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New Social Studies Frameworks In Place

Posted 2018-06-11 02:35:11

As I revise and update the curriculum and lessons for the new "frameworks" for social studies in New York State, I see that students will need to be able to work with documents, especially primary sources, very skillfully. I appreciate this change and I support it. In the interconnected world we live in with tidal waves of information, adults of the future will need to be wise consumers of information.

When my contemporaries and I took social studies in high school in the 70s and 80s, it was about recalling people and facts and causes and effects. This still needs to be a centerpiece of any course in social science. Despite what your teen has told you, Parents, about there being no need to recall anything because they can just google it, the fact remains an employee who can recall many things accurately without research is a more valuable employee and one more competitive in the job market. Recalling people, facts, causes and effects is now going to be enhanced by an ability to understand and judge sources and by skills in argument and persuasion.

The new frameworks will call upon students to learn reading skills to build meaning from original historical texts which are written above their grade level and which use old-fashioned and unfamiliar vocabulary. It is true, the weaker reader will need more support in this regard, but the methods exist to help him or her.

The new frameworks will call upon students to judge the reliability of a source. Unlike the nuns in my school who demanded obedience, conformity, and credulity, we need to ask our young people to question their sources. They will need to ask themselves: "What bias is there? Is this a piece of propaganda?"

The new frameworks will call upon students to learn to persuade and to debate well. They will need to recognize logical fallacies and weaknesses in arguments. They will need to learn to disagree respectfully and assertively and to base their claims on solid foundation.

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