Social Studies refer to “the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence” (Waring, 2011, p. 43). Social Studies curriculum provides a coordinated and a systemized study drawing upon various fields of humanities such as Anthropology, Geography, History, Sociology, Political Science, and Religion (Waring, 2011, p. 44). The major goal of Social Studies is to equip young people with skills and knowledge that enable them to make informed and articulate decisions that benefit the public. On the other hand, civic values refer to “fundamental principles that form the foundation of a democratic government” (Waring, 2011, p. 45).
Some of the civic values include honesty, justice, liberty, and equality, which are crucial in a democratic nation. Therefore, it is important to incorporate the teaching of civic values in the Social Studies curriculum. This paper examines the role of civic values in the Social Studies curriculum and how textbooks and technological resources can be used in a manner that adds value to students.
Role of Civic Values in Social Studies Curriculum
Social Studies curriculum should entail “experiences that enable young people to study ideals, principles, and practices of citizenship in a democratic republic” (Kochhar, 2000, p. 16). A clear understanding of civic values and practices is crucial in empowering young people to participate actively in society and to exercise their citizenship fully, which is the major goal of Social Studies. Through Social Studies, students get a chance to examine civic values and ideals across time and in various societies thereby enabling them to identify gaps and devise ways to close gaps in their respective democratic governments (Waring, 2011, pp. 45-46).
“Acquisition of knowledge on how to apply civic values and ideals as part of citizenship is critical in the exercise of democratic freedoms and the pursuit of common good” (Waring, 2011, p. 46). Through Social Studies, students get a chance to gain an understanding of basic human rights and freedoms.
The teaching of civic values in Social Studies is also important because it enables students to recognize the rights and responsibilities that citizens have in the identification of societal needs and formulation of public policies that promote the common good of citizens (Kochhar, 2000, p. 24). Additionally, the teaching of civic values in Social Studies helps students to embrace and promote justice and equality, which are core in a democratic republic.
How to Use Textbooks and Technological Resources
Textbooks and technological resources serve as important resources that can add value to students. For instance, students can be assigned various tasks or assignments given in textbooks. Such tasks can be done in groups of students thus enabling students to develop a team spirit and acquire skills of working within a diverse environment (Kochhar, 2000, p. 24)
Similarly, teachers can also use technological resources such as mobile phones and computers to promote classroom participation and enhance understanding during the learning process. For example, a teacher can guide students to use mobile phones to carry out mock elections as a way of demonstrating citizenship rights and responsibilities.
The incorporation of civic values in the Social Studies curriculum is critical in the promotion of civic competence among young people. The teaching of civic values empowers young people to participate actively in public life and enables them to remain committed to democratic ideals.
Kochhar, S. (2000). Teaching of Social Studies. New Delhi: Sterling Publishers.
Waring, M. S. (2011). Preserving History: The Construction of History in the K-16 Classroom. New York: IAP.