ERIC Number: ED275611
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Sep-26
Reference Count: 0
What Ever Happened to the Social Studies?
Engle, Shirley H.
The paper gives reasons why the type of social studies genuinely committed to the education of citizens in a democracy has never flourished in the United States, though such education is crucial to the nation's survival. Social studies, as a discipline, should be utilized to solve social problems and not be a vehicle for imposing a particular political bias on students. There is the slavish use of exposition to transmit information merely to be held in memory. This type of study should not be equated with good citizenship education. Social problems are complex and require problem-solving ability that can only be learned through practice. Ideas about why problem-solving techniques have been rejected include: (1) Teachers teach as they were taught and their preparation leaves them incompetent to deal with controversy and uncertainty. (2) Teachers can avoid trouble by sticking to the textbook. (3) The textbook industry thrives on the expository method. (4) Ancient beliefs hold that education means that elders instruct the young, not that they work out problems together. (5) Ordinary people, though they can be part of an obedient, dependable work force, cannot be trusted to rule themselves. Education, in the past, "has had more to do with maintaining class structure than with opening up opportunity." Educators need to challenge the past and teach children in a manner more befitting democracy and the type of critical thinking skills required. (CBC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Administrators; Teachers; Practitioners
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Metcalf Colloquium (Urbana, IL, September 26, l986).