With the implementation of the 2019 Nebraska Social Studies Standards also come instructional shifts. The information below highlights the instructional shifts in Nebraska social studies and resources to help you learn more about them. The dimensions listed below reflect the Dimensions found in the C3 Framework.
Inquiry (Dimension 1)
One of the latest and most promising instructional shifts in social studies education is towards inquiry-based learning. With its roots found in John Dewey’s, among others, philosophy that students learn best while doing, inquiry-based learning seeks to build on the natural curiosity of students and engage their problem solving skills, while accessing personal experiences to make informed and well-supported opinions about the world in which they live. To quote Brazilian educator, advocate, and philosopher Paulo Freire, an inquiry education “provoke[s] the discovering of need for knowing and never to impose the knowledge whose need was not yet perceived”.* By clicking on the following names of education related groups and organizations, you will be taken to websites that provide inquiry-based and open educational resources.
Focus on Content (Dimension 2)
Social studies is the foundation upon which learners make sense of the world around them. Social studies provides students with context, problem solving skills, ability to make judgments, and character development. We begin to lose all those values when we marginalize social studies or force social studies educators to devote their class time to teaching ELA or math skills. By using Inquiry-based learning educators can focus on content and allow the teaching process to make natural interdisciplinary connections and students have shown an improvement in literacy and comprehension.
Evaluating Sources and Using Supporting Evidence
Learners of all ages spend significant time evaluating sources and using supportive evidence. Even children as young as four and five use these skills quite frequently.
The way children reason about sources of information about people intersects with many issues of interest to developmental psychologists, including the development of person perception (Ruble & Dweck, 1995; Yuill, 1997) and critical thinking skills (see Gopnik & Graf, 1988). It also has implications for how children make use of other people’s knowledge: Excessive skepticism about sources can lead children to miss opportunities for learning, and a complete lack of skepticism can leave children vulnerable to being manipulated or misinformed (see Baldwin & Moses, 1996; Robinson, Champion, & Mitchell, 1999).
Heyman GD, Legare CH. Children’s evaluation of sources of information about traits. Dev Psychol. 2005;41(4):636-647.
Evaluating sources requires that we ask questions. Are the sources reliable? Are they accurate and what is the objective of the source? Both evaluating sources and using supporting evidence represent the highest level of student thought and to make sense of the world, students must tap into multiple and sometimes multifaceted resources. One of the goals of social studies education should be to develop these crucially important skills in all learners.
Communicating Conclusions (Dimension 4)
Having worked independently and collaboratively through the development of questions, the application of disciplinary knowledge and concepts, and the gathering of sources and use of evidence and information, students formalize their arguments and explanations. Products such as essays, reports, and multimedia presentations offer students opportunities to represent their ideas in a variety of forms and communicate their conclusions to a range of audiences. Students’ primary audiences will likely be their teachers and classmates, but even young children benefit from opportunities to share their conclusions with audiences outside their classroom doors.
From NCSS – “The Inquiry Arc of the C3 Framework”