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Rob Burke11/5/12Philosophy Paper There are several effective philosophies in education that can be beneficial for a SocialStudies teacher and student. By implementing techniques and strategies created by educatorssuch as Pedagogy, Vygotsky and other philosophers it broadens the teacher and students’knowledge of the subject they are learning about. Social Studies is often taught through theperspective of traditional thinking and excessive textbook work. It is important to focus on theother aspects of Social studies as well such as the culture, sociology and psychology of socialstudies. Several philosophies that I have personally viewed in previous classes have given meinsight on how to effectively teach a class while applying certain procedures to keep the studentson-task and focused on their work. They can do so by incorporating these educational strategiesinto their studies, for example by learning about the Revolutionary War, they could use thingssuch as Placed-Based education by relating this war to their hometown during the late 1700’s. Dewey’s progressive educational system is trying to prepare students for the future but atthe same time, trying to give these students an understanding and a respect of the past. In thetraditional education setting students are being set up for failure. Dewey states, “Theirs is to doand learn, Learning here means acquisition of what already is incorporated in books and in theheads of the elders. Moreover, that which is taught is thought of as essentially static.”(Dewey,19) In a traditional school setting, teachers are afraid to accept that education is changing. Theyteach the basics and do not use strategies that can give the student a way of learning that will beentertaining towards the student or effective. The main problem here is that teachers who teach
their class using traditional techniques do not explore their horizons; they keep everything toosimple and too broad. For example, a history teacher in a traditional education system wouldteach their students from a textbook, rather than a primary source of a newspaper article orpicture which has historical significance. This puts these students at a disadvantage becausewhen they are preparing for reality, they are lost and do not really have much to fall back on..This strategy could be implemented into a social studies classroom by using unique techniques intheir lesson plans. Instead of using textbooks, teachers should use technology such as Smartboardsgames and Power Points full of knowledge that students can use at any time to study thatwill help them learn visually. The students should be engaged in the classroom by the lesson planthis is why teachers can use educational games to better the student’s knowledge of the subjectsufficiently. Cooperative learning allows students to not only work together, but assist his or herfellow students with any problems that occur during a lesson. Students usually feel morecomfortable when they are split into groups and speak with their partners, rather than listen to theteacher lecture for the entire class. There are several cooperative learning techiniques that areeffective towards the teacher and student, Slavin states, “PALS is a structured cooperativelearning method in which students work in pairs, taking turns as teacher and learner, usingspecific metacognitive strategies.”(Slavin pg.234) Peer Assisted Learning Strategies allows thestudents to see what each other’s strengths and weaknesses are. If a student is struggling in mathfor instance the other student can provide assistance and give him or her help with solving aproblem. It is more effective if a student is cooperating and learning with another student ratherthan a teacher because students can relate to each other much easier. Students have differentstrengths and by using Peer Assisted Learning Strategies the students are paired up together by
lowest and highest student by strength of the subject. By applying PALS into a social studiesclassroom it allows students to work together with any subjects a student is struggling with. Forexample the judicial systems can be rather confusing for a high school student, by using PALSstudents who are not doing well in this specific topic can receive help from a student who ispersevering on this topic by partnering together and sharing information about the subject withthings such as flashcards, videos and white boards. Certain place-based strategies work sufficiently in certain areas such as Co- Seed whichis an organization that is made up of different schools district, community organizations,environmental learning centers and a higher education institution, that help keep environmentconnected with education. These seed teams help educators who want to incorporate place-basededucation into his or her curriculum, “In Littleton, New Hampshire, for example, communitypartners include the town planner’s office, the town engineer, local businesses, the historicalsociety, the solid waste manager, and a local group called Envisioning Littleton’s future”(Sobelpg.44). This shows how major companies and high positions in this local town want to helpsupport these schools when it comes to place-based education. This makes it possible for thecommunity and students to work together in ensuring that the environment is intact. RickNannicelli uses the Co-Seed principles at Great Brook Middle School where he is the currentprincipal he states, “My vision for the next five is to see education outside of the walls of theschool and to see the walls of the school transformed. I want to see kids do something importantfor themselves, for the community, and the environment”. (Sobel pg.53). Co-Seed is an effectiveorganization that allows the students and community to support the environment. Placed-BasedEducation strategies in my opinionare one of the most relevant aspects of historical education. Itallows students to relate specific historical events to their hometown. For example in my
hometown there was a visit from both George Washington and President Dwight D. Eisenhowerlater on. As a teacher by instrumenting local history and relating it to American history willcreate a positive learning experience. This placed-based foundation is used in this philosophybecause it displays everything a place-based classroom and society should exhibit. Thisfoundation has successfully incorporated place based strategies into their ways of learning,teaching students about their hometown and how it has such a historical significance no matterwhere the student may live, keeps the student engaged and more willing to learn. It is importantto learn about place based education because of the fact that it inhibits characteristics of learningthat are beneficial towards the student and teacher because they are able to learn about thehistory of their hometown. Critical Pedagogy is important to incorporate into the classroom because it does notdepict any certain race, culture, religion, etc. to being inferior to another. Culture is oppressivebecause it is dominated by the groups that are considered to be the social norm. This is becausematerials such as textbooks do not broaden the students mind in a sense of culture. Textbooks donot discuss the diversity of culture; most textbooks strictly explain the cultures that have adistinct hierarchy that is considered “better” than the cultures of the lower class. McLarenbelieves that culture is a necessity while providing critical pedagogy in the classroom.McLaren’s class was made up of many cultural diverse students that came from many ethnicbackgrounds. One student in particular came from Spanish Town, Jamaica which was a verypoor community that did not have the best living conditions. McLaren asked her many questionsabout her family and if she liked Canada. It is important to have an understanding of eachstudent’s ethnic background because not only should the educator keep away from anyprejudices against any races or ethnicities, but the educator should also include many different
cultures into his or her lessons. It is important in a Social Studies classroom to create a safeenvironment for the students. Social Studies may contradict certain cultures, religions andethnicities but by making sure there are not any racial distinctions about certain groups it willcreate an environment in the classroom that will not disrupt the student or their peers. Forexample if a student is of some sort of religious background and we are learning about thatspecific religion, teachers must alter the way they teach toward the student and his or her peers.Make sure there are not any racial distinctions and if the student feels comfortable let him or hermake any comments or concerns they have about this topic.