogue and debate (conducted with civility)
activities that reflect ways social events happen in the real world
develop models or plans, act out historical event, mock trials, etc.
SOCIAL STUDIES TRADITIONS
a social science
critical or reflective thinking
These three approaches overlap in the classroom
use of textbooks and lecturing
vertical pedagogical authority
criticized for being "Eurocentric" since the general theme tends to be of democracy
teach a simplified version of concepts and processes
found in secondary schools
students learn to observe and analyze
stresses reasoning skills
connecting experiences with curriculum
allow different understandings
questioning "taken for granted" view
Ten Thematic Strands in Social Studies
"Peoples, places, environments"
"Individual development and identity"
"Individuals, groups, and institutions"
"Power, authority, and governance"
"Production, distribution, and consumption"
"Science, technology, and society"
"Civic ideals and practices"
Definition: It is an idea or concept, an educational reform movement, and a process that forms the basis for teaching and learning based on democratic values and beliefs. It seeks to affirm cultural pluralism within culturally diverse societies and an interdependent world.
Multicultural education influences subject areas, pedagogy, and school structures but is rooted in social studies.
Means using an alternative and less ethnocentric lens on people and their interactions
Using a critical thinking approach is optimal for implementing multicultural education
Through the Multicultural Approach
Students learn how a point of view affects how knowledge is constructed.
develop ability to see multiple perspective
Prepare children for reality
develop critical thinking skills
Process through which "the Common U.S. Culture and society emerged from a complex synthesis and interaction of the diverse cultural elements that originated within the various cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious groups that make up the U.S. society (Banks & Banks, 2004)."
This is an example of a way materials on non european americans are is integrated into the main text as a meanignful part of the real story.
Using the multicultural approach in the classroom
1. Start with a problem to addressed through a decision making process
2. students conduct research and acquire relevant data
3. use case studies or role playing activities to explore beliefs, attitudes, and feelings associated with the problem
4. Make own decisions about the issue and take action after considering options and consequences