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The Value of “Social Studies” Instruction: Pedagogy and Reflection

11 March 2015

Throughout the past two years, our school has decided to integrate Social Studies in middle school curriculum for diverse reasons. As a chief objective, “Social Studies” provides learners with systematic study drawing upon major disciplines such as anthropology, geography, history, economics, political science, psychology and sociology leading to the profound thinking of the learners. Upon being exposed to Social Studies twice a week, learners would construct a mixture of personal, academic, and global insights as they grasp the information, criticize data through inquiry and come up with rigid conclusions about various ancient and current issues. To them, the Social Studies period turns into an interactive academic medium of learning, whereby students are questioning and analyzing data. Learners have become capable of constructing a pluralistic perspective as they respect and tolerate diversity of identity, beliefs, practices and points of view asserting the “communicator” profile of our learners. Another significant motive behind instructing Social Studies is the usage and acquisition of the English Language as learners read, inquire and respond to the various topics using the foreign language efficiently. Upon this additional practice, the learners sharpen their speaking, listening, reading, viewing and writing skills.
Our hypothesis of the importance of teaching Social Studies at our school was verified when many of our learners that are set in various contexts inside and outside school succeed to convey the knowledge they gained through Social Studies. Here is the reflection of Maya Lutfi, an 8th grader and one of the brilliant Midddle School Muners for the year 2015. Maya proudly reflected, “What are the types of governments? What about political systems? What does GDP stand for? How does the later reflect a country’s economical status?” I was the only one that would answer all of these questions properly. All of the MUN delegates were dazzled and wondered how I could just answer all of these questions. Only then did the trainer think a bit and say, “I have been training middle school MUN delegates for the past 4 years, and none were able to answer such questions!” I confidently replied, “At my school, HHHS, I got to know about all these ideas from my Social Studies discipline.” I felt grateful to my school that has granted me the opportunity of learning Social Studies that has enriched my knowledge and improved my critical thinking skills. I even appreciate it more when I’m capable of connecting this subject to real-life situations. “Social Studies” is all about us, you and me.”

Nihmat Dandashly_ English Language Teacher & Coordinator