ERIC Number: ED323136
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Mar
The De Facto National Curriculum in Elementary Social Studies: Critique of a Representative Sample. Elementary Subjects Center Series No. 17.
Despite scholarly disagreement about the nature and purposes of social studies education, the most widely adopted elementary social studies textbook series tend to be remarkably uniform, consisting of compendia of facts organized within the expanding communities curriculum structure. Content selection and explication tend to be guided primarily by cultural literacy concerns. Texts feature parades of facts rather than networks of information gathered around an idea. Skills are taught largely in isolation from one another with little attention to knowledge content, and values are approached primarily through inculcation rather than through critical thinking and decision making. The textbook series that dominate the market share these and other similarities, so that in effect they constitute a de facto national curriculum in elementary social studies. This report presents a detailed analysis of a representative sample of these curricula: Silver Burdett & Ginn's elementary social studies series, 1988 edition. The study, a qualitative analysis, was guided by a set of framing questions that called for an examination of the goals and intended outcomes, the content selection and representation choices, the coherence of content explication in the student text, the suggestions made to the teacher about questions to ask the students, the kinds of classroom discourse that should occur, the nature of the activities and assignments provided with the test or recommended to the teacher, the purposes and nature of the evaluation methods supplied or recommended, and the nature and extent of the rationales and other explanatory material in the teacher's manual. A list of 24 references is included. (Author/DB)
Descriptors: Curriculum Development, Curriculum Evaluation, Curriculum Research, Educational Research, Elementary Education, Elementary School Curriculum, Learning Activities, Social Studies, Teaching Methods, Textbook Research
Institute for Research on Teaching, College of Education, Michigan State University, 252 Erickson Hall, East Lansing, MI 48824.
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Michigan State Univ., East Lansing. Inst. for Research on Teaching.