Archive for the ‘EDU 6364’ Category

This is interview that I did for EDU 6364.  It contains an analysis of two class periods I observed and interviews with the teachers about relevant and important aspects of education.

EDU 6364- Interview Paper


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The NCSS Position Statement
The NCSS position statement contains several main themes from which specific focuses are developed: 1) that Social Studies curriculum would be constructed to prepare students to become active and ethically motivated citizens and members of a community, 2) that it would instill in students values that will motivate them toward social and political action, and 3) that it would be engaging through the critical analysis of interesting material from multiple social studies focuses and subjects. NCSS identifies Social Studies as the subject with the ability to help students develop deeper understandings of morality and of their place in their community and the world. This kind of development occurs through critical analysis of historical events and conflicts in class discussions and through personal and partnered exploration. These analyses will also help students to develop the ability to think critically and develop habits for disciplined inquiry.
Connection to Competencies and the Classroom
These themes relate directly to sections of Social Studies Common Core Competencies 1, 5, and 6.
Competency 1.1 details the importance of understanding key ideals and principles of the United States. 1.4 describes the importance of understanding different aspects of citizenship. Both of these competencies directly relate to the NCSS theme of helping students become active and ethically motivated citizens and members of a community. This means that significant class time must be dedicated to going over specific aspects of the U.S. government and constitution and how it relates directly to students and their place in society and their community. In addition, significant time should be spent in discussion about the central beliefs inherent in the American way and governmental system. Thirdly, students should be given the opportunity to practice their future responsibilities as citizens in the safety of the classroom through holding mock elections, sitting on mock committees, or through writing letters to their representatives. In order for students to become active members of their community they must first have an understanding of their government and of their responsibilities as a citizen.
Their ethical motivation must come through in depth discussions of questions of morality. Specific historical events should spark within the classroom ideas and beliefs about morality and how it pertains to our current society. These ideas should be encouraged and critiqued to help students mature in their understanding of morality.
Competency 5.1 describes the need to use critical reasoning skills to form and evaluate positions and 5.3 identifies the need to deliberate effectively with others. Both of these competencies relate to NCSS’s theme of creating an engaging curriculum that requires students to use critical reasoning and helps students develop the ability to learn in collaborative settings. This means that Social Studies curriculum should include sections where students are actively pursuing understanding of the answers to relevant questions or material, in contrast to the more ordinary passive learning of writing notes from a lecture. Students should be given assignments where they are assigned groups and asked to either answer questions that are relevant to curriculum material or to find problems or questions that they find interesting. They should also be given the opportunity to develop their positions on significant historical and current issues. This should be accompanied by discussions about developing the ability to think critically about arguments for the sake of deriving truth and fallacy. Significant student led activities should be central to the social studies curriculum.
Finally, Competency 6.6 describes the importance of integrating central concepts for other subjects into the social studies curriculum. This relates directly to the NCSS theme of creating an engaging curriculum that incorporates content from multiple Social Studies focuses and subjects. This means that the Social Studies curriculum should be constructed to incorporate themes and concepts from other subjects and focuses to enrich the students understanding of content. Every opportunity should be taken to explain the development of Math or Literature during significant periods of history so that students will gain a broader perspective of the nature of learning. Bringing in material from other subjects also enriches the material with understandings otherwise lacking. Understanding the role that the development of science or economics had on a specific period of history will significantly affect the understanding a student has about the general development of history.
Questions and Clarifications
The NCSS statement reveals a strong emphasis on the need to help students develop a strong sense of morality for their participation in society as active citizens. They suggest the need for teachers to help their students develop an ethical understanding from their lessons, but fail to mention the subjective nature of morality or ethics. Whose belief system will be the foundation for this moral understanding? Is it appropriate for the teacher to instill in their students their own values as the requirement of their grade? Where should Social Studies teachers look to establish a list of acceptable values that account for cultural differences?
National Council for the Social Studies (2008). A Vision of Powerful Teaching and Learning in the Social Studies: Building Social Understanding and Civic Efficacy. Retrieved January 9, 2012, from
Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (2007). Endorsement Competencies for Social Studies 5-12. Retrieved January 9, 2012, from

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