ERIC Number: ED247166
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984-Jun
Reference Count: 0
Social Studies in U.S. Schools: Mainstream Practice and Radical Potential.
Newmann, Fred M.
Following a brief discussion of what is currently being taught in social studies, the major propositions of a radical perspective that has emerged among academics are examined. According to the radical perspective, the ultimate social ideal and the purpose of education is the emancipation of all people. Social studies should concentrate on ideas emphasizing the significance of dominant interests, struggles for autonomy, contradictions, and the social construction of knowledge. Education should generate action toward emancipation. Strengths of this radical perspective include educational objectives that stress long-term social goals, immediate personal agency, cooperative discourse, and an approach to reform that respects the culture of local teachers and students. Weaknesses of the perspective include its ideological substance; relative silence about pedogogy for dealing with ambiguity, contradiction, and criticism; and neglect of organizational constraints on teaching. Intellectual work and research necessary to resolve concerns that mainstream educators have with the radical perspective include conveying a coherent vision of the social alternatives to be pursued, examining how structures of schooling might be revised, and identifying teaching approaches that guide encounters with ambiguity, contradiction, and criticism. (RM)
Descriptors: Change Strategies, Course Content, Curriculum, Educational Assessment, Educational Change, Educational Improvement, Educational Objectives, Educational Practices, Educational Quality, Educational Trends, Elementary Secondary Education, Justice, Knowledge Level, Research Needs, Social Attitudes, Social Change, Social Problems, Social Studies, Student Attitudes, Student Participation, Teaching Methods
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Wisconsin Center for Education Research, Madison.; Department of Education, Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: For a response to this paper, see SO 015 785. Paper presented at the Joint Meeting of the Social Science Education Consortium and the Bundeszentrale fur politische Bildung (Irsee, Bavaria, West Germany, June 18-22, 1984).