Learning active citizenship in a social studies methods course for elementary school teacher candidates Anneliese Mueller Worster, Ph.D. Salem State University Wednesday Civic Engagement
Professional goal for preparing teacher candidates to teach social studies• Motivate teacher candidates to be: – Involved, caring citizens. – Act out of civic duty (toward the place and ALL the inhabitants) – Exercising rights and responsibilities.• Teach them to plan service learning activities for their future students and classrooms through experiencing the value on their own.• NCSS: – “Social studies educators teach students the content knowledge, intellectual skills, and civic values necessary for fulfilling the duties of citizenship in a participatory democracy” (NCSS, 2010).
SERVICE LEARNING• Driven by service learning best practices: – Integrated learning – Student voice – High quality service – Collaboration – Civic responsibility – Reflection – Evaluation
The activity for the social studies methods course:• Pick an issue that you are passionate about• Research the topic, policies, action.• Blog on findings and read other’s blogs (and discuss in on line threads)• Construct an associated service learning project, including contact with community partner, conducting the project and closure.• Present to the class your project and current event issue
Integrated Learning• Teacher candidates learn: – Civic responsibility and active public participation – Service Learning as a teaching strategy • Learning first hand the value of service learning • How to build relationships with community partners • How to effectively facilitate a service learning project in a class. – Social studies concepts: • Policies and government, how bills pass • Governing agencies • Reading the news- current events – Facilitating discussion as a strategy – Facilitating a democratic classroom – Using blogs to research topics, learning use of technology
Blog assignments• BLOG 1: CREATE BLOG AND THEN RESEARCH YOUR TOPIC – Find existing policies for the topic – List the governmental branch that created the policy and the agency that oversees the policy. (like we did in class) – Each member reflect on your current stance on the issue.• BLOG 2 (interview) – INTERVIEW someone (friend, neighbor, family member) to find out what they know and how they feel about the policy or issue you are working with.• BLOG 3: (critical attributes and take action): – What are the critical attributes of your issue? How would you break the problem up into informational knowledge and procedural knowledge? How would you conceptualize your issue IN YOUR OWN WORDS – Take action on your topic. Sign a petition, or write a letter to congress where you just put your name in the field box, and send.• Blog 4:connecting the project to teaching social studies – “NCSS defines social studies as ‘the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.’” http://www.socialstudies.org/about – Where do you think citizenship and getting involved in issues your students are interested in lies in the elementary school social studies curriculum. Would you as a teacher make space in your curriculum? How would you engage students in topics? How would you find out what they are interested in?• Blog 5: Reflect on your service learning project: – What your project was and what you thought of doing it? How did it feel? Would you do facilitate a service project with your future students and why?
Student voice:• Students actively participate in the: – Picking the topic of interest- they chose their current event topic/ issue – Choosing and Planning of the service project – Planning and reflecting on the project – Taking roles that are age appropriate
WHAT CHOICES DID THEY MAKE?• Women’s reproductive rights• Nuclear/ coal power• Ocean and harbor health• Food industrialization- GMO and Local food/ farms• Child obesity• Bullying• Autism• Homelessness• Globalization ofproducts: where stuff comes froms
High Quality Service: Service Learning Project• Develop a project in your group, or with people/groups researching similar issues, where you get involved: – Provide service to and with a community partner. – Participate in the public arena and perhaps even promote change.• The choice of what you do is yours.• You create the project, you contact the community partner associated with your issue, and you sort out how you might best provide some service to their organization.
Examples of projects• Service at local Farm• Teaching healthy eating to afterschool programs• Teaching a bullying seminar for student teachers• Service at an unemployment agency• Creating a local agriculture facebook page for the north shore of MA• Participate in a dove beauty workshop for the boys and girls club• Made educational posters and posted them around campus about their issue.• Signature collection for associated grassroots organization.• Made a YOUTUBE video and posted it to Ellen DeGeneres show• Composting at a local restaurant committed to local foods.
Quotes from spring 2012• “I stated previously, it felt good to take action on a topic I feel is important to our community. So often we do no more than just talk about it rather than make a difference.” Ted• “I really enjoyed doing this service learning project because I was taken outside of my comfort zone” Stacy• “After completing this service learning project, I felt like I made a difference.” Julie
Future Improvements• Future: – To have the service learning projects done at beginning of semester before unit planning and lesson planning. – They are in the field for 75 hours teaching, to have them have choice: • Do a service learning activity out in the world • Do a service learning activity in your classroom around your topic, set it up as a lesson and hand in lesson plan along with reflection – Continue to increase access to effective service learning projects, so that they start early in researching what they can do for a project. (Tender Crop Farm, PPH are among some, food to lunch) – Possibly do the project as a whole group, but this reduces the student voice and their participation in setting it up.