Using Literature in Social Sciences

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Multiple Perspectives & Literature in Social Studies

March 10, 2014
Professor Bret Werner
History and social studies is made up of events from the past that involves multiple people who are sometimes from different countries, cultures, races, religions, or political parties. With this much diversity tied to events and in the world as a whole, it would be inconceivable to think that everyone will have the same perspective or opinion. Every event, no matter when or where it occurred, will offer multiple perspectives. This is the intriguing part of social studies and history because a key factor in learning is finding a way to connect with the event. Learning of different perspectives gives someone that opportunity to relate to a piece of history.

It is important for teachers to present multiple perspectives in social studies in order for students to understand that events and issues are never one sided. When students consider the missing or other perspective, they realize that the same event can be experienced by people in different ways (Teachinghistory.org, 2010-2014). Teachers should always be encouraging students to think about whose voice is not being heard as they study historical events. Learning to think this way, will give students a solid foundation to overcome adversity when their viewpoint is challenged and hopefully open their minds to others thoughts and opinions. Additionally, according to Brush & Saye (2001), “Using multiple sources and examining multiple perspectives in historical inquiry in more open-ended classroom contexts, students also demonstrate a high level of engagement and a greater enjoyment of the study of history” (Cox, 2012, para. 3).

Incorporating literature into social studies lesson plans provides an extensive opportunity to explore multiple perspectives. Historical fiction can be used as an engaging tool to create excitement and curiosity of historical through imagination as they create...
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