ERIC Number: ED375051
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Apr
The Social Sciences and the Social Studies: An Essay on the Development of and Need for Citizenship Education.
Crockett, Mark J.
This paper discusses the nature and role of social studies in the public school curriculum. As presently used, the term "social studies" encompasses history, geography, economics, sociology, psychology, and government. In the United States, democratic citizenship is typically taught through social science subjects that are themselves a part of the social studies curriculum. The 1916 report of the National Education Association's (NEA) Committee on Social Studies of the Commission on the Reorganization of Secondary Education is discussed. Although the 1916 report gave no specific outline or curricular framework for social studies content, the purpose of social studies was established. This purpose was to provide for good citizenship. A good citizen was one who followed social customs, was loyal to national ideals, and had a sense of social responsibility. Later reports and studies also are described in this paper. This document cautions that when coverage of content becomes the primary focus of teaching and learning, then students generally do not understand what it is they have learned, and if content was learned through rote memorization, nearly all of it is forgotten within two years. Social studies advocates think that knowledge-based problem solving, decision making, and participatory activities, yield a more competent and committed democratic citizen. If the social sciences are taught as fragmented bodies of disconnected facts, then the curriculum will not achieve its goal of preparing an enlightened, active citizenry. Contains 12 references. (DK)
Descriptors: Citizenship Education, Curriculum Development, Democracy, Educational Objectives, Elementary Secondary Education, Public Education, Role of Education, Social Studies
Virginia Council for the Social Studies, Department of Educational Curriculum and Instruction, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA 23529-0161.
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A