________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 6 . . . . October 9, 2009

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The Anthology of Social Studies: Issues and Strategies for Elementary Teachers. Volume One.

Roland Case & Penney Clark, eds.
Vancouver, BC: Pacific Educational Press, 2008.
373 pp., pbk., $50.00.
ISBN 978-1-895766-80-6.

Subject Headings:
Social sciences-Study and teaching (Elementary).
Education, Elementary-Curricula.

Professional: Grades 1-6.

Review by Gary Babiuk.

**** /4

   
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The Anthology of Social Studies: Issues and Strategies for Secondary Teachers. Volume Two.

Roland Case & Penney Clark, eds.
Vancouver, BC: Pacific Educational Press, 2008.
419 pp., pbk, $50.00.
ISBN 978-1-895766-47-9.

Subject Headings:
Social sciences-Study and teaching (Secondary).
Education, Secondary-Curricula.

Professional: Grades 7-12.

Review by Gary Babiuk.

**** /4

   

As the titles indicate, these two volumes are a collection of articles from many of the leading scholars and practitioners of Social Studies across Canada. The editors, Roland Case and Penney Clark, have published extensively and are well-respected educational thinkers not only in Canada but around the world. They have compiled an impressive array of material that is theoretical, issues based, and practice orientated. The volumes are divided into Elementary and Secondary with each volume containing over 30 articles. Both volumes have been organized around the following topics:

 

Part 1: Foundations

Part 2: Ends and Means
Content Knowledge
Critical Thinking
Information Gathering and Reporting
Social Personal Values
Individual and Collective Action

Part 3: Implementation
Instructional Planning
Learning Resources
Student Assessment

Appendix: Comparing the Elementary and Secondary Volumes.

     These books are a veritable Social Studies library at your fingertips for classroom teachers, curriculum consultants, and teacher educators. Each certainly would be a useful text for pre-service teachers but would also provide the depth and breadth needed for experienced social studies classroom teachers. The articles provide a theoretical background, but most of them outline practical approaches and suggestions to enhance student engagement in social studies. It is not feasible to provide a full summary of each article (chapter) included in both volumes, but what will be provided is an overview or flavor of the topics that are addressed in each using the outline provided above.

     The Foundations part in both volumes provides professional educators with three articles that explore the purposes and challenges of teaching social studies, with a focus on citizenship education.

     The Ends and Means part in Volume One (Elementary) is divided into five sections. In Content Knowledge, there are articles dealing with teaching for social studies understanding, children's concepts of time and space, and teaching aboriginal content. In the next section, there are three articles that outline how to assist young students in developing their critical thinking skills. In the Information Gathering and Reporting section, the focus is on student research, critical inquiry, computer integration and strategies for reading comprehension. In Social and Personal Values, the authors address issues of nurturing student values, embedding global and multicultural perspectives in the curriculum, teaching for hope, and cultivating legally aware and empowered citizens. The final section, Individual and Collective Action, provides suggestions of how one might plan to develop a culture of social activism and co-operative learning in the classroom.

     In the Ends and Means part of Volume Two (Secondary), the Content Knowledge section focuses on teaching students for understanding in social studies, and explores how to include an Aboriginal perspective. The Critical Thinking section outlines how to develop critical thinking tools with students, including how to think critically using a historical and geographic perspective, and how to develop a community of critical thinkers. Like Volume One, the Information Gathering and Reporting section focuses on student research, critical inquiry, computer integration and strategies for reading comprehension. The Social and Personal Values articles address such issues as how to nurture values in your teaching, embedding global and multicultural perspectives in your curriculum, teaching for hope, and cultivating students to be legally aware and empowered citizens. The articles in the final section, Individual and Collective Action, outline strategies of how teachers can go about developing a culture of social activism and co-operative learning in their classroom while also considering imbedding peace education into their students' social activism.

     In the third part of Volume One (Elementary), Implementation, the section Instructional Planning focuses on course, unit and lesson planning, including examples. The Learning Resources section encourages teachers to consider the resources found outside the classroom, such as those in the community, historical artifacts, visual resources and historical literature. In the final section, Student Assessment, the articles provide assessment strategies for elementary students with the focus on authentic and student ownership in assessment.

     In Volume Two (Secondary), the Implementation part follows the same pattern as Volume One. In the Instructional Planning section, the topics covered include course, unit, and lesson planning, suggestions for engaging students in learning history, and a sample lesson that explores the impact of European contact with First Nations people. The Learning Resources section encourages social studies teachers to move beyond their classroom and school resources and to consider using community resources, primary documents, visual resources, historical films and literature. The Student Assessment section, like Volume One, has a similar focus on assessment with strategies for teachers that include authentic and student ownership.

     I believe that these volumes should be part of the tool kit of those educators interested in deepening their understanding and improving their practice of teaching social studies and, in particular, those consultants and professors that are collaborating with experienced and pre-service social studies teachers. I would like to conclude this review with the editors' description of the volumes that I feel is apropos:

This work is in a true sense an anthology that marries the best of theory and practice in social studies. The word "anthology" originally meant a collection of flowers. It subsequently came to refer to a collection of the "flowers" of professional and scholarly thinking. Like a bouquet, this anthology of thirty-four chapters by thirty-four teachers and teacher educators from across Canada has the diversity and richness that comes only from a multiplicity of viewpoints and experiences. Like a carefully arranged bouquet, the different perspectives - rather than competing with other in the volume - complement and accentuate the features of the other chapters. (Case and Clark, ix)

     I believe these volumes are an essential reference for all social studies educators.

Highly Recommended.

Gary Babiuk, an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba, teaches Social Studies Methods and is interested in holistic learning, sustainability and spirituality in education.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.
 

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