Social Studies – the subject & the books | Social Studies |

Social Studies – the subject & the books

Social studies, is taught from early elementary school level to high school level and include various topics like history, economics, citizenship and government. Social studies is included in the school curriculum with the aim of teaching students about the historical evens, duties of a good citizen and other social concepts and norms that are required for living in the society.

This is a very important subject as it influences, and to a large extent modifies the character of students. Teachers handling this subject in various schools often face a variety of problems. The issues include methods employed for teaching the subject, the content of the books, the strength of the class and a lot more.

Students as well as teachers depend largely on the prescribed textbooks. One common method of teaching is reading through the textbooks and explaining the content to the students. Teachers handle the chapters in the same order in which they are printed in the textbook. The rather busy schedules of teachers restrict them from investing time and effort in verifying the content of these books. Hence the quality of children’s education is largely dependant on the quality of the textbook.

It is a widely noticed fact that most textbooks especially, those dealing with history, jump from one event to another without bothering to connect the events logically. Some textbooks are even designed assuming that students have a fairly good idea about the topics and hence avoid including certain details that could ultimately cause confusion among students.

Another drawback which is again attributed to the lack of time is the inability of teachers to handle the subject in depth. Social studies classes of today cover a large number of topics. But unfortunately, none of these topics are dealt with in detail. Students end up getting an overall idea of the subject and lack in-depth knowledge which is required for successful learning.

What is the point in knowing that America won the American War of Independence if our students will not get a chance to know the real struggle and sacrifices that our forefathers had to make in order to give us the freedom that we enjoy today. The modern social studies education focuses more on little pieces of information like important dates, important names, important evens etc without really looking into what these dates events and names mean to us. No wonder why most students find this to be a difficult subject.

Another problem face by teachers handling the subject is the fact that most history books designed for social studies classes tend to hide information that are considered embarrassing to the United States. Often, historical evens relevant to the minority and ethnic groups are not given much importance. This causes inconvenience when handling a culturally diverse classroom.

Yet another factor is the lack of relevance. Students depending on social studies textbooks alone will find it difficult to connect the historical evens to the modern day issues. When teachers are also dependent on these textbooks the teaching process results in a confused class which lacks in the basic concepts of the subject, leave alone the positive results expected.