ERIC Number: ED183429
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979
Individual Development and the Social Studies Curriculum.
Many social studies curricula are based on John Dewey's principle that education should start from what the child knows and work outward from there. This paper suggests that social studies educators will make the pursuit of social studies knowledge more interesting if they tailor curriculum content to students' developing cognition. A three stage model of ideal cognitive development during the school years is described. The first stage, mythic, occurs during elementary school. It is characterized by pupil preoccupation with imaginary realms described in myths and fairy tales. Curriculum content at this stage should be arranged in story form, provide a precise affective orientation, have absolute meaning, and involve emotional and moral confrontations between good and evil. The second stage, romantic, occurs in the lower secondary school grades when students begin to develop abstract thinking capabilities. Students employ romantic association techniques to explore the limits of reality with emphasis on fantastic and spectacular events. At this stage, a crude mass of knowledge about a wide variety of things seems important for further educational development. The third stage, philosophic, is characterized by laws of nature, human psychology, social life, and historical development as well as by their own romantic choices. By focusing on general principles, educators can help students reduce the chaotic particular knowledge about the world to manageable proportions. (DB)
Descriptors: Child Development, Cognitive Objectives, Concept Formation, Curriculum Development, Educational Needs, Educational Objectives, Educational Philosophy, Educational Psychology, Educational Theories, Elementary Secondary Education, Fables, Knowledge Level, Literature, Models, Mythology, Social Studies
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (San Francisco, CA, 1979).