Rob Burke11/5/12Philosophy Paper There are several effective and sufficient philosophies in education that can be beneficialfor a Social Studies teacher. By implementing strategies and procedures into the classroom, itallows the student to broaden their knowledge in a social studies standpoint. Social Studies isoften taught through the perspective of traditional thinking and excessive textbook work. It isimportant to focus on the other aspects of Social studies as well such as the culture, sociologyand psychology of social studies. Several philosophies that I have personally viewed in previousclasses have given me insight on how to effectively teach a class while applying certainprocedures to keep the students on-task and focused on their work. 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, as it was the part of the six hundred to do and die. Learning here means acquisition ofwhat already is incorporated in books and in the heads of the elders. Moreover, that which istaught is thought of as essentially static.”(Dewey, 19) In a traditional school setting, teachers areafraid to accept that education is changing. They teach the basics and what previous educatorsand philosophers have in scripted into their minds. The main problem here is that traditionaleducation educators do not explore their horizons; they keep everything too simple and toobroad. For example, a history teacher in a traditional education system would teach their studentsfrom a textbook, rather than a primary source which has historical significance. This puts these
students at a disadvantage because when they are preparing for reality, they are lost and do notreally have much to fall back on. Dewey implies that change is acceptable in education andcertain subjects that are present in this philosophy of education can benefit from change. Thisstrategy could be implemented into a social studies classroom by using unique techniques in theirlesson plans. Instead of using textbooks, teachers should use technology such as Smart boardsand Power Points that will help them learn visually. The students should be entertained in theclassroom by the lesson plan this is why teachers can use educational games to better thestudent’s knowledge of the subject sufficiently. Any way that can keep the students on-task withthe subject they are learning while using Dewey’s strategies. 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 many cooperative learning groups presented tostudents and educators, Slavin states, “PALS is a structured cooperative learning method inwhich students work in pairs, taking turns as teacher and learner, using specific metacognitivestrategies.”(Slavin pg.234) Peer Assisted Learning Strategies allows the students to see whateach other’s strengths and weaknesses are. If a student is struggling in math for instance theother student can provide assistance and give him or her help with solving a problem. It is moreeffective if a student is cooperating and learning with another student rather than a teacherbecause students can relate to each other much easier. In Peer Assisted Learning Strategies itstudents are paired together by their intelligence in the classroom, so the smartest student will bepaired with the student who is having the most difficulty with the certain subject. By applyingPALS into a Social Studies classroom it allows students to work together with any subjects a
student is struggling with. For example the judicial systems can be rather confusing for a highschool student, by using PALS students who are not doing well in this specific topic can receivehelp from a student who is persevering on this topic. 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 myhometown 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.
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 differentcultures 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.