NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
PDF on ERIC Download full text
ERIC Number: EJ972852
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 16
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-1191-162X
"Why Do We Learn This Stuff"? Students' Views on the Purpose of Social Studies
Gibson, Susan
Canadian Social Studies, v45 n1 p43-58 Spr 2012
The author has been teaching pre-service elementary social studies teachers for over 20 years and one thing that always astonishes her is how "fuzzy" they are about why social studies is taught as a subject in schools. When she asks this question in her undergraduate social studies methods classes, she usually gets specific content-focused responses such as: to learn about history and geography, Canada and the world, other people and cultures, government and politics, or current events. Learning to be a good citizen is rarely mentioned even though social studies programs across Canada have a long history of citizenship education as their primary goal. When she explains that social studies is the school subject that aims to develop children's understanding about what it means to be a good citizen, her students are genuinely surprised. Few acknowledge being aware that they were learning about citizenship when they were taking social studies in elementary and secondary school. A scan of the literature on teachers' and students' perceptions of social studies as a school subject from the last three decades would seem to suggest that this lack of overt attention to citizenship education is typical. A number of research studies consistently found that social studies is often the least liked course that children and youth take in school and the one that they feel most lacks relevance to their lives. In this study, the author focuses specifically on the newly implemented social studies curriculum in the province of Alberta context and explores teachers' views on the new social studies curriculum and children's views on social studies.
University of Alberta. 347 Education South, Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2G5, Canada. Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Canada