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What is Social Studies: Deconstructing the Front Matter

Task 1:

Social Studies: the exploration of the dynamic relationship between citizenship and identity, leading to

the development of respect for the diverse individual and collective identities found within Canada.

Student will study the relationship people have between one another, as well as between people and the

world they live in.

The Purpose: To give students the skills to become engaged, active, informed, and responsible citizens by

teaching them to apply a critical understanding of their rights pertaining to democracy. The fostering of

an understanding for different perspectives and how they play into identity is also important in the

mission of the social studies curriculum.

Cross-Curricular: The Social Studies Curriculum incorporates subjects such as history, geography, ecology,

economics, law, philosophy, and political science (etc.).

Teaching: Teachers are viewed as lifelong learners with connections and access to community resources.

Teachers are also expected to keep abreast of current affairs and be able to make the relevant and

relatively unbiased connections between these and their curriculum.

Learners: Students are active learners who can be actively engaged through certain techniques.

Students bring multiple perspectives that will come into play while the willingly and actively discuss

controversial, whether current or historic, issues.

Knowledge: Students will: understand their rights and responsibilities in order to make decisions in a

democratic society. They will understand and relate the multiple historical perspectives to the present

and how cohesion is reached while protecting these diverse perspectives.

Skills: Through interacting with the social studies material, students will develop and refine their critical,

creative, historical, and geographic thinking; ethical problem solving; conflict resolution; research; and

their ability to use their research to present and defend their opinions. Students will also further

develop their oral, written, and visual literacy.

Attitudes: Students will develop an understanding and respect for diversity, tradition, and change within

the local and global community.

Task 2:

Overall, the three academic perspectives in the writings focused on the over-arching themes of

the social studies curriculum: citizenship and identity. These topics are broad and offer the first difficulty

in teaching the curriculum. With the staggering amount of diversity in Canada, identity is a difficult

concept to teach. Within a classroom there will be many different backgrounds and perspectives

represented, and teaching the concepts properly in an inclusive way can be daunting. Yet if done

properly, a community of inclusiveness can grow within the classroom, and hopefully outside as well.

The representation of FNMI and Francophone perspectives in the 2004 curriculum is so

important. Canadians are usually quite proud to boast about being a mixing bowl, yet we cant begin to

understand the minority cultures represented in our country if we dont attempt to understand those

who were here first. Yet Kent den Heyer raises the point that including these new perspectives adds a lot

of new material to be covered. This material not only needs to be covered in class, but may seem

overwhelming for teachers. They would also need to become competent with new material in order to

teach it. This material, depending on the biases teachers bring with them, could be quite contentious

[ CITATION Ken09 \l 4105 ]. Many teachers likely have limited knowledge of these subjects and may be

uncomfortable discussing them with their students. Their students bring inherited knowledge

[ CITATION Ken09 \l 4105 ] into their classroom and this may cause some conflict. This inherited
knowledge is often learned from family, friends, the media, etc. and can cause unforeseen problems.

This could be a problem its true, but I believe if the right classroom environment is established, a teacher

should be able to discuss these topics with their students. Learning new topics is daunting, and working

around student biases are both obstacles, but they are obstacles that teachers already deal with often.

For the sake of helping their students become more rounded, and in some cases encouraging Aboriginal

students to stay in school with more relatable material[ CITATION Che05 \l 4105 ], this is definitely an

obstacles worth overcoming.

Beside Cheryl Pettens article is another obstacle school division and post-secondary institutions

have to face due to the new curriculum: hiring new staff. In order to best serve students, new staff

would be especially important in post-secondary institutions in order to equip pre-service teachers with

the ability to teach this new curriculum. Again, new staff being hired is not an obstacle that does not

have to be overcome in other circumstances.

The opportunities in the new curriculum offer many opportunities as well. Students now have to

interact with material in different ways, developing many skills that can be applied to other areas of their

life, such as critical thinking. Students will now have more opportunity to address and reflect on their

own biases. They will also learn to make connections between the past and the present, and relate

different subjects (social, economic, geography) to the formation of identity. With the new curriculum,

the identity represented within school is now also less narrow, and has opened to represent the

minorities within Canadas history as well. This allows more students to relate to the material and form a

positive identity as a citizen of Canada. Overall, the opportunities of the new curriculum are that more

students will be able to relate the material introduced.