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Chapter 5 : Central Concepts in Social Studies Learning Topics Systems and Structures Interactions and Interdependence The Environment Globalization Change and Continuity Culture, Multiculturalism, and Multi-racism Power, Governance, and Stability Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada 5 - 1
Fundamental Concepts in Social Studies The discipline of Social Studies is organized around a set of fundamental concepts that represent unique perspectives on the discipline. Fundamental concepts that are central to Social Studies include: ■ Systems and Structures ■ Interactions and Interdependence ■ The Environment ■ Globalization ■ Change and Continuity ■ Culture, Multiculturalism and Multi-racism ■ Power, Governance, and Stability Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada 5 - 2
Guideline Treatment of Fundamental Concepts Teachers need to examine guidelines closely to determine the treatment given to fundamental concepts and the specific concepts that are to be taught in a jurisdiction. Fundamental concepts may sometimes be embedded in goal statements. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada 5 - 3
Systems and Structures Relates to patterns in our environment and in our society. Nature pattern examples: -Growth -geographic boundaries (e.g., lakes, rivers, mountains) Human-made pattern examples: -political boundaries (e.g., countries) -social groups (e.g., clubs) Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada 5 - 4
The Study of Systems and Structures could include… Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Social groups Environment Society Treaties Community Cause and effect relationships Humanitarianism NATO Mobility International agreements Location Trade Government Cooperation Governance Human Patterns Coalitions
Teaching About Structures and Systems Use graphic organizers to show relationships in visual ways. Use children’s literature examples and then develop generalizations from the examples as these examples accumulate in their experiences. Have students create models from concrete materials. Use photo studies to help students imagine what they cannot experience first-hand. Make comparisons. Use the language of the discipline to identify examples of the concepts. Teach students the difference between examples and definitions (they will often give an example when you ask them to explain or define unless they are taught the difference between the two). Teach concept clarification as a study skill (See Chapter 2). Create opportunities to make mind-body connections as you teach abstract or not- yet -experienced concepts. Move teaching from the known to the unknown, creating analogies as abstract ideas are introduced (e.g., “This is like…”). Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada 5 - 6
Interactions and Interdependence When humans come into contact with other humans, with the environment, and with ways of doing things, they adapt and accommodate the new contacts or conflict with them. The forces that influence the developing relationships shape the impact that groups and systems have on each other when they come into contact. Successful contacts will result in productive interdependence. Unsuccessful ones will result in conflict. The impact of interactions can be identified and followed over time and space. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada 5 - 7
The Study of Interactions and Interdependence could include… Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Environment Civil responsibilities Relationships Global Citizenship Sustainability Globalization Cause and effect Community Micro-economics Civic rights Fair trade concepts Ecology Patterns in human and natural geography
Teaching About Interactions and Interdependence Create trade and movement maps that students can develop using strings or arrows to show how people and goods move around the globe. Have students develop a t-chart to identify their rights and responsibilities. Teach students how to generate criteria for a comparison. Develop simulations to show students that some resources are depleting. Simulate fair trade exchanges and analyze them to help students determine what fair means. Study near and far examples of communities to show how they are structured and interact to meet needs. Ask probing questions such as “Whose needs are met?”, “Whose needs are not met?”, “Why?” Connect Social Studies to Science to examine examples of micro-communities and ecosystems. Connect Social Studies to Language to tell stories about other communities the students have not experienced first-hand. Explore through field trips. Use media and technology to create opportunities to experience through the eyes of another. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada 5 - 9
The Environment The environment needs to be understood to include both the natural and the constructed elements of the earth and its atmosphere in dynamic interaction with each other. When we structure learning experiences for young students to engage their understanding of the environment, we must constantly return to the idea of interaction between human activity and its impact on the environment. Environmental issues cannot be adequately represented as linear relationships but must be shown as a complex web of cause and effect relationships. Students must be led to understand that human needs and wants have an environmental price. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
The Study of the Environment could include… Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Natural systems Exploitation Human systems Sustainability Natural patterns Global stewardship Human patterns Urban island effects Economic imperative Ecosystems Pollution Reduction targets Economies Waste management Resource depletion Utilization patterns
Teaching about the Environment Graphing activities that show per capita use of resources across cultures. Web quests to examine and compare lifestyles. Creation and analysis of graphics that demonstrate environmental trends and impacts. Cross –curricular experiences with the examination of ecosystems. Building and studying terrariums. Tracing transportation routes of common goods manufactured in other countries. Differentiating between needs and wants. Developing perspective through stories exchanged with students in other countries (i.e., “A Day in the Life of…”) and analysis of the resources that are needed to sustain the lifestyle as described. An integrated curriculum approach to environmental studies may benefit students’ understanding because they examine environmental issues from many perspectives. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Globalization Transportation and communication technology has made connections around the globe readily available and possible for many Canadians. While students may not have visited other countries they will all be aware of other countries through exposure to media and through secondary sources, such as parent trips. Students can be made aware of these connections by asking them to examine the production labels on their clothing and the items in their desks. Connecting what they have and use every day to the origin of these items can help students understand the interrelationships that influence every aspect of our lives in Canada. We cannot, however, leave the concept of globalization at the level of trade relations. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Students need to understand that globalization encompasses connections among the world’s geography and its peoples in relation to economies, labour, conflict, peace keeping, resource and waste management, common territories (e.g., oceans), political interfacing, technology, humanitarian interaction, immigration, and space exploration. Technology has increased our awareness of inequities across the globe in relation to lifestyles and resource use. In Social Studies, we study the environment from a global perspective for the purpose of becoming better stewards of it. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Teaching About Globalization Designing integrated studies that support Social Studies through stories about other peoples and places. Using sustainable and resource friendly classroom practices to heighten students’ awareness of waste. Providing opportunities for students to tell classmates about their travels to other countries. Using documentaries and vignettes or video clips to expose students to living conditions in other countries. Developing comparisons. Creating management plans. Developing inquiry tasks that focus on “why” questions to examine implicit and explicit values in a situation. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Change and Continuity It is difficult for young students to conceptualize change over time and place outside of their immediate experience. Continuity may be even more difficult for students to understand because of their lack of a long engagement with events. Popular media will have created exposure to some historical and futuristic examples that students can draw upon to help them build generalizations. However, teachers will need to understand the impact of media on creating conceptions, misperceptions, and frameworks for guiding students’ abilities to assimilate and accommodate new information about historical events or new conceptions about space. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Whole generations of Canadian students grow up with certain conceptions because of their childhood exposures to popular media phenomena. For example, some students may have a romanticized view of wildlife predators in Africa because of their childhood experience watching movies such as “The Lion King”. Similar TV experiences watching a series such as “Anne of Green Gables” may create interesting but idealized views of both history and geography. The challenge for teachers of Social Studies will be to build on and adapt these romanticized versions of change and continuity to reflect reasonable and age appropriate reality for young students. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Social Studies experiences should guide students in their understanding that change is manifested as differences over time. Continuity should be understood as consistency, stability, and connectedness over time and place. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Change and Continuity may include… Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Time Conflict Place Perspective Space Bias History Personal narrative Sustainability Human patterns Tradition Natural patterns Culture Cause and effect Stability Needs gratification Heritage Power and control
Teaching About Change and Continuity Re-enactments Pageants and simulations Imaginative recreations and plays Costume design and use Heritage Fairs (See Chapter 17) Magazine comparisons Critical analysis of art work and photography Comparisons Debates related to historical or future studies issues Readers’ Theatre Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Culture, Multi-Culturalism, and Multi-Racism Culture includes the ways that we choose to express our humanity within our Canadian population. Our culture is not static and is influenced by our interaction with the environment and with each other. Cultural values provide a filter for our perceptions of time, place, change, significance, and perspective. Culture defines our tolerance and refines our ability to appreciate that which is different from our personal experiences. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Culture, Multi-Culturalism and Multi-Racism may include… Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Immigration Tolerance First Nations/ Aboriginal communities Respect Customs Language and communication Ideology Spirituality and religion Education Family diversity Interracial marriage Inclusion Mobility Differentiation Migration Dominance Diversity Non-dominance
Teaching About Culture, Multi- Culturalism and Multi-Racism Investigations into the beliefs, values, customs, and lifestyles of all cultures that make up Canadian culture Cultural celebrations Banquet style celebrations that explore foods of many cultures Guest speakers who explain diverse cultures Art work that exposes students to the symbols and spirituality of non-dominant cultures Character education Teaching social skills to support group work Cooperative learning strategies and structures Journaling before and after multi-cultural experiences to make personal awareness explicit Comparisons Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Power, Tolerance, and Stability World stability is a Canadian value. We support this value through global peace keeping efforts and through membership in the United Nations. Some Canadians support world organizations such as Amnesty International and students may have opportunities to engage these organizations in classroom studies. The study of power, governance, and stability in Social Studies provides students with knowledge of the laws and rules that we value and support across Canada and as a member of the global community. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
The Study of Power, Governance and Stability could include… Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada Democracy Power relationships Conflict resolution Peace keeping Cooperation Anti-tyranny Justice Rights and responsibilities Security Anti-terrorism World order
Teaching About Power, Governance, and Stability could include… Simulations that include conflict and opportunities for peaceful resolution to conflicts Mock parliamentary debates Mock elections Democratic classroom meetings Graphic representations of government decision making processes Community action Web searches about local, national, or international issues Projects Justice Circles Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Comparison…a key strategy Once students understand the concept of criteria that can be used to balance a comparison (or make the comparison “fair”), teachers can begin to move away from the relatively unsophisticated comparisons allowed by Venn diagrams and start to teach students to organize comparisons on comparison charts that will allow them to see the items, events, or people being compared and the common criteria being used to structure that comparison. This can be done effectively in the early primary grades but the content of the comparison will need to reflect the language development of the students and may require support from pictures and symbols. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
As students develop increasing facility with completing comparison charts that the teacher has provided, they should be challenged to develop their own charts and to become increasingly independent with these skills that support effective comparison: Naming the class of items to which the things to be compared will belong (e.g., Industries) Generating appropriate criteria Physically structuring a comparison chart that will guide their research and that is large enough to serve as a recording page Developing comparison charts using a computer Managing files to import research information into a comparison chart Expanding comparison charts as data becomes more complex Using words that highlight the three elements of comparison (similarities, differences, and cause/effect relationships); charts provide a valuable reference (anchor) for students as they approach comparisons. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Early Efforts to Write a Comparative Essay Opening Paragraph 1.Name the topic. 2.Name the things that will be compared (sub-topics). 3.Name the criteria that will be used for this comparison. Body Paragraphs 4.Rename the first criterion. 5.Write comparative sentences (using the connecting words) to talk about each thing that is being compared (sub-topic). 6.Rename the second criterion. 7.Write comparative sentences (using the connecting words) to talk about each thing that is being compared (sub-topic). 8.Continue as per steps 4-7 for each remaining criterion. Closing Paragraph 9.Write a paragraph that explains what was compared and what criteria were used for the comparison. 10. Add one or more concluding sentences to the closing paragraph to explain overall conclusions that you have come to as a result of comparing. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Chapter Review The discipline of Social Studies focuses on some fundamental concepts that are central to the nature of the discipline. The fundamental concepts of Social Studies include systems and structures, interactions and interdependence, the environment, globalization, change and continuity, culture, multi-culturalism and multi-racism, and power, governance and stability. Understanding these fundamental concepts can support teachers’ development of a Social Studies curriculum that promotes deep understanding. Fundamental concepts are reflected in the topics identified for study in all Canadian provinces and territories. Systems and structures refer to the study of patterns in our environment and our society. Interactions and interdependence refer to the forces that influence developing relationships and the impact those relationships have on interacting groups and systems. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
Study of the environment must include both natural and constructed elements of the earth and its atmosphere and consider the dynamic interaction each element may have on the other. Globalization encompasses connections among the world’s geography and peoples in relation to economies, labour, conflict, peace keeping, resource and waste management, common interests, political interfacing, technology, humanitarian interaction, immigration, and space exploration. Change refers to differences over time. Continuity refers to consistency, stability, and connectedness over time and place. Culture is the ways we choose to express our humanity. The study of power, governance and stability includes exposure to laws and rules valued in Canadian society within Canada and as a member of the global community. Social Studies: Innovative Approaches for Teachers Copyright © 2011 by Pearson Education Canada
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