Social Science Education

NCATE2005 SS 305

Teaching Social Studies in Secondary Schools - SS 305

NCATE2005, Approved by SSE Committee 9/15/04, 5-0-1

Instructor: Daniel A. Clark, PhD

Course Intent & Context (Conceptual Framework)

This methods course is designed to help prepare social studies teachers design and content and develop important social studies skills. Special attention is focused on a variety of theoretical and practical issues, particularly the use of inquiry-based activities and computer-based instructional materials. More than simply exposing these pre-service teachers to the critical methodologies, teaching strategies and issues, one important course goal is to give these pre-service teachers as many opportunities as possible to create their own lesson plans that incorporate such things as inquiry-based learning and web-based primary resources.

SS305 is a component of the professional education sequence. ISU’s model for preservice training—known as Becoming a Complete Professional—has been designed to equip students with the core pedagocial skills, content pedagogy, and field experiences that enable teacher to be an expert mediator of learning, a contributing member of their school and professional commnities, and a person dedicated to continued professional development. The social studies content methods courses enable teachers to make direct connections between learning and content, academic discipline and the commnity of secondary education, and to identify the importance of continued professional development given the rapidly changing nature and structure of social studies pedagogy.

Course Description

Curriculum issues, methods, techniques, and goals of secondary social studies; unit organizations; instructional technologies; classroom management; and testing and evaluation.


             relevant to students as related to the IPSB Standards for Teachers (SS6, SS

         SS11, SS12, SS13, SS9)

          approaches to support students of differing intellectual and social development,

          and diverse learning dispositions (SS 10, 11, and 12)

          instructional strategies to encourage critical thinking and problem-solving skills

         (SS 10, 11, 12)

          communication techniques to foster active inquiry

          knowledge of subject matter, and students, community, and curricular goals.

          strategies to evaluate and ensure continuous development (SS12)

Learner Outcomes based on In-Class Assessments

The student will:

          school students. (In 1, SS2)

In 7 SS10, SS11, SS12)

          instruction. (In 1)

          pertaining to use of the Internet. (In 6, SS10, SS11, SS12)

          needs as related to pedagogy in history, and the relationship between history and

         other social studies content areas (In 1, SS2, SS9, SS13)

Representative Assigned Texts

Jack Zevin, Social Studies for the Twenty-First Century (2000)

Reserved Readings in the library

          Leadership (May 1994): 4-8 [available in our library under e-journals]

          History and the Construction of a Usable Past," Anthropology and Education

          Quarterly 27 (September 1996): 365-89. [on reserve]

          Education (March 1996): 170-3 [available through libraries e-journal database];

          Social Studies.[available on e-reserve in our library]

          Responding To Essay Questions," in History Anew: Innovations in theTeaching

         of History Today, pp. 95-101.\

Representative Teaching Methods

          aids, familiar examples, and questions designed to elicit prior knowledge of the

          students or to enhance understanding of the content. (In 1, In 3, In 4, In 6)

          studies in liberal learning and the goals of education (In 1, 7 and SS 1)

          knowledge and theory learned. (In 1, In 4, In 7)

          documents, the purpose of which is to give pre-service teachers actual

          experience in doing inquiry-based learning and then requiring them to create

          lesson plans incorporating what they have learned (In 1, 2, 4, 6 and SS 2, 10)

Representative Course Content

          relevant to students as related to the IPSB Standards for Teachers (SS2, SS6,

          SS9, SS10, SS11, SS12, SS13, SS9)

          1,7 SS 1,2)

          Documents (In 1, 4, 6, 7)

          Classrooms (In 1, 4, 6, SS 10, 11)

          Web-Based Inquiry (In 1, 4, 6, SS 10, 11)

          and SS 10, 11)

Representative Assignments & Assessments

In the Spring of 2005, the assignment outlined below will be assessed using the

common SS305/306 Rubric designed for IPSB SS6, SS10, SS11, SS12, & SS13.

          reserve for class and perform an internet search on a related readings topic. (In 1,

          In 4) (ITSE l, ll, V)

          learner's understanding of the importance of history and social science for

          secondary students. (In 1, In 9)

          American history "myth." (In 1)

          social studies topic, and then create a lesson plan using primary sources that

          uses a textbook as simply another text to be understood in relation to other

          interpretations. (In 1, 4 and SS 2, 10)

           prompts students to analyze the movie for accuracy as well as relevant subject

          matter. (In 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 and SS 2, 10)

          resource materials located in a suitable site on the World Wide Web. (In 1, In 3,

          In 4), (ITSE l, ll, lll, V)

          social studies class. (In 1, In 4, In 7, In 8)

          multimedia presentation. (In 1, In 4, In 7) (ITSE l, ll, lll, V)

Policies and Procedures

Social Justice & Diversity

ISU is committed to the ideals and principles of social justice. I agree with that commitment and expect to maintain a positive learning environment based upon open communication, mutual respect, and non-discrimination. ISU does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, color, or national origin. Any suggestions as to how to further a positive learning environment within the ISU community in this class will be greatly appreciated and given the utmost consideration. Additionally, if you have any special needs or require classroom accommodations (i.e., Americans with Disabilities Act) please do not hesitate to bring those needs to my attention.

FERPA—Buckley Amendment Disclosure

To protect your privacy, I post grades using Blackboard.  However, I will honor, and am obligated to respect, any request not to publish test grades. If you would not like your grade posted, I encourage you to exercise your rights. If you do not want your grades posted, I will make your grades available during office hours. With respect to e-mail distribution of grades and protecting your privacy, I will not distribute grades to any email accounts.

Course Justification

INTASC Standard #1 (and related IPSB Standards for Social Studies Teachers) demands that effective social studies teachers understand the central concepts, tools of inquiry, and structures of their disciplines and be able to make these understandings meaningful to their students. Effective social studies educators need to be able to integrate the history and social science content they have been taught during their undergraduate courses of study with methods that will effectively reach secondary students at their various developmental levels. This course attempts to help students with this facet of their development. (Shaver, 1991)

The starting point for effective social studies instruction is a clear conception of adolescent's ideas on politics, economics, morality, and social conventions. Adolescents tend to develop political ideas through active involvement in their environment an stimulation of their intellectual capacities. They tend not to be ideological thinkers.

Consequently, practical, hands-on investigations and experiences through inquiry-based activities are more useful for developing students' social studies understandings than inculcation of ideological frameworks and concepts. (Mackey, 1991)  In terms of best practices in historical instruction, preservice teachers should be exposed to several findings. Young adolescents generally need a structured narrative approach along with multicultural inquiries to develop their historical understandings. In addition, history teachers should include an affective orientation that engages students on an emotional level through the use of "abstract binary opposites" instead of painting the past in black and white terms. Adolescents need to be engaged through the creation of dramatic tension. The narratives used should include heroic portrayals, details and distance as well as exotic and awe-inspiring stories, and humanizing knowledge that elicits students' sympathies. (Levstik and Pappas, 1992; Egan, 1989; and Gabella, 1994)

Young adults tend to have two major problems with historical presentations: they are unable to effectively question authority and they feel knowledge can be ascertained directly without a process of inquiry. Therefore, best practices include less reliance on textbooks and teachers as the sole depositories of knowledge, and greater practice by students of inquiry techniques. Teachers who model good historical investigatory and research techniques are better able to shape their students' understanding of the subject. Adolescents need to understand that the process of historical thinking is just as important as historical content. (Evans, 1988; Davis and Yeager, 1996; Kobrin, 1996; Peroco, 1998; and Hynd, 1999).

The course also helps preservice social studies teachers to become aware of best practices in the other social science disciplines. In the field of geography, teachers need to shape their students' spatial and cognitive development so that they are better able to acquire geographical knowledge and concepts. Map skills development is also crucial. Good government instruction focuses on civic attitudes developed ideally in a classroom environment that is open and analytical. Anthropology, sociology, and psychology should be taught through inquiry activities as well as through exposure to practitioners' findings. In economics, teachers need to link their activities to students' developmental\ abilities, and then involve them in active exercises. In general, best practices in social studies involve students in in-depth analytical exercises rather than simply "coverage" of content. (Stoltman, 1991; Patrick and Hoge, 1991; Nelson and Stahl, 1991; Schug and Walstad, 1991; and Hughes, 1997)


Blackey, Robert, ed. (1993) History Anew: Innovations in the Teaching of History Today. Long Beach, CA: California State University Press.

Davis, O.L., Jr., and Yeager, Elizabeth. (1996) "Classroom Teachers Thinking about Historical Texts: An Explanatory Study." Theory and Research in Social Education 24:146-166.

Egan, Kieran. (1989) "Layers of Historical Understanding." Theory and Research in Social Education 17: 280-294.

Evans, Ronald W. (1988) "Lessons of Historical Understanding." Theory and Research in Social Education 16: 203-225.

Gabella, Marcy Singer. (1994) "Beyond the Looking Glass: Bringing Students into the Conversation of Historical Inquiry." Theory and Research in Social Education 22:340-363.

Hughes, Andrew S. (1997) "Toward a More Thoughtful Professional Education for Social Studies Teachers: Can Problem-Based Learning Contribute?" Theory and Research in Social Education 25:431-445.

Hynd, Cynthia. (1999) "Teaching Students to Think Critically using Multiple Texts in History." Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy 42: 428-436.

Kobrin, David. (1996) Beyond the Textbook: Teaching History using Documents and Primary Sources. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Levstik, Linda S. and Pappas, Christine C. (1992) "New Directions for Studying Historical Understanding."Theory and Research in Social Education 20: 369-385.

Percoco, James A. (1998) A Passion for the Past: Creative Thinking of U.S. History. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Shaver, James P., ed. (1991) Handbook of Research on Social Studies Teaching and Learning: A Projectof the National Council for the Social Studies. New York:  Macmillan Publishing Company.

Included in the Shaver volume are essays by:

  • James A. Mackey, "Adolescents' Social, Cognitive, and Moral Development and Secondary School Social Studies."

  • Joseph P. Stoltman, "Research on Geography Teaching."

  • John J. Patrick and John D. Hoge, "Teaching Government, Civics, and Law

  • Murray R. Nelson and Robert J. Stahl, "Teaching Anthropology, Sociology, and Psychology."

  • Mark C. Schug and William B. Walstad, "Teaching and Learning Economics."


Representative Methods of Evaluation of Students

Reaction and Research Papers (In 1, In 8)

Presentations (In 1, In 3, In 8)

Curricular Materials (In 1, In 7, In 8)

Informal Assessments of Students' Participation and Contribution to Class Discussion (In 8)




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