ERIC Number: ED198041
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Reference Count: 0
The Function of Problems and Problem-Solving in the History of the Social Studies Movement.
Shermis, S. Samuel; Barth, James L.
Different concepts of the terms problem, problem solving, and social problem have created philosophical confusion in the social studies movement. The three approaches in social studies history--social science, citizenship transmission, and reflective inquiry--exemplify the incompatibility of the terms. A brief examination of the history of social studies reveals that the discipline defined problems in an attempt to deal with the conditions brought about by urbanization and industrialization. Social scientists either identified topics (which became known as problems) worthy of study or perceived pathological and dysfunctional behavior which they took to be self-evident departure from accepted values. The citizenship transmitters consider problem solving in the context of the problem exercise, which aids students in acquiring skills, attitudes, and knowledge. A typical question might be, "consider the problems Roosevelt faced in 1933." Finally, the problem from the standpoint of reflective inquiry has its roots in Dewey's philosophy, which states that the problem-solving process begins with a state of doubt followed by the individual's dividing the total situation into functionally related components. It is a transformational process. The implication is that if there is no effective thought without internalization of a problem, teachers must present students with discrepancies among data that generate the psychological tension essential to problem internalization. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Dewey (John)
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies (New Orleans, LA, November 26-29, 1980). Not available from EDRS in paper copy due to fading ink throughout original document.