According giving significance and expressing values (Jensen,

By February 28, 2019 Geography

According to the National Council for Social Studies (NCSS). Social studies is the study of people in relation to each other and to their world. It is an issues-focused and inquiry-based interdisciplinary subject that draws upon history, geography, ecology, economics, law, philosophy, political science and other social science disciplines. The main purpose of Social Studies is to aid young people in making informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdepend world.
Social studies consist of three major domains of learning referred to as the head (cognitive domain of learning) which contains knowledge allowing us to understand the world and form rational judgement. Heart (affective domain of learning) such as values, feelings and attitudes, and presence, responsiveness, giving significance and expressing values (Jensen, 2013). Hands (psychomotor domain of learning) which is not only responsible for physical skills, but also for precision, coordination and manipulation (Jensen, 2003)
Social studies are important to the process of enabling students to develop an understanding of who they are, what they want to become and the society in which they want to live. Social studies foster students’ understanding and involvement in practical and ethical issues that face their communities and humankind.
Some key skills that are taught in the Social Studies classroom are research skills, map and globe skills, critical thinking skills, and time and chronology skills. These skills help students in acquiring information, organizing and using information, as well as enhancing and enriching the process of identity formation as students critically reflect on their sense of self and relationship in social participation.
Research can be found in books, eBooks, journals, websites, and other resources such as newspapers etc. Research skills is being able to provide in depth information, detailed analysis and appropriate information on a given topic after researching extensively on that topic. Research is a process of both locating and finding information in response to a question. It includes formulating the problem statement, referring to good sources, and explaining your finding and observation in the form of a report. Research helps students create original knowledge. “Research is creating new knowledge” (Neil Armstrong)
Steps in research process are, selecting the problem, stating the problem, develop your research plan, conduct exploratory research, establish research objectives, conduct formal research, interpret data and report findings. The foundations of the research process are the application of acquired skills, the choice of appropriate resources and the use of appropriate technology.
Research skills are important to be learnt because it helps students make better decisions. Teaching students to do research is a great way to help them become sophisticated readers, writers and thinkers. It teaches them how to identify a problem, gather informational resources that can help address the problem, evaluate these resources for quality and relevance to come up with an effective solution to the problem.
Developing research skills prepares students for lifelong learning and citizenship in a complex world. Research skills helps students gain knowledge quickly for instance, if they are preparing for an exam or presentation with research it can help them find the facts on the topic promptly. Research gives a larger frame of understanding, with research there are a variety of different sources offering different types of information, which helps students understand their topic from different point of views. Which also gives them more facts, when students use research skills they can obtain more facts on the topic. “Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose” (Zora Neale Hurston).
Teaching/learning activities that can be used to teach research skills are library-based assignments, such as giving the students assignments that requires them to gather the information from web-based resources, books or articles. By using the library’s resources to assist with research skills assignment, provides students with a more valuable learning experience. Essay writing is another activity/learning activity used to teach research skills, ensuring the students understand with effective research lays the foundation for a brilliant essay, they will then be given a topic that they would write an essay on by using research to find relevant information on the specific topic.
Critical thinking is a process of inquiry, analysis and evaluation. Critical thinking involves formulating questions, observing, planning, collecting data, recording data, organizing data, interpreting data and presenting research finding which promotes the development of democratic citizenship. “The purpose of critical thinking is rethinking: that is, reviewing, evaluating, and revising thoughts” (Jon Stratton). By critical thinking a child can deduce consequences from what they know which helps them to make use of information to solve problems. Critical thinking helps students to seek relevant sources of information to inform themselves.
Critical thinking skills demonstrate the ability to reflect on content to form a solid judgement based on both evidence and common sense. By critical thinking students gain knowledge through reading, observations, and experience, which enables them to identify relationships and determine the clarity, reliability, accuracy, relevance, and importance of what they have learnt.
Critical thinking skill is important to be learnt because it allows students to brainstorm and think rationally in solving problems. It also provides the tools for self-evaluation, giving student an opportunity to reflect and justify on their decision making and values. Critical thinking promotes creativity by assessing a variety of new ideas and selecting the one most suitable, by thinking critically students gain new knowledge. “the essence of the independent mind lies not in what it thinks, but in how it thinks” (Christopher Hitchens).
Teaching/learning activities that can be used to teach critical thinking are scenarios, the teacher construct a scenario and the students work together in groups to solve the problem given. Another activity is, think-pair-share in this activity students are presented with a question, firstly each student thinks independently, secondly each student would pair up with another person to think together and share ideas, finally each pair would be given a chance to share with the entire class.
In addition, a debate is also a teaching/learning activity, by doing this the teacher would introduce a statement, then divide the class into two category students who strongly agree and who strongly disagree. After the debate is concluded the student would then be asked to evaluate the debate, giving them an opportunity to indicate what they would have done differently in the given situation.


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