Friday, September 6, 2019

Meaning and definition of Social Sciences



 Social Science
Social Science is a generic term covering the scientific study of man. It is a discipline or branch of science that deals with the socio-cultural aspects of human behaviour. The social sciences generally include cultural anthropology, economics, political science, sociology, criminology, and social psychology.
What are the seven social sciences? 
 Anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, sociology, and psychology are the seven social sciences. 

Definition of Social Science:
Social science is defined as any scholastic discipline or scientific field that investigates human society.
According to James High “Social Sciences as those bodies of learning and study which recognizes the simultaneous and mutual action of physical and no-physical stimuli which produce social relation”.
According to Charles Beard “Social Sciences are a body of knowledge and thought pertaining to human affairs as distinguished from sticks, stones, stars and physical objects”.
Bining & Bining defines Social Science as “the subject that relate to the origin, organization, and development of human society, especially to man in his association with other men”.
Social Studies:
Social Studies is a field of study which deals with man, his relation with other men and his environment; its content is drawn from several social sciences. It is a course of study including anthropology, history, geography, economics, political science, sociology, law, civics, etc.

Definition of Social Studies:
According to Michaelis, “the Social Studies are concerned with man and his interaction with his social and physical environment; they deal with human relationships; the central function of the social studies is identical with the central purpose of education – the development of democratic citizenship”.
National Council for the Social Studies defined Social Studies as “the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence".

Nature of Social Science:
The real nature of this discipline can be well understood by analyzing the above definitions.
1. A unique combination of various disciplines.
2. A study of human relationships.
3. A study of man’s development through ages.
4. A realistic course of study.
5. It forms an important part of the core-curriculum.
6. It includes commitment to action.
7. Aims at preparing the learner for wholesome social living.

Scope of Social Studies:
The scope of Social Studies is very vast and wide as wide as the world itself and as lengthy as the history of man. According to Michaelis “the breadth of social studies programme should provide for a variety of experiences so that the child’s learning will be well rounded and well balanced”.
The main points are as follows:
1. Vast and wide as the world. It is as wide as the world and s long as the world. It is the study of human relationships in areas such as:
a.       People of one’s own nationality and people across the world.
b.       People and various kinds of institutions.
c.       People and Earth.
d.       People and Time.
e.       People and resources.
2. A functional study of Natural and Physical sciences and Fine Arts.
          Social Science - Natural Science – Physical Science are inter related
          Development, change, etc. in one field effect the others
3. A study of current affairs.
4. A study leading to International Understanding.
5. Practical study of various resources.

Similarities between Social studies and Social Sciences:
        Social Science and Social Studies are not only related generically. They also share common body of content.
        Both are related to society and have same aims and objectives.
        Both emphasis on inculcating good qualities like truthfulness, sincerity, etc. of human being.
        Both helps to understand the various aspects of the society and utilize them.
        Both are must be accurate and reliable- only then can be useful.

Difference between Social Studies and Social Science:
1.     The focus and emphasis of both are different:- When a student studies geography as a social science, he has to focus his attention on the methods of geography, tools and concepts, etc.  Wile studying geography as a social studies, he should focus attention on using ideas and concepts from geography, to understand man,  how his efforts to control his environment have led to a better life, how various geographical factors influence his life, etc.
2.     Social Sciences represent an adult approach, while the social studies represent a child-approach: Social sciences are to be taught at the high school and college level. Social Studies are simplified portions of social sciences to be taught at primary level.
3.     Social sciences are the theory part of human affairs; social studies are the practice part of human affairs: Social sciences are large bodies of organized and authentic knowledge representing human affairs. While social studies gives an insight into various aspects of man and society.
4.     The social sciences are far larger than the social studies: The purpose of the social sciences is to find out new truth about human relationships; the purpose of the social studies is to guide adolescents in their learning of selected portions of what has been discovered in social sciences.
5.     In social sciences, social utility is the primary object; in social studies instructional utility is the primary object.
6.     Social sciences are the part of cultural of knowledge having direct bearing on man’s activities in any field, Social studies offers learning situation and insight into all knowledge.
Evolution of social science as a subject


The history of the social sciences has origin in the common stock of Western philosophy and shares various precursors, but began most intentionally in the early 19th century with the positivist philosophy of science. Since the mid-20th century, the term "social science" has come to refer more generally, not just to sociology, but to all those disciplines which analyse society and culture; from anthropology to linguistics to media studies.

The idea that society may be studied in a standardized and objective manner, with scholarly rules and methodology, is comparatively recent. While there is evidence of early sociology in medieval Islam, and while philosophers such as Confucius had long since theorised on topics such as social roles, the scientific analysis of "Man" is peculiar to the intellectual break away from the Age of Enlightenment and toward the discourses of Modernity. Social sciences came forth from the moral philosophy of the time and was influenced by the Age of Revolutions, such as the Industrial revolution and the French revolution. The beginnings of the social sciences in the 18th century are reflected in the grand encyclopedia of Diderot, with articles from Rousseau and other pioneers.

As a subject

Social science can be described as all of the following:

·         Branch of science – systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe.
·         Major category of academic disciplines – an academic discipline is focused study in one academic field or profession. A discipline incorporates expertise, people, projects, communities, challenges, studies, inquiry, and research areas that are strongly associated with academic areas of study or areas of professional practice. For example, the branches of science are commonly referred to as the scientific disciplines. For instance, gravitation is strongly associated with the discipline of physics, and is considered to be part of that disciplinary knowledge.
Need and significance of teaching Social Science in the present context

§  “There are two sides to a coin – social sciences help us understand both and to make a choice.”
§  “Pure Sciences teach us about how technology is developed and used. Social sciences help us understand the impact of technology.”

The aim of society and that of its education system are intertwined. While the aim of education is explicitly stated in policy documents, legal instruments and curriculum frameworks, it is tacitly woven in the selection, arrangement of content, its frequency and the transaction modes. Social science content not only defines and validates societal aims it also has the capacity to provoke learners to critically examine them on the anvil of universal values of social justice and environmental sustainability.
The NCERT National Focus Group on ‘Teaching of Social Sciences’ puts it thus – “The Social Sciences carry a normative responsibility to create and widen the popular base of human values, namely freedom, trust, mutual respect, and respect for diversity. Given this, social science teaching should aim at investing in children a critical moral and mental energy to make them alert to the social forces that threaten these values. Through the discussion of concerns such as threats to the environment, caste/class inequality, state repression, through an interdisciplinary approach.”
Social Sciences provide a framework to look at content emerging from other subjects – to see how that content is used in society, for whose benefit. Even the so called pure sciences are embedded in a certain social culture and are influenced by it. More often than not the technology based on application of science is selectively used for the benefit of the dominant groups who control it by aiding research and development or by influencing policies including those related with education. The impact all these have on defining the character of a society can be understood by the use of tools rooted in social sciences.
‘The popular perception of social sciences is that it is a non-utility subject’. The low status accorded to social sciences in formal education is the reason behind this. The importance given in the school timetable to pure sciences, math, (and increasingly English in India) as against social sciences and regional languages is one obvious indicator of this. Teachers who deal with these subjects are often given a special status vis-a-vis those teaching social sciences. Students interested and excelling in social sciences are not considered bright. It is assumed that high scoring students will naturally opt for streams leading to engineering, medicine, and not humanities. The choices are also influenced by gender and caste/class dimensions. Upper-caste, better-off boys are groomed to choose branches related to pure sciences and girls, SC/ST, economically weaker sections are driven to opt for social sciences. Overall, low self-esteem, disinterest, casualness dominate the educational culture.

The reasons are many. In school they are directly related to the fragmented, incomprehensive content load and lack of critical pedagogy. Content is selected and arranged not on the natural demands of the subject but with certain hegemonic compulsions. Instances of exploitation of social sciences to push a certain political agenda at the cost of justice and peace are unfortunately many. Skirting issues of gender, caste, glorification of violence and hatred for other communities under the name of nationalism, eulogizing and politicizing historical figures out of time and cultural context .
In general, our educational ethos is steeped in behaviorist traditions. Discussing real issues that children experience in everyday life is seen as unnecessarily exposing young minds to ‘delicate’, ‘controversial’ issues. It is argued that this will affect their innocent minds and that they’ll imitate ‘wrong’ things. The fact that there is an intuitive sense of wise decision-making in all of us, that the decisions we take are a complex mix of multitudes of factors is not taken into account. What goes under the name of social science teaching are mere slogans, platitudes. Efforts at objectively and scientifically approaching a subject-matter are actively discouraged when cries of ‘hurting sentiments’ are raised. Thus the dangerous culture of saying the right things while doing what is convenient comes into play.
In the world of growing commodification and marketization, social sciences has no takers. This is both a cause and an effect. Keeping social sciences over- burdened with meaningless information load, devoid of the pleasure of critical engagement and enthusiasm to create new knowledge makes the subject disinteresting or ‘unwanted’. On the other hand, by shunning spaces for critical engagement, the natural spirit of questioning things in the young is dampened. Thus, gradually, adverse effects of the use of technology that benefits few, that tramples on human rights and destroys the environment under the name of development remain unquestioned. The casualty here is the very essence of science based on empiricism and questioning.
This takes us to the beginning of this piece. The answers to the challenges outlined here lie in the ethos, the aim of education. The nature of social science teaching or for that matter teaching of all subjects will change when we have the opportunity to re-examine the purpose of education. Is education just about acquiring high percentages, degrees, doing jobs devoid of the pleasure of creation, which involve actions that are anti-poor, destructive to the environment? Is this what is progress? Will this give us a happy society? The urgency of seeking answers to these questions is immense and within the frame of formal education the on us of examining these issues is at the core of social sciences.
In recent years STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) sciences have received the majority of investment and support from government, universities, etc., while these subjects are no doubt important, the importance of social sciences should not be ignored. In fact, in areas such as social and primary care, the justice system, and business, to name just a few, social science is extremely important, and necessary. It is therefore very important that this educational imbalance be addressed and more support provided to the social sciences.
While for many people the words “social sciences” may conjure up images of social workers or teachers, this is a gross misunderstanding of the range of roles available within this discipline, as well as the impact that it has on the wider world. In general, social sciences focus on the study of society and the relationship among individuals within society. Social science covers a wide spectrum of subjects, including economics, political science, sociology, history, archaeology, anthropology, and law. In comparison to STEM sciences, social science is able to provide insight into how science and innovation work – in effect it is the science of science. In particular, social scientists are equipped with the analytical and communication skills that are important throughout many industries and organizations.

What do social scientists do?

Social scientists are involved with solving many of the world’s biggest issues, such as violent crime, alternative energy, and cyber security. They have had profound effects on every part of society.

Strengthening social sciences for the future

It is clear that no subject area can stand alone, walled off from the outside, and that social science can play an important role in all fields.
·         It helps explain the world in which we live.      
·         It helps students figure out their role in society as well as their place in history. A sense of history gives students good background knowledge as they study other subjects, such as literature.
·         Citizenship: Social studies students learn they are part of a larger societal organization that must have structure in order to operate for the good of all the people in the group.
·         Making a living: Economics teaches students the basics of handling their own finances and helps them set career goals aligned with their personalities.

Social Studies as a core subject and its relation to other core subjects – language, general science and mathematics

You live with the unintended consequences of the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act every day. The law has created flawed incentives for states and school districts to narrow their curricula to English and math. This fundamentally misguided practice leaves out core disciplines that are essential to a well-rounded curriculum, including social studies.
To be sure, reading and mathematics are essential subjects. Students wouldn’t be able to learn about history and civics if they couldn’t read primary source documents and other texts. In addition to reading skills, they need a solid grounding in statistics and math concepts to grasp important principles in economics, geography, and the other social and behavioral sciences. But we absolutely cannot focus exclusively on reading and mathematics to the exclusion of other important disciplines, including social studies, as well as science, the arts, physical education, and others necessary for a well-rounded education. To marginalize social studies for the sake of reading and math is not only misguided, it is educational neglect.
Educators and policymakers need to recognize that social studies is a core subject, critical to sustaining an informed democracy and a globally competitive workforce.
Today more than ever, the social studies are not a luxury, but a necessity. To be on track today for college and careers, students need to show that they can analyze and solve complex problems, communicate clearly, synthesize information, apply knowledge, and generalize learning to other settings. The social studies play a critical role in creating civically competent young people who make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good and who contribute to an increasingly diverse, but interdependent world.
The Department of Education is supporting the work of states to create better assessment systems, aligned to the Common Core for English language arts and math for 2014–2015. But we also need higher standards and better tests for social studies.  Social studies teachers to work together to encourage states and local school boards to develop high social studies standards based on themes and skills and to create authentic growth measures of student learning. In some states where the curriculum has been narrowed, teachers may even want to work with educational leaders to include social studies in their accountability system making a bold statement about the importance of social studies as a core subject.
The greatest thinkers in nearly every society have concluded that a well-educated person needs to learn much more than math, science, and how to read in their native tongue. As James Leach, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities recently put it, a society that fails to study history, refuses to learn from literature, and denies the lessons of philosophy “imprisons [its] thoughts in the here and now.” Social studies teachers have the key to set the prisoners free.
Difference between Social Science and Social Studies
Though Social science and social studies sound like two similar concepts, they are in actuality, two different fields of study. 

What is Social Science?

Social Science is a subject area that studies the society and the relationships among individuals within a society. Social Science is categorized into many branches such as Geography (study of the earth and its features, inhabitants, and phenomena), Anthropology (study of humans), History (study of past), Economics (study of  production, distribution and consumption of goods and services), political science(study of theory and practice of politics and the description and analysis of political systems and political behavior.) etc. The beginning of Social Sciences dates back to the 18th century.  Social Science can be defined as a scientific study field since almost all the sub-disciplines use scientific methods to investigate facts.

What is Social Studies?
Social studies can be introduced as the study of both social sciences and humanities. According to U.S American National Council for the Social Studies, “Social studies, is the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.”  However, social studies is most often used as a name of the course taught at schools. Social studies is a relatively new term and came  into use in the 20th Century.


What is the difference between Social Science and Social studies?

The main difference between social science and social studies exist in their purpose; in social science, you study the society and social life of human groups while in social studies, you study both social science and humanities in order to promote effective citizenry. Another difference is that Social science is divided into many branches while social studies is divided into two main categories of humanities and social sciences. Though social studies is a subject that is taught from primary school onward, social science is only available as a degree level course. In addition, social studies is a relatively new term while social science dates back to the 18th century.

            Social Science
          Social studies
Studying the society and its individuals
promoting civic competence
Dates back to Age of Enlightenment
Dates back to 20th Century
Many branches
Social science and Humanities

Methods of Teaching Social Sciences - Details on all methods- thanks to Reshma Ravindran


Teaching methods refers to the general principles, pedagogy and management strategies used for classroom instruction. It comprises the principles and methods used for instruction.

It is the oldest procedure of teaching. It is widely used in schools and colleges. It is a good method its cover a wide topic at heights level of college or secondary schools and higher secondary classes but its success depends on the personality and ability of students.

Why this method should be used?
To motivate students.
To give an overview of a large topic.
To add supplement the students reading.
To make an importance matters understanding.
To provide background of a topic or to introduce the topic
To help the students to use their time wisely
To explain the major concepts of a lesson
To develop reasoning skill of students
To have a classroom discussion

Merits Of The Method:
 To establishes face to face contact. It develops attention span. Students develop listening and note taking skills. Students can prepare the notes. It is easy method for new teachers.

Demerits Of The Method:
It is a teacher centered method not very good for SS. It is a monotonous tiring and sometimes it becomes a boring method. It brings a lot of burden and reading to the teacher. It is not an interactive method.

There are three types of sources in this method.
1. Material resource: Ideas, machines, weapons etc…..
2. Oral resources: Songs, folk stories, traditions, customs etc...
3. Written and printed resources: Records, reports, letters etc….

Source method is an activity oriented method. It is generally used in social studies subject also. Generally sources mean a person, books or document or picture or actual objects that can provide information for learning. It is learning directly from the actual sources for examples for social studies they can be- A contract with the bank – or studying the sample of stone collected from the moon or an object found from any ancient place can also be studied. One can also take students to museums to find the objects to study.

Steps Followed To Use Source Method:

1. Demonstration or presentation by the teacher.
2. Locate related reading material and assign reading to the study.
3. Problem solving by students; with group discussion among the students.

Advantages Of Sources Method:
It provides direct, first hand experience.
It develops a sense of reality
It creates motivating and interesting ambience in the class.
It develops skill of data collection, thinking skill and observation skill.
It makes the subject meaningful.

The word discussion means exchanging views and debate. Here the discussion can be among the group of students as a whole group.

Where And When Can You Use Discussion Method?
1. The teacher of S.S. can use this method when he is using a project method.
2. When he has to share information and ideas from a large group.
3. When one needs to solve a problem, or do thinking and analytical activity in the class.
4. When one obtain information and ideas from a large group of students.
5. When one needs to check or evaluate students’ progress.

Forms Of Discussion:
Formal, debate, classroom, informal, panel, symposium.

The Process Of Discussion:
The process can be different depending upon the type of discussion.
1. The ideas are initiated by the teacher than there is exchange of ideas opinions observations comments etc
2. This is a co-operative learning.

Steps Of Discussion

To make discussion a success the teacher as well as the student must make a careful preparation. The teacher should do in depth reading of the topic. She should do critical reading, should understand the arguments well and know the gist of the lesson.

Conducting Discussion:

In this stage the teacher initiates the discussion. He controls process and keeps the students disciplined and keeps the discussion under control or on the right tract.

Merits Of Discussion Method:
• It is based on differences.
• It emphasizes independent study.
• It develops reasoning.
• It develops study habits.
• It is activity oriented.
• It teaches how to study purposefully.
• It helps the teacher to find leadership quality among students.
• It helps in clarifying ideas, issues etc.
• It creates better understanding of the topic, issues, events, ideas or concepts.

Demerits Of Discussion Method

• It is time consuming method.
• It needs some training and average teacher cannot
• Some students do not benefit from this activity.
• Sometimes only a few students dominate.
• There can be some necessary argument and can lead to some major problems.


Problem-solving is the ability to identify and solve problems by applying appropriate skills systematically.
Problem-solving is a process—an ongoing activity in which we take what we know to discover what we don't know. It involves overcoming obstacles by generating hypo-theses, testing those predictions, and arriving at satisfactory solutions.

Problem-solving involves three basic functions:
1.                  Seeking information
2.                  Generating new knowledge
3.                  Making decisions
Problem-solving is, and should be, a very real part of the curriculum. It presupposes that students can take on some of the responsibility for their own learning and can take personal action to solve problems, resolve conflicts, discuss alternatives, and focus on thinking as a vital element of the curriculum. It provides students with opportunities to use their newly acquired knowledge in meaningful, real-life activities and assists them in working at higher levels of thinking.
·                     List all related relevant facts.
·                     Make a list of all the given information.
·                     Restate the problem in their own words.
·                     List the conditions that surround a problem.
·                     Describe related known problems.
What is problem-solving?
 Students are presented with problems which require them to find either a scientific or technological solution. It is a student-centered strategy which require students to become active participants in the learning process. Problem solving is a teaching strategy that employs the scientific method in searching for information.
 Five basic steps of the scientific method
 1. Sensing and defining the problem
2. Formulating hypothesis
3. Testing the likely hypothesis
4. Analysis, interpretation and evaluation of evidence
5. Formulating conclusions

 1. This approach is most effective in developing skill in employing the science processes.
2. The scientific method can likewise be used effectively in other non-science subjects. It is a general procedure in finding solutions to daily occurrences that urgently need to be addressed.
 3. The student’s active involvement resulting in meaningful experiences serves as a strong motivation to follow the scientific procedure in future undertakings.
4. Problem-solving develops higher level thinking skills.
5. A keen sense of responsibility, originality and resourcefulness are developed, which are much-needed ingredients for independent study.
 6. The students become appreciative and grateful for the achievement of scientists.
7. Critical thinking, open-mindedness and wise judgment are among scientific attitudes and values inculcated through competence in the scientific method.
8. The students learn to accept the opinions and evidence shared by others.
9. Problem-solving Skills


Project method is a direct outcome of pragmatism, especially of John Dewey’s educational philosophy. Pragmatism believes in reality. It is scientific and empirical. It is based on the principle of learning by doing. Being influenced by John Dewey, Kilpatrick tried to give project method in 1918. This method is democratic in nature and it emphasizes social skills and team work.

What Is A Project Method?
It is a progressive approach of teaching. It is a purposeful act it provides the learner with learning experiences. Here the teacher acts like a guide assigns the projects to groups of students.’ Each group works on different topics or problems. They work together to prepare the project. The students work together as a team, they learn by discussing, reading, and exchanging ideas. Then they take the help of a teacher wherever they difficulties or have questions. The project method covers the content of many different subjects and the teacher tries to integrate the information to the main topic. This method gives complete freedom and choice to students.

Advantages Of Project Method:
It gives freedom and creativity.
Here the teacher and students both grow.
Students can link the subject to real life.
It motivates students.

Disadvantages Of Project Method:
It is expensive method.
It is time consuming.
It needs lots of resources.
Some projects cannot be done at school.


Dialog is a means to transform social relations in the classroom and to raise awareness about relations in society at large. In a problem-posing participatory format, the teacher and students transform learning into a collaborative process to illuminate and act on reality.
Dialogic teaching is an approach which harnesses the power of talk to stimulate and extend pupils thinking, advancing their learning and understanding.
It is mainly built on ‘talk’ – both the teachers and the pupils.
The dialogic approach focuses more on:

·                     Narrate
·                     Analysis
·                     Justify
·                     Explain
·                     Speculate
·                     Imagine
·                     Explore
·                     Argue
·                     Evaluate
·                     Discuss
·                     Ask their own questions                                                                                                   


Encourages children to voice their understanding. Children were found to be more motivated and be more engaged in learning when talk was used more often. Easily integrated to lessons.


It involves the children to respect and listen to each other more than usual possibly which is a skill which may take time to develop. The concept needs to be developed further in order for it to be effective and to be incorporated into everyday teaching.

Method That Enhance Dialogic Teaching:

Socratic Method

Cooperative Learning, sometimes called small-group learning, is an instructional strategy in which small groups of students work together on a common task. The task can be as simple as solving a multi-step math problem together, or as complex as developing a design for a new kind of school. In some cases, each group member is individually accountable for part of the task; in other cases, group members work together without formal role assignments.
According to David Johnson and Roger Johnson (1999), there are five basic elements that allow successful small-group learning:
·                     Positive interdependence: Students feel responsible for their own and the group's effort.
·                     Face-to-face interaction: Students encourage and support one another; the environment encourages discussion and eye contact.
·                     Individual and group accountability: Each student is responsible for doing their part; the group is accountable for meeting its goal.
·                     Group behaviors: Group members gain direct instruction in the interpersonal, social, and collaborative skills needed to work with others occurs.
·                     Group processing: Group members analyze their own and the group's ability to work together.
Cooperative learning changes students' and teachers' roles in classrooms. The ownership of teaching and learning is shared by groups of students, and is no longer the sole responsibility of the teacher. The authority of setting goals, assessing, learning, and facilitating learning is shared by all. Students have more opportunities to actively participate in their learning, question and challenge each other, share and discuss their ideas, and internalize their learning. Along with improving academic learning, cooperative learning helps students engage in thoughtful discourse and examine different perspectives, and it has been proven to increase students' self-esteemmotivation, and empathy.
Some challenges of using cooperative learning include releasing the control of learning, managing noise levels, resolving conflicts, and assessing student learning. Carefully structured activities can help students learn the skills to work together successfully, and structured discussion and reflection on group process can help avoid some problems.

To clarify social values.
To focus attention on a specific central ideas.
To extend vocabulary.
To gain greater insight into the problems of others.
It develops social skills, communication skills and team spirit.
They provide excellent basis for discussion and evaluation.


Role playing, socio drama or creative dramas are used to present a specific situation for study and discussion. There is no prepared script. It is unrehearsed, speaking parts are not memorized and minimum properties are used.
Role play is a way of bringing situation from real life into the classroom.
A role in other words, they pretend to be different person.
A situation they pretend to be doing something different both a role $ a situation.
In role play, students improvise the situation is fixed but they make up the exact as they go.

Follow up Activities After The Role Play

Role Play should be followed by discussion about the theme of the role play.
Students can be interviewed about their role. The audience can say about each role. They can also do the role play by other group of students.


Assignments are tasks requiring student engagement and a final tangible product that enables you to assess what your students know and don’t know. They represent one of the most common ways to assess learning.  They can be either low-stakes [formative assessment] or high-stakes [summative assessment], so the number and type of assignments will depend upon your course design, learning outcomes, and course enrollment numbers.

·                     Easier and less time-consuming to construct than exams
·                     Promotes higher-order thinking (application, synthesis, and evaluation)
·                     Transfer and generalization more likely than for exams
·                     May require additional resources (e.g. lab space or other facilities)
·                     May require class time (e.g. group projects, presentations, etc.) 
·                     Typically more time consuming to grade than exams
·                     May be less effective for introductory level content



Types of Assignments

There are various types of assignments that can be used to develop or demonstrate students' higher-order thinking skills, writing skills, presentation skills and/or collaborative and interpersonal skills.
·                     Essays are used to assess student comprehension over specific content and the ability to explain the material in their own words.
·                     Writing or research papers focus on student comprehension, ability to understand material, but depending upon the purpose of the paper, can also measure student’s innovation or evaluation abilities.
·                     Oral presentations are used as a method to assess oral presentational skills, understanding of the content, and ability to organize and structure material.
·                     Projects are an exceptional method to assess student’s creation or innovation abilities. For example, a student has to understand the material, apply their understanding to another context, and construct a project based upon this comprehension.
·                     Case studies are used to apply class content to a specific individual, usually themselves.
·                     Labs are an ideal method to apply abstract ideas or theories to concrete experiences.
·                     Group assignments are able to assess interpersonal, communication, and collaborative skills of students. For collaboration, a student must be able to synthesize the material from group members and help create a group solution or product.  

In the last few decades, reflective learning has come into the education spotlight. Reflective learning involves students thinking about what they have read, done, or learned, relating the lesson hand to their own lives and making meaning out of their material. It’s more than just memorizing some facts, formulas, or dates.
·                     Accepting responsibility for your learning and, as a result, for your personal growth.
·                     Becoming metacognitive, or aware of your internal thinking processes.
·                     Becoming aware of your motives with your actions.
·                     Seeking a link between the work you are putting into learning and what you are getting out of it.
Therefore, reflective learning really does have its perks. You might be thinking, ‘that’s great! Everyone should do that! And you would probably be correct. However, reflective learning takes time and practice.
Strategies for Reflective Learning
In short, all of this information points to a newer and different way that students can conceptualize their learning. When students do things such as work in groups, where they bounce ideas off of each other and discuss the material, they tend to retain more. This helps them make the subject matter more relatable to their own lives. Likewise, when they recite material to themselves and summarize subject matter, they internalize it more. Reflective learners also take breaks when reading to really think about and digest what they have read. This, too, helps them to better relate the material to themselves. In addition, applying the five W’S, which means asking questions using who, what, when, why and where to what they are learning is a technique employed by reflective learners.
Since the purpose of reflective teaching is to focus on one's own teaching, the strategies for reflection are best made by personal preference rather than mandated. Many schools of education incorporate reflective teaching strategies as a means for student teachers to learn how and why they teach. While this is a valuable tool for student teachers, reflective teaching strategies can also be used by teachers in the classroom who wish to enhance their teaching skills.

Educators who teach reflectively use one or several of the following strategies -
1. Keep a teaching journal or diary.

2. Collaborative journal writing - a group of teachers keep and share diary   entries during a prescribed period.


In order to be effective learners, students must not only use their memory and the language skills they have internalized, they must also develop their own way of learning. Students who “learn to learn” gain control of their learning process and gradually develop the ability to master their mental processes more effectively. A student’s inner language is what enables him/her to develop the high-level cognitive skills associated with metacognition.
Metacognition enables students to be more active in their learning, i.e., to mobilize all of their resources in order to have successful learning experiences. In order to do this, they must know how they learn and be aware of the steps that are followed and the means that are used to acquire knowledge, solve problems, and perform tasks.
Metacognition is the process of "thinking about thinking." For example, good readers use metacognition before reading when they clarify their purpose for reading and preview the text.
So in other words, metacognition is the understanding and awareness of one's own mental or cognitive processes.
Some examples of metacognition are:
·                     A student learns about what things help him or her to remember facts, names, and events.
·                     A student learns about his or her own style of learning.
·                     A student learns about which strategies are most effective for solving problems.
Students become increasingly autonomous in their learning as they become aware of their strengths and weaknesses and understand that being successful depends on the effort they make and the strategies they implement. Their ability to regulate their cognitive processes increases accordingly and their self-image improves. Students with LDS can improve their learning capacity through the use of metacognitive strategies.
When students are able to manage their own performance on a task, they perform better and their learning is more meaningful than when they are not able to manage it. Metacognition starts when students think about the strategies they will use to perform a task. Metacognition happens when they choose the most effective strategies and decide for themselves whether the outcome of these strategies meets the standards. The time taken to teach a variety of strategies is very important because students must choose strategies for each task they perform.
Metacognitive principles

Brain based learning is concerned with understanding how the brain works best. The brain is very complex and brain based research is still in the developing stages. Each child’s brain is unique and the most effective teaching method varies based on each student’s learning capacities. Active participation, student-centered learning, and differentiated instruction are at the core of this theory. Most teachers are already incorporating these practices in one form or another, into their classrooms.
According to brain based learning, students learn best when they are immersed into the subject area. Exposing the students to as much of the subject matter, having them actively participate, and surrounding them with as many manipulative as possible, creates the best environment for successful learning according to this theory. Each student learns differently, and it is the teacher’s job to provide the best opportunity for each individual to experience success. This can be accomplished through reading, hands-on activities, field trips, or creative expression.Another key component of brain-based learning is active processing. This involves connecting learning to a prior experience. Students will better grasp a concept if there is a connection to something they have already learned. When students can relate concepts to a life experience or past knowledge, the brain is better able to comprehend.Brain based learning also suggests the importance of balancing stress and comfort. It suggests students should be in a state of relaxed alertness. Teachers should create an environment that stimulates the brain, while eliminating fear. When students are challenged, or slightly stressed, the brain functions better. Too much stress and the brain completely shut down from learning.
Another important advance in our understanding of learning is that the human memory is not a single “vessel” to be filled, but rather a complex set of interrelated memory systems.  This figure illustrates the memory systems of the human mind, and interactions with inputs from our affective and psychomotor inputs.
While all memory systems are interdependent (and have information going in both directions), the most critical memory systems for incorporating knowledge into long-term memory are the short-term and “working memory.” All incoming information is organized and processed in the working memory by interaction with knowledge in long-term memory. The limiting feature here is that working memory can process only a relatively small number of psychological units (five to nine) at any one moment.
·                     Differentiated instruction accommodates all types of learners and active participation involves the students in the entire process.
·                     Students tend to retain more information when they are doing something they enjoy.
·                     It is costly to provide numerous manipulatives to use in the classroom, and field trips cost money.
·                     It is also time-consuming to do hands-on and student-centered projects.
·                     These tend to take longer than traditional lessons and all the standards may not get covered.
·                     Brain based learning also requires more teacher preparation and can be very difficult to accomplish with large class sizes.

Indirect instruction method is best used when the learning process is inquiry-based, the result is discovery and the learning context is a problem.
·                     Define the topic or introduce the question.
·                     Guide students plan where and how to gather data and information.
·                     Students present findings through graphs, charts, PowerPoint presentation, models, and writing.
·                     Investigative processes such as inferring, hypothesizing, measuring, predicting, classifying, analyzing, and experimenting; formulating conclusions and generalizations are employed.
·                     The procedure in gathering information is not prescribed by the teachers.
·                     The children are highly motivated to search, hence active participation is the best indicator of inquisitiveness.
·                     The answers arrived at are genuine products of their own efforts.
·                     Focused questions before, during and after are critical ingredients that provide direction and sustain action.


The use of cases for teaching is as old as storytelling itself. It is instruction by the use of narratives - stories - about individuals facing decisions or dilemmas. Learners engage with the characters and circumstances of the story. They work to identify problems and to connect the meaning of the story to their own lives.
It is a variant of PBL (problem based learning) that encourages students to develop questions that can be explored further by reasonable investigative approaches. Students then gather data and information for testing their hypotheses. They produce materials which can be used to persuade others of their findings. Students employ a variety of methods and resources, including traditional laboratory and field techniques, software simulations and models, data sets, internet-based tools and information retrieval methods.

Investigative cases draw from realistic situations in which scientific reasoning can be applied. Although the case defines a general area of geosciences under investigation, students generate specific questions to guide their study. Students investigate scientific problems that they find meaningful. In the process they also learn to:
·                     locate and manage information;
·                     develop reasonable answers to the questions;
·                     use scientific inquiry strategies and methods
·                     provide support for their conclusions, and;
·                     Work on decision making abilities.
Investigative case-based learning methods incorporate problem posing, problem solving, and peer persuasion. Instructors as well as students are collaborators in this three phase process, often providing additional insights and defining potential strengths and weaknesses in the design of the problem statement and the investigation. The resolution (or clarification) of the problem and its presentation extend opportunities for student practice in utilizing and evaluating scientific approaches to problem solving.


Discovery learning
Discovery learning is a technique of inquiry-based learning and is considered a constructivist based approach to education. It is supported by the work of learning theorists and psychologists Jean Piaget, Jerome Bruner, and Seymour Papert. Although this form of instruction has great popularity, there is some debate in the literature concerning its efficacy.
Jerome Bruner is often credited with originating discovery learning in the 1960s, but his ideas are very similar to those of earlier writers (e.g. John Dewey). Bruner argues that "Practice in discovering for oneself teaches one to acquire information in a way that makes that information more readily viable in problem solving" (Bruner, 1961). This philosophy later became the discovery learning movement of the 1960s. The mantra of this philosophical movement suggests that we should 'learn by doing'. In 1991, The Grauer School, a private secondary school in California, was founded with the motto, "Learn by Discovery", and integrated a series of world-wide expeditions into their program for high school graduation.
Discovery learning can occur whenever the student is not provided with an exact answer but rather the materials in order to find the answer themselves.Discovery learning takes place in problem solving situations where the learner draws on his own experience and prior knowledge and is a method of instruction through which students interact with their environment by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments.

Types of Discovery Learning

·                     Experiments
·                     Exploration
·                     Simulation-based learning
·                     Problem-based learning
·                     Inquiry-based learning
·                     Web quests


·                     Actively engages students in the learning process
·                     Motivates students to participate
·                     Encourages autonomy and independence
·                     Promotes the development of creativity and problem-solving skills
·                     Provides a individualized learning experience.
·                     May be overwhelming for learners who need more structure
·                     May allow for possible misunderstanding
·                     May prevent teachers from gauging whether students are having problems.

Concept Maps
Concept maps are graphical tools for organizing and representing knowledge. They include concepts, usually enclosed in circles or boxes of some type, and relationships between concepts indicated by a connecting line linking two concepts. Words on the line, referred to as linking words or linking phrases, specify the relationship between the two concepts.

Concept maps may appear to be just another graphic representation of information, understanding the foundations for this tool and its proper use will lead the user to see that this is truly a profound and powerful tool. It may at first look like a simple arrangement of words into a hierarchy, but when care is used in organizing the concepts represented by the words, and the propositions or ideas are formed with well-chosen linking words, one begins to see that a good concept map is at once simple, but also elegantly complex with profound meanings. As with any tool, it can also be misused.
Advantage: It is useful for understanding a problem within a current system and creating a solution.
Disadvantage: It may be ineffective at certain learning stages and for some learning styles.

textbook is a collection of the knowledge, concepts, and principles of a selected topic or course. It's usually written by one or more teachers, college professors, or education experts who are authorities in a specific field. Most textbooks are accompanied by teacher guides, which provide you with supplemental teaching materials, ideas, and activities to use throughout the academic year.

·                     Textbooks are especially helpful for beginning teachers. The material to be covered and the design of each lesson are carefully spelled out in detail.
·                     Textbooks provide organized units of work. A textbook gives you all the plans and lessons you need to cover a topic in some detail.
·                     A textbook series provides you with a balanced, chronological presentation of information.
·                     Textbooks are a detailed sequence of teaching procedures that tell you what to do and when to do it. There are no surprises—everything is carefully spelled out.
·                     Textbooks provide administrators and teachers with a complete program. The series is typically based on the latest research and teaching strategies.
·                     Good textbooks are excellent teaching aids. They're a resource for both teachers and students.

When thinking about how you want to use textbooks, consider the following:
·                     Use the textbook as a resource for students, but not the only resource.
·                     Use a textbook as a guide, not a mandate, for instruction.
·                     Be free to modify, change, eliminate, or add to the material in the textbook.
·                     Supplement the textbook with lots of outside readings.
·                     Supplement teacher information in the textbook with teacher resource books; attendance at local, regional, or national conferences; articles in professional periodicals; and conversations with experienced teachers.
The following table lists some of the most common weaknesses of textbooks, along with ways of overcoming those difficulties:
Student Difficulty
Ways of Overcoming Problem
The textbook is designed as the sole source of information.
Students only see one perspective on a concept or issue.
Provide students with lots of information sources such as trade books, CD-ROMS, websites, encyclopedias, etc.
Textbook is old or outdated.
Information shared with students is not current or relevant.
Use textbook sparingly or supplement with other materials.
Textbook questions tend to be low level or fact-based.
Students assume that learning is simply a collection of facts and figures.
Ask higher-level questions and provide creative thinking and problem-solving activities.
Textbook doesn't take students' background knowledge into account.
Teacher does not tailor lessons to the specific attributes and interests of students.
Discover what students know about a topic prior to teaching. Design the lesson based on that knowledge.
Reading level of the textbook is too difficult.
Students cannot read or understand important concepts.
Use lots of supplemental materials such as library books, Internet, CD-ROMs, etc.
The textbook has all the answer to all the questions.
Students tend to see learning as an accumulation of correct answers.
Involve students in problem-solving activities, higher-level thinking questions, and extending activities.


The oldest and still the most powerful, teaching tactic for fostering critical thinking is Socratic teaching. In Socratic teaching we focus on giving students questions, not answers. We model an inquiring, probing mind by continually probing into the subject with questions. Fortunately, the abilities we gain by focusing on the elements of reasoning in a disciplined and self-assessing way, and the logical relationships that result from such disciplined thought, prepare us for Socratic questioning.
Each of the elements represents a dimension into which one can delve in questioning a person. We can question goals and purposes. We can probe into the nature of the question, problem, or issue that is on the floor. We can inquire into whether or not we have relevant data and information. We can consider alternative interpretations of the data and information. We can analyze key concepts and ideas. We can question assumptions being made. We can ask students to trace out the implications and consequences of what they are saying. We can consider alternative points of view. All of these, and more, are the proper focus of the Socratic questioner.
As a tactic and approach, Socratic questioning is a highly disciplined process. The Socratic questioner acts as the logical equivalent of the inner critical voice which the mind develops when it develops critical thinking abilities. The contributions from the members of the class are like so many thoughts in the mind. All of the thoughts must be dealt with and they must be dealt with carefully and fairly. By following up all answers with further questions, and by selecting questions which advance the discussion, the Socratic questioner forces the class to think in a disciplined, intellectually responsible manner, while yet continually aiding the students by posing facilitating questions.
A Socratic questioner should:
a) keep the discussion focused
b) keep the discussion intellectually responsible
c) stimulate the discussion with probing questions
d) periodically summarize what has and what has not been dealt with and/or resolved
e) draw as many students as possible into the discussion.

Children have an innate love of stories. Stories create magic and a sense of wonder at the world. Stories teach us about life, about ourselves and about others. Storytelling is a unique way for students to develop an understanding, respect and appreciation for other cultures, and can promote a positive attitude to people from different lands, races and religions.

There are a number of ways in which storytelling can enhance intercultural understanding and communication. Stories can:
·                     allow children to explore their own cultural roots
·                     allow children to experience diverse cultures
·                     enable children to empathise with unfamiliar people/places/situations
·                     offer insights into different traditions and values
·                     help children understand how wisdom is common to all peoples/all cultures
·                     offer insights into universal life experiences
·                     help children consider new ideas
·                     reveal differences and commonalties of cultures around the world
Other benefits:
·                     Promote a feeling of well-being and relaxation
·                     Increase children's willingness to communicate thoughts and feelings
·                     Encourage active participation
·                     Increase verbal proficiency
·                     Encourage use of imagination and creativity
·                     Encourage cooperation between students
·                     Enhance listening skills

Stories reveal universal truths about the world. Through stories we see how very different people share the same life experiences and how human nature can transcend culture. 


The Dalton Plan is the educational method put forward by Helen Parkhurst in 1908 in the United States. In an attempt to rectify the ills of the school system of the time, Parkhurst advocated the Dalton Laboratory Plan, which customizes subjects and study locations to match the student's ability and needs so that each individual can work to self-driven study plans. In 1919, based upon this plan, Parkhurst opened a small school in the town of Dalton in the State of Massachusetts. The Dalton School was originally called the Children's University School because of its goal of fostering intellectual interest and a keen, inquiring mind in every child. Since relocating to a residential area near Central Park in New York in 1922, the Dalton School has sent many students out into the world after they completed its integrated educational program, which covers from infancy to senior high school.

The Dalton Plan: Two Principles

1. The principle of freedom fosters independence and creativity, beginning with the individual's interests.
Different students all have different ways of thinking and performing tasks. Providing ample time for learning and keeping to the pace of how the individual student proceeds nurtures students’ motivation and approach to learning, as well as their ability to persevere.

2. The principle of cooperation enables children to master social skills and collaboration through exchanges with a variety of people.
Different students all have different ways of thinking and performing tasks. Providing ample time for learning and keeping to the pace of how the individual student proceeds nurtures students’ motivation and approach to learning, as well as their ability to persevere.

The Dalton Plan's Three-Part Structural foundation
·                     HOUSE: The House is a home-like classroom, similar to a general homeroom in Japan. The teacher in charge of a House is known as the House Advisor. A House is a center for the various activities that go on in the school, and House advisors are not just in charge of the Houses but serve as coordinators who facilitate smooth relating among students, parents, specialty teachers and others.
·                     ASSIGNMENT: The Assignment is a contract (commitment) between a student and teacher that both elicits the student's desire to learn and fosters independence and planning ability. Age-appropriate topics are assigned, and children bear the responsibility for honoring their commitments by the appointed times. They simultaneously learn how to effectively use their time and how to plan what to do when, and how much to proceed.
·                     LABORATORY: The Lab (“laboratory”) provides students with important opportunities to study specialty subjects more deeply. In the lower grades, teaching is centered on the House advisors, but as children proceed to the higher grades, their involvement with teachers who specialize in certain subjects increases. Ultimately, children conduct specialized research on themes that match their individual interests for learning experiences that are genuinely “lab-worthy.”


A socialized recitation technique or discussion method is the one wherein "Children are discussing, questioning, reporting, and working in natural ways.
The teacher is a guide, counselor, advisor, contributor and director in the best sense of the word, trying to get children discover things by themselves rather than to have them by merely listening to them."
It is a technique of teaching in which a friendly spirit of cooperation prevails. Children discuss the various social, economic, cultural, political and moral problems and discover for themselves the real meaning and significance of these.
Discussion is one of the most valuable techniques in the teaching of history. It aims at finding the solution of a problem through the establishment of agreement or consensus. Discussion is a sharing and weighing of the sides: which are as many as there are conflicting interests and opinions. It is a process of collective decision making. It seeks agreement, but if it is not reached, it has the value of clarifying the nature of disagreement.