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TOPIC: FEATURES OF GOOD SOCIAL SCIENCE TEXT BOOK.
SUBMITTED BY: FELSIYA MARY .A
OPTION: SOCIAL SCIENCE.
ROLL NO. 40
Social Science, which can be defined as Value (what people prefer),
Characteristics (who people are) Human behaviour (what people do) “Social
science is, in its broadest sense, the study of society and the manner in which
people behave and influence the world around us” (Economic and Social
Research Council) Specifically, study of Social Science cont…
Subjects Anthropology, Communication studies, Criminology, Economics,
Geography, History, Political science, Psychology, Social studies, and sociology
ethnicity and gender, employment and leisure, recreation & tourism, population
health, lifestyle & wellbeing
1) to facilitate the understanding of human behaviour
2) It seeks to find explanation to unexplained social
3) To identify functional relationship existing in a social phenomena.
4) To find out the natural laws that regulate or direct social phenomena
5) To standardize the society concept, e.g. culture, generation gap, social
6) To formulate solution to social problems.
Objectives of social research cont.
7) To maintain social organization,
remove social tension, misconception
8) Helps clarify doubts and correct misconceptions about facts of life
Definitions of Social Studies
In 1992, the Nat ional Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) adopted the following
definition of “social studies”:
Social studies are the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to
promote civic competence. Within the school program, social studies provides
coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology,
archaeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science,
psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the
humanit ies, mathematics, and natural sciences. The primary purpose of social
studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned
decisions for the public good as cit izens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in
an interdependent world. (NCSS Task Force on Standards for Teaching and Learning
in the Social Studies, 1993, p. 213)
The NCSS, the professional organization of social studies educators, has played an
essential role since 1921 (www.ncss.org). The NCSS definition seems to be a good
place to start our discussion of how to teach social studies in an elementary school
classroom. The existence of an “official” definition is somewhat mislead ing because
authorities in the field have long debated the dimensions of an appropriate definit ion
of social studies (Barr, Barth, & Shermis, 1977; Barth & Shermis, 1970; Dougan,
1988; Evans, 2004; Griffith, 1991). The NCSS definition states the topics covered in
social studies and clarifies the purposes of social studies teaching and learning.
Barth (1993) provides a simpler definition of social studies:
Social studies is the interdisciplinary integrat ion of social science and humanities
concepts for the purpose of practicing problem solving and decision making for
developing citizenship skills on critical social issues.
I think this is a useful definition. It emphasizes the ultimate goal of social studies
teaching—to help students think critically and to use what they know to be active
citizens. I have a definition, too:
Social studies are the study of people. Social studies should help students acquire
knowledge, master the processes of learning, and become active citizens.
A closer look at my definition and a discussion of those provided by the NCSS and
Professor Barth should bring social studies into sharper focus.
Social Studies Is the Study of People:
People are the domain of social studies. This includes people as nearby as family and
as far away as those who live in the most distant nations. It includes people living
now, those who lived long ago, and those who will live in the future. Social studies
have the potential to be the best part of the school day because it is when children
connect with other people. As children learn about others, they will be fascinated by
differences among cultural groups, while at the same time they will find the
commonalities that create a shared sense of humanity. It is a complex task to teach
about people, and informat ion must come from many fields of study. The NCSS
definition points out that it is the various disciplines of the social sciences and
humanit ies that provide the content for what is taught during social studies. While
history and geography should serve as the core of social studies, it is imperative
that the other social sciences are not neglected; rather, they should be a significant
part of every social studies program. The other social sciences are anthropology,
economics, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology.
The humanities (literature, the performing arts, and the visual arts) are an
important part of social studies, too (Eisner, 1991). The arts serve two functions.
First, they help children better understand the people, places, and ideas they study.
Stories, songs, dances, plays, paintings, statues, and other works of art allow
students to become acquainted with the people who created them. Second, children
can show us what they know by expressing themselves through the arts. As Barth
(1993) points out, social studies involve integrat ion of the social sciences and the
humanit ies. A good social studies unit of study should pull informat ion and ideas
from several different fields.
What is a text-book?
A text-book is a specially written which contains selective and systematic
knowledge. Every care is taken for coherence and sequence. It is made to simple to
the degree that suits the intended learner. It is not a bare statement of knowledge
but is armed with various teaching- learning devices to fulfil the desired instructional
role. A text-book differs from ordinary book mainly on the score that it combines
within it teaching-learning techniques and motives.
Instructional materials for pupils:
The text book, in fact constitutes an inseparable part of any system of education
today. Even in the most developed countries, where a variety of teaching-learning
tools and techniques are available in the class-rooms, text books
continue to enjoy their rightful place. In a developing country like ours where even
the minimum essential requirements of a class rooms are hardly provided, the
need for quality text books cannot be over emphasised.
As far social studies are concerned, the text book is an aid which is considered
indispensable to all methods for the study of social studies. In school work in
social studies the text book remains after the teacher, the learners, chief aid and
support.... A well – chosen text- book can always be a useful adjunct to the
efforts of the teacher and a reassurance to the pupil.
In the USA, text books are used in social studies from the earliest classes, but in
European schools, social studies text- books are rarely in use in primary classes.
In Indian schools, text-books are in use from the earliest to the highest classes
and all our lessons are based on text-books.
Text books- Indispensable in Social studies.
Good text- books are indispensable for the study and teaching of social studies
for various reasons.
1. To help the teacher:
Text-book provides useful guidelines along which the teacher can plan his
day-to-day teaching; it serve as a reference book while actually teaching in
the class- rooms; provides suggestions for some assignments; suggests
activities to be taken up in the class-room and outside It can be used to aid
the teacher who has run out of new ideas.
2. To help the pupil:
For the pupil, a text book is the most accessible guide, a dependable
reference book and all-time companion. The pupil makes use of the text
book to prepare them in advance for learning in the class room; revises
and reinforces the class room learning; does assignments at home;
prepares for the examination; reads for pleasure; and seeks guidance and
references for further studies.
3. To give the minimum essential knowledge at one place:
A text –book can be constant standby of the social studies teacher, as it
gives the minimum knowledge at one place. All teachers are not in a
position to dig up facts. Some mature, well- trained experienced teachers
may find it possible to dispense to use their outlines and thus find it
possible to dispense with a basal text-book, but most teachers cannot and
should not do it.
4. To help in self teaching:
The tradition of imparting education through the instrument of lecturing has
high value especially when the teacher is armed with special gifts i.e.
inspiring of the gifted and encouraging the weak students, etc. The efficacy
of the text-book lies in making self-teaching a possible through printed
materials. Thus, a good text-book can prove an insurance against illiteracy
at home which is normal in the case of many children.
5. To provide logical and comprehensive material:
A good text-book provides material in a systematic and comprehensive
form. That is why it sets a standard of minimum essential to be achieved
by pupil categories. It gives the beginner a grasp of new matter. It also
gives direction for further studies to enthusiastic pupils.
6. To ensure uniformity of a good standard:
The text –book provides a highway for carrying better practices to all
schools. Some sorts of uniformity of good standard are ensured. The text-book
furnishes a common basis on which to master the process of reading
analysing outlining and summarising. It thus, furnishes a common
laboratory in which to develop study skills.
7. To provide base from which both the teacher and pupils may start
and continue to work:
The text-book contains the minimum essential knowledge and can, thus,
provide a point of departure for a mere comprehensive link. Further, it
provides the common ground which both the students and teachers may
explore together. Also, it can focus attention on the same issues- events,
sequences and circumstances and serves well as a rallying point.
8. To provide both conformation and sustenance:
The text-book is supposed to contain the facts which are carefully sifted
and examined. Thus, it can confirm the knowledge obtained elsewhere. ‘It
is related that even Lord Acton, when preparing his famous lectures on
modern history, would be found writing with a pedestrian text-book of
European history at his elbow to ensure presumably that inspiration did not
lead him beyond the bounds the recorded fact.’
9. To rectify the limitation of the class room situation in most of the
There are some limitations of class room situation in our country which
warrant the use of social science text books.
A large number of students in each class, creating congestion
Lengthy course and teachers worried about finishing the prescribed
syllabus within the specified period.
Extremely divergent opinion regarding historical, political and social
Non- availability of other teaching aids and devices which are
indispensable for effective instruction.
10. To ensure intellectual rapprochement of peoples:
Good social studies text-books can coordinate the activities can bring
about the intellectual rapprochement of people. They can serve as organs
of national co-ordination.
Criteria for a good social studies text-book:
A text-book only an aid or tool. To be helpful and useful, it must
contain all the qualifications of an aid or tool. A good social studies text-book
must satisfy the following criteria:
1. It should help in achieving the purposes of teaching social studies:
It should assume special responsibility toward the promotion of some
national goals like secularism and national integration as also to recognise
and get rid of what is undesirable and antiquated. The book through it
content, style of presentation, exercises, and illustrations, should provide the
understandings which are necessary for the promotion of the national goals.
2. It should be child centred:
A good text-book on social studies should be suitable to the age, ability and
interests of pupils. It should be primarily addressed to pupils of a particular
age group and of a particular society. Just as the world of child expands in
concentric as he grow, so his text-book must reflect the stage he has
3. It should contain fluent narration:
Instead of a bare outline of a series of cut and dried facts, there should be
chatty, descriptive and brightly coloured details and lot of explains of why
things happen. There should not only be, ‘what’ of people and events but
also ‘how’ and ‘why’ ‘where’ and ‘when’ of them. The book should not only
give the result but also the long tedious and doubtful struggles that produce
4. It should have a clear and self explanatory arrangement:
It should have a detailed table of contents and material should be arranged
under headings to be easily comprehended by the pupils.
5. It should open up various avenues of thought and study:
Social studies should never be something that comes out of a book. The
social studies text-book should make it evident that what is given in the book
is only a beginning. It should create interest and help to develop that interest
by suggestions as to how the matter given in the book may be followed up
6. The language of the text-book should be suitable for the ‘reading age’ of the
pupils. The text-book for the younger children should be especially written in
simple sentences so as to establish an effective communication with them.
The language used should be also being accurate and appropriate so that it
helps in enriching children’s language.
7. It should be well-illustrated:
The abstract concepts presented in the text-book should be illustrated
through visual aids, such as, photographs, maps, time lines. Pictures,
picture- diagrams, etc. The book should be attractive, inviting, a pleasure to
look at and read.
8. It should be simple and interesting, and attractive enough to take the
form of a self- study reader:
Pupils should be able to take advantages of the text-book with the least help
from the teacher and parents. The text-book should give exercises at the end
of a unit/topic to enable the pupils to focus their attention on the right points
in the discussion for concentrated study.
9. It should be free from indoctrination:
It should present a comparative view of the ideas of different people
expressed on a particular phase of life. It should not contain superficial and
misleading generalisation like ‘the British are all children of perfidious
Albinos’ It should not contain too much of nationalism as it tends to be
dogmatic, and conclusive and official.
10. It should provide proper and adequate exercise and suggestions for activities
etc. At the end of each chapter. The exercise should flow from the main text,
supplement and complement it. Exercise must include a variety of items so
that the following purposes are achieved.
11. It must be up to date:
Social studies are an area of the curriculum whose content, emphasis and
treatment are undergoing modification in the light of new excavations and
researches, new events and movements. It is therefore, essential that the
social studies text-book is frequently revised so as to eliminate those things
which no longer hold good and to add those which have to play a significant
role. The textbook must contain the latest information, the result of recent
research for nothing but harm could result from perpetuating mistakes and
stereotyped views. The sources from which the information is drawn should
12. It should help in developing international understanding:
It should emphasise cultural relations between the nations of the world and
the contribution of different nations to the pool of world civilisation.
13. It should contain references for further study and references for collateral
reading. This will motivate the interested pupils to pursue their studies
14. It should also cater to the needs of backward pupils. This can be done by
giving small but leading questions at the end of every sub-topic.
15. It should promote group effort. It should contain suggestions for group
projects with every topic. Assignments with divisions may be suggested
which could be jointly attempted by the groups. It should contain suggestions
on constructing models, preparing charts, etc.
16. It should contain a subject index at the end. This is specially required for the
text-book for higher classes. Index can be helpful in developing independent
study habits in our pupils. It will help in forming a habit of making references
and comparisons in pupils and facilitating a combination of topics with
Basic text- books are likely to be widely used for the years to come. It is
essential that the teacher knows the proper use of text-book. Text-book is a
store-house of basic information, which contains narrative details. Therefore
let us love to read books, specially the books that give us knowledge, and
the books that sustains, and inspires us to live life meaningfully. Let our life
become a text-book, as teachers let us leave the legacy. Let others read our
book of life as the ‘footprints on the sand of our times’. Thank you.
The teaching of Social studies- by S.K.Kochhar.