There are fifty strategies for creating meaningful guidance and experience in teaching social studies in elementary and pre-service schools. The fifty strategies provide models and examples that teachers can utilize when teaching social studies. This essay describes the most engaging instructional strategies. It also looks at how they can be applied to meet the needs of diverse groups.
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Most engaging strategies
The first strategy is developing multiple perspectives when teaching social studies. This strategy involves introducing perspectives that are part of students’ prior knowledge and learning (Obenchain & Morris, 2011). Teachers can achieve this through the careful determination of the lesson objectives that incorporate multiple perspectives. Explicit objectives are determined to introduce or reinforce diverse ideas. This enables students to explore and demonstrate the multiple perspectives in an abstract manner.
Community building strategy refers to the teamwork between teachers and students. It also involves having the respect of each other’s unique differences. It requires teachers to acknowledge that students are social beings that need to be nurtured, developed, and maintained so that they can overcome cultural stereotypes in the classroom. This strategy is important in enabling students to be familiar with diversity in multiple ways.
In the end, a classroom of multiple individuals and collective talents is created. Students are able to recognize and appreciate each other, thereby resulting in the creation of a community within a classroom. This strategy fosters inclusion, trust, and openness in classrooms (Obenchain & Morris, 2011). These virtues create a healthy classroom community, which in turn enhances a classroom of “grade-specific” social studies.
The third strategy is establishing a democratic classroom. Obenchain and Morris (2011) hold that students should be allowed to participate in the process of making classroom rules and policies. Teachers should take this as an opportunity to link rules to the needs of the students. Establishing a democratic classroom enables students to commit to and have deep ownership of the rules and outcomes. Moreover, establishing a democratic classroom helps students and teachers to share their needs. Finally, this strategy enables teachers to learn about civic knowledge, skills, or attitudes that students bring in classrooms.
Adapting the strategies
Establishing a democratic classroom strategy can also be adapted to meet the needs of diverse groups. This can be achieved by allowing each student to write his/her expectations from teachers and classmates. In addition, a teacher should also allow students to state what they expect from the classroom for effective teaching. Moreover, students should be instructed to write about what will happen after their needs are met. This allows linking rules to the needs identified by students, hence meeting their diverse needs.
Community building can be adapted for diverse students through the use of leadership Bingo. Students should be allowed to approach their colleagues to collect signatures to cover the bingo sheet only once. This introduces academic conversations amongst students, hence building an inclusive classroom community that is responsive to the needs of diverse groups.
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Lastly, developing multiple perspectives can be adapted amongst older students by allowing them to study different historical narrative sources to see how historical events were viewed. For the current event, students should be allowed to compare different sources of similar events. This fosters a diverse perspective and reinforces awareness of different perspectives.
Developing multiple perspectives, establishing a democratic classroom, and building a community strategy helps to enhance a grade-specific classroom of social studies. These strategies reinforce individual and collective knowledge, attitude, and skills that meet the needs of diverse groups. Therefore, they are described as the most engaging instructional strategies from the fifty social studies strategies.
Obenchain, K.M., & Morris, R. V. (2011). 50 social studies strategies for K–8 classrooms. Boston, MA. Pearson.