Reflecting on Teaching Social Science

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Reflective Journal for Fortnight One, Semester 2
(Lecture: 25th June, Lecture & Workshop: 2nd July)

This fortnight focused on civics and citizenship and global citizenship, two areas of social education I have been eager to find out more about, as I never really covered these topics in my own schooling. One part of the lecture really made me listen – “knowledge is power, you can’t participate if you don’t know how the system works” – and I think this is an idea I can transfer to my classroom to engage my students. As my subjects are actually history and English, I have never really had an interest in the broader areas of social education, so I’m really glad that general Australian politics were covered in the lecture, as I have not looked at it since I was in Year 8 – it turns out when it comes to civics and citizenship I’m not “smarter than a 7th grader”!

In the reading, Tudball and Gordon (2011) noted that teachers should “encourage students to be active and informed citizens through classroom based learning, in wider school programs, and through links to the community” (404). This aligns closely with the ideas of Reynolds (2012), who notes that global and active citizenship should be constructed by both whole school and classroom approaches, and suggests that students can participate in community activities, such as Clean Up Australia Day (143). I found these ideas extremely helpful as they gave me a practical idea of how I can implement something I currently know little about. These readings also made me realise the importance of community and whole-school approaches, which is one of QCT’s 10 standards for Queensland teachers, so I now have ideas of ways to achieve this standard with my students outside general classroom activities.

Tudball and Gordon also reference McLaughlin’s (1992) maximal view of Civics and Citizenship Education (CCE) that comprises knowledge that is necessary for active citizenship, as well as skills and attitudes required for participation in democratic processes (407). Reynolds suggests that this could be implemented through simulations closely linked to state and commonwealth approaches (136), and this was actually demonstrated in the workshop this week. The students who presented the mini lesson created a really good class environment to explore something that Year 7s or 8s would be unfamiliar with. I took notes on this approach after class and kept the handouts they gave the class so that I can implement this in my future classes, as I found it really effective.

When the idea of civics and citizenship was first mentioned at the beginning of the year I was not really interested. However, after attending the lectures and tutorials and doing the readings, I can see its importance and look forward to creating global and active citizens in my classroom.

Reference List:

Tudball, L., & Gordon, K. (2011). Teaching for Active and Informed Citizenship. In R. Gilbert & B. Hoepper (Eds.), Teaching Society and Environment (pp. 403-422). South Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Cengage Learning.

Reynolds, R. (2012). Citizenship Education. In R. Reynolds (2nd edition), Teaching History, Geography and SOSE in the Primary School (pp. 136-151). South Melbourne, VIC, Australia: Oxford University Press.

Reflective Journal for Fortnight Two, Semester 2
(Lecture: 9th July, Lecture & Workshop: 16th July)

Before this fortnight I knew a little about sustainability and Australia’s engagement with Asia, but enough that I felt comfortable incorporating it into teaching. Reynolds’ (2012) definition was very helpful to give me an understanding of how teaching sustainability fits into social education and its goals: “Geography and education for sustainable development is the study of place with a view to maintaining it for future generations” (189). Reynolds also notes that students need to “learn about the environment” and “acquire attitudes of care and concern for the environment”...
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