This chapter makes no attempt to establish what a social studies
education means today or to capture the enormous diversity that
characterizes social studies at the present time. Rather, this chapter
provides a general overview of how social studies came to be what it is and where it appears to be going. Some of the subsequent
chapters in this volume provide elaboration on many of the points
made briefly in this chapter.
This essay is not a history of the social studies, although it calls
for histories of the field without assembling a research agenda. The
resultant history would not only fill present voids and redress
traditional oversight; most importantly, such a history would foster
understanding. Practically, it might even contribute to policy deliberations
and, as well, inform correctly proposals for action.
The first task of this chapter is to analyze the current pattern
and content of social studies, with particular attention to how
they evolved. This will include examination of citizenship as the
dominant goal of social studies and the relationship of history and
government, the principal subject areas, to the goal of citizenship.
This chapter is about research in social studies education. We
will indicate the types of research undertaken in this field, summarize
main findings within each of these types, note promising
directions for new research, and comment on the impact of research
on social studies education policy.
Education in other nations arouses interest among Americans
more as a possible source of ideas for dealing with educational
problems than as a social phenomenon basic to the culture of
another country that reveals important features of that culture. I
assume that readers have the first purpose and wish to acquaint
themselves with approaches taken to certain issues in social studies
education in a number of countries that represent quite different
cultures. The issues to be viewed across the nations are (a) the
role of political ideology in the shaping of social studies education,
a sine qua non for this aspect of the curriculum; (b) curriculum
and content emphasis, the "bread and butter" or heart of any approach
to social studies, and (c) the impact of external examinations,
that is, those examinations that originate or at least are
legitimized outside the examinee's school.
in viewpoints on the frames of reference in social studies education are sufficiently clearcut to serve
as a basis for organizing the following discussion of citizenship,
morality, and values in social studies. The positions that receive the
most visibility—those of the persons who publish and give speeches—will be discussed rather extensively first. Those views will then
be contrasted briefly with the perspectives of those who teach social,
studies in the schools.
the arguments against minimum competency tests are not peculiar
to social studies, and for that reason the bulk of this chapter
focuses on characteristics of the movement in general. There may
be some ways, however, in which the relation between social
studies and minimum competency tests is special. A brief section
at the close of this chapter outlines arguments that might apply
to social studies more than to other areas of the public school curriculum.
This chapter is an attempt to
assemble some of the information that teacher educators in the
social studies need in order to make improvements. The presentation
is organized around the preservice education of teachers and
their in-service education.
of this chapter is to examine some features and manifestations of
pluralism and unity in historical and contemporary contexts in
order to (a) suggest perspectives and specific content for social
studies curriculum materials and instructional practices, and (b)
identify criteria for social studies programs that would help students
deal constructively with pluralism-unity tensions and conflicts.
This chapter addresses
some of the questions raised in the debate by examining some of
thestated purposes and procedures of the social studies curriculum
within the context of the intellectual, political, and social systems
that govern its operations. The essay is not a status report of curricular
offerings nor a recommendation for new directions. Instead,
the chapter contrasts some historically persistent conceptions of intent
with descriptions of effects and classroom practice.
I hope that this chapter will
contribute in a modest way to the building of a new leadership
devoted to this educational challenge—a leadership more numerous,
more broadly representative of all the actors, roles, and constituencies
that comprise public education, and capable of a vision congruent
with what the world and the United States are becoming.
Many problems besetting social studies have been explicated in
preceding chapters. This essay makes no attempt to summarize all
that has been set forth earlier. Rather, it will account for much of
the malaise in social studies by identifying and describing three
"gulfs" that cripple the social studies and by pointing out how these
gulfs affect the capacity of the field to respond to its most pressing
In the social studies it is both possible and necessary to demonstrate
the relationship between what is learned in class and life
itself. Courses in history, geography, and government can be linked
to ongoing events. If the social studies is to fulfill its mission in
citizenship education, it is imperative that teachers seek connections
between classroom instruction and the tasks and responsibilities of
citizenship. "Action learning" provides a means for making those
There is no longer any such thing as citizenship in the modern industrial world. The science of ecology must inspire the innovative curricula of tomorrow.
The humanities are described as the custodians of the human image. Today's humanities have burdens which are social and conceptual. Higher education training in critical thinking works against the image of man, which keeps civilization vital.
Humanistic studies are defined by several characteristics: the temporal view of values and a refusal to repudiate the past as irrelevant; the importance of human actions and beliefs; and the dual qualities of objectivity and subjectivity.
Values and benefits derived from the study of American history have changed over the years. Historians must more adequately describe the principal benefits to be obtained from the study of American history and consider ways in which history instruction can be revitalized to help those benefits to be realized.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the moral, political, and epistemological consequences of the methodology of and theoretical commitments to a behavioral research pattern and its application to education.
Drawing on memoranda and other materials in the federal archives, and interviews with more than a score of officials in the Johnson and Nixon administrations, this essay attempts to trace the development of the policy impact of the Coleman Report from its origins in 1964 to the end of Nixon's first term.
This article discusses the influence of society and culture on the goals and content of educational problems.
The problem at this point is that so few schools, especially those in urban areas, have the money for the more recent texts and therefore continue to use the older books. It is difficult to speculate on the potential damage of these distortions—in particular, what effect they might have on the formation of prejudicial attitudes and beliefs.
The role of the social studies in elementary education is to aid
the child, from kindergarten or first grade through sixth grade, to
understand the concepts that describe and explain human society
and to develop the insights and skills required by democratic citizenship.
This is a large order. Naturally, the school cannot take sole
responsibility for it.
This chapter will review
the nature and source of the generalizations and the more universal
values that form the basis of the content for the social-studies
At an earlier period, the Commission on the Social Studies Curriculum
of the Department of Superintendence noted similarly that
the nature of society and the nature of the learner were two of the
major factors conditioning the social studies.
Although these two factors interact rather than operate in isolation,
for purposes of analysis they are treated separately in this
yearbook. This chapter is concerned with society; the next chapter
discusses the individual learner.
Since concepts, skills, and behavior are all interrelated, it seems
most helpful to begin our exploration of the implications of research
findings in child development for social studies by examining the
nature of the child's behavior. Beginning with behavior does not
imply that concepts and skills are of less importance. In fact, our
analysis will show that, rightly understood, they are indispensable
in human development.
Into the elementary schools come the raw materials of our
democracy. Here these children—the bright, the less well-endowed,
the timid, the forward, every kind from every manner of home
and background—meet as members of a distinct social group. Their
experiences in this group will influence, for better or worse, their
lifelong attitudes and ideas regarding ways of living and working
together in a democratic society.
accepted as a basis for organizing the curriculum determine the
selection and placement of content. They affect the nature of procedures
and activities carried on in the classroom. The structure of the social-studies curriculum may facilitate or impede the child's
social learnings—his establishment of relationships and development
of insights concerning his social world as he attempts to relate it, at
an increasingly mature level, to other people and things in it.
All three of these normal behaviors of children—reading, research,
reporting—are essential to learning in the social studies.
It is the thesis of this chapter that those
of us who are primarily concerned with the elementary school must
think of citizenship education in broad terms. The importance of
the elementary school's helping to produce effective citizens for
our democracy-focused society, and the fact that citizenship demands
many specific competencies and attitudes—these cannot be
Education for international understanding cannot be separated
from the general program of education which contributes to the
making of good citizens and good persons. The basic qualities of
good citizenship operate alike in the national and international
spheres. International understanding is not a separate segment of
personality growth and cannot be achieved in a single segment of a
school program. Education for international understanding cannot
be isolated from the general flow of education. Particularly is this
true of the foundation for education in international understanding
for which the elementary-school level is properly responsible.