Philosophy of Social Studies Education
Schools in the United States are meant to prepare each and every student for success – mentally, emotionally, and socially – and teachers have a vital role in this. I believe that being a teacher is much that just teaching content. Teachers are responsible for the growth and well-being of their students, and this entails a lot more that just presenting information. Teachers must ensure that every single student is growing and learning in their classroom. Regardless of race, gender, class, or ability level, every single student must benefit from activities in the classroom. In addition, teachers are also as responsible for providing emotional and moral support for their students as they are for providing academic learning. As a whole, teaching doesn't stop with a well-written lesson plan. Teaching also must always include personal relationships, encouragement, support, motivation, assistance, and more.
One of the things that I strongly believe in is ensuring that content is understandable to students at all different levels and of all different learning styles. Content should also be relatable to students from all different backgrounds. Within the field of social studies specifically, teachers have a plethora of tools and resources to accomplish this. By incorporating sources from a variety of cultures and presenting multiple perspectives on histories, more students will be able to connect with the content.
When it comes to student abilities, one of the challenges that often occurs in the classroom is a wide range of reading levels in the classroom. This can be extremely significant in history classes, where textual sources are relied on heavily. Lessons must be tailored to address student with reading needs specifically in order to ensure that their learning is not hindered. Visual tools are also important to use, not only for those who may struggle with reading but also for students with a visual learning style. In this way, social studies content can be differentiated to best teach each student.
The great thing about social studies is the accessibility of content that can relate to students from all different backgrounds. If diversity is integrated into the curriculum, students find themselves more engaged, and a greater range of students can relate to the content. Engaging students from a range of diverse background is important, and fosters a sense of community and mutual respect in the classroom. Establishing this type of environment in the classroom is vital, as a sense of community allows students to feel comfortable in class and more eager to learn. The involvement of parents and community members can also encourage this sense of community. By creating projects that incorporate these individuals, such as service learning projects and interviews with grandparents, a greater sense of mutual respect can be achieved in the classroom and in the larger community as a whole.
A final thing that I feel has become increasingly vital in classrooms is technology. In this era of technology, students should be given assignments and offered lessons that incorporate technology that they could use themselves. Google Earth is a great example of technology that can be used in the classroom to assist in learning content, while giving the students the skills to use this technology in the future. In this way, students benefit doubly. Using interactive technology can help to learn and engage with content, while at the same time teaching students how to use new technology efficiently. As a result, both content and skills are learned by students.
As a whole, every teacher must remember all of their roles and responsibilities in and out of the classroom. Teachers must of course provide efficient instruction. However, their responsibilities go much farther than this. They must differentiate their lessons to students with different learning styles, abilities, and personal backgrounds. They must ensure students with special need and IEPs are benefiting from classroom instruction as much as every other student benefits. They are responsible for integrating technology into lessons to help their students learn vital skills. They must provide students with moral and emotional support, helping them to grow as students, citizens, and individuals as a whole. To assist in this, teachers must also build a sense of community in the classroom, and involve parents and community members to encourage this environment. It is in all of these ways that teachers have a role in their students lives, and in all of these factors teachers are responsible for stepping up to the plate.
© 2016 Yulia Cook | Last Updated: May, 2016