Social Studies Education
Wayne State University
A) Philosophy, Rationale, and Objectives
Social Studies Education is located within the Teacher Education Division of the College of Education. The Wayne State University College of Education adopted a conceptual framework in 1996 which states, in part, "The College...prepares urban educators who are reflective, innovative, professionals...The urban educator is one who works in a large metropolitan area with people who are diverse by virtue of race, class, gender, and culture, including learning style and beliefs. The reflective educator examines his/her own beliefs and practice through the use of critical thinking skills and problem-solving techniques. The innovative educator seeks to add knowledge to the field ...through new and improved methods and theories of practice...An educator is a facilitator of participatory learning, a mentor, a motivator, an innovator, a scholar, and an agent of change."
The National Council for the Social Studies and the Michigan Council for the Social Studies have long stated that the purpose of social studies education revolves around questions of active citizenship. It follows that social studies educators must be passionately concerned about democracy, equality, racism, sexism and the fear of sexuality, disability discrimination, multiculturalism, ethnocentrism, and social justice around the globe.
Hence, the Wayne State University Social Studies Education division seeks to promote curricula and pedagogical methods whichfoster critical thinking, and problem-solving techniques. The social studies division critically relies on national and state standards, as well as the content standards adopted by the Michigan State Board of Education, as lighthouse beacons. The program, while drawing on a diverse faculty with a wide range of experience and pedagogical beliefs, recognizes these principles as centripetal to learning:
1. Education for the Whole Person: addressing cognitive ideologies and affective feelings, action and responsibility, as the canvass for the interrogation of consequences. The project is to create a multicultural community of scholars in which tolerance for diverse opinions civilizes passionate discussion, in which trust and mutual respect serves as the backdrop for risk and experimentation.
2. Active Learning: students are involved in initiating, planning and testing the processes of gaining knowledge. Beyond learning from doing, this constructivist and reflective vision leads to building on social and individual practice.
3. Integrating Theory and Practice of Learning: recognizing on the one hand that participatory pedagogy must be modeled, and on the other hand, that the interaction of theory and practice is the strand that forms the upward spiral of knowledge. This underlines a commitment to the problem-posing process of learning as well as the mastery of content, a determination to highlight the experimental and social nature of knowledge, and its tentative completeness.
4. Collaborative Learning coupled with Individual Learning:Each student is unique, different than other students in a classroom. Each student also has profound commonalities with her/his colleagues. Social studies education calls into question matters of likeness and difference, both in methodology and curricula content. In addition, a social education combines the particular and the general. A particular educator with specific expertise and an educational paradigm open to question meets a unique student in a singular community. This forms the universal triad of an effective ground for gaining and testing knowledge.
5. Connection with the Community as a Whole: social studies education seeks to develop a student who is part of what John Dewey called the articulate public, one aware of and willing to reevaluate her/his standpoint, a responsible citizen contributing to and drawing on the resources at hand.
The Social Studies program seeks to incorporate knowledge of human beings grow, how people learn, the culture of schools, the process of the past, competing analyses of the present, and the potentials in the future. Students are challenged to develop their own coherent philosophies of education with attention to the consequences of their beliefs, and to bring their notions to life through relevant methods and materials.
B) Sequence of Courses and Experiences
Social Studies Undergraduate Majors-Secondary
Undergraduate students can obtain a secondary Social Studies Group Major (requiring thirty-six credit hours). This major requires two courses each in the following four areas: U.S.History, Political Science, Economics, and Geography, and an additional four hours of credit in either European or Non-European History. (Non-European History is defined as African History, Latin American History, or Near Eastern History). The following courses are required for a group major:
Political Science 101, Introduction to American Government
Political Science 304, The Legislative Process
World Regional Geography (110)
Urban Studies (Geo 200)
U.S. History to 1877
U.S. History Since 1877
European or Non-European History
Microeconomics (Econ 201)
Macroeconomics (Econ 202)
Students may select a single discipline secondary Social Studies major focusing on History (33 semester hours), Geography (32 semester hours), Economics (32 semester hours), or Political Science (32 semester hours). In each instance, students must complete the degree requirements for a Bachelor of Arts with a major in the subject area discipline.
Social Studies Minors
Students may elect one of two minors. Students may choose a single subject minor requiring twenty-two semester hours in one subject area: history, geography, political science, economics. Specific requirements are defined by the respective departments. Or, students may select a group minor of twenty-four credits, two courses in each of the four subject areas. If the major is in one of the four disciplines, additional credit may be required in the minor. The group minor must include at least two courses from each area in which the student has not accrued major credits.
In addition, all undergraduates seeking 7-12 certification must take Social Studies Education 671, Methods and Materials of Instruction in Secondary Social Studies, and, SSE 673, New Perspectives in Social Studies. SSE 671 focuses on foundations, objectives, curriculum content and organization, teaching strategies, instructional materials, the evaluation of learning, and the utilization of community resources for middle, junior high school, and secondary social studies. For example, the current SSE 671 class is organized around a critical whole language approach to social education. SSE 673 (New Perspectives) addresses specialized aspects of social education: theoretical critiques of pedagogical methods, community projects, interdisciplinary approaches, and global education. For example, a recent SSE 673 class examined the history and practice of critical pedagogy and whole language.
Wayne State University offers graduate degrees, both the Master of Education and the Master of Arts in Teaching, in Social Studies Education: Secondary.
The university also offers an Educational Specialist Certificate in Social Studies Education: Secondary. Finally, Wayne State University offers an Ed.D. and Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in Social Studies Education: Secondary.
The attached matrix is designed to graphically address the questions of developing perspectives using guidelines (strands) originated by the National Council for the Social Studies. The strands address core concepts, values, facts, and methods ofinquiry. Technology, the use of the world wide web as a research data base and forum for publication and discourse, is built into each social studies course.
C) Differences Between Elementary and Secondary Preparation
Elementary education majors are required to take ELE 360, Teaching Social Studies: Preprimary-9. This class focuses on objectives, curriculum content and organization, teaching strategies, instructional materials, the evaluation of learning, utilization of community resources, in a setting designed to grasp the cognitive and affective issues of elementary and middle school children. K-9 classes are taught by instructors with backgrounds in K-9 classrooms. The social studies program is moving to provide specific middle school/junior high leadership for those students seeking positions in that area.
Social Studies Curriculum 660: Preprimary to 9, is designed for the elementary and middle schools, emphasizing intellectual, social, and affective development. The focus is on designing programs based on social priorities, modern socioeconomic, cultural, ethnic, and political concepts.
D) A Strong Background in Disciplines
The attached matrix drawn from the State of Michigan Social Studies Standards addresses issues identified by NCSS as central to a strong social studies background. The core courses required outside the social studies, in history, economics, political science, and geography, listed above in the section designatedsocial studies majors, form the interdisciplinary base of social studies practice. Particular social studies classes recognize the rigorous interdisciplinary nature of the field. For example, a recent social studies class incorporated a team approach drawing on the expertise of a Ph.D. instructor with a background in Detroit public secondary school, with an instructor funded by a grant from the National Geographic Alliance.
There has been an increase in the practical possibilities for direct interdisciplinary collaboration between the Social Studies division and the History department, the Economics department, Political Science, and Geography. For example, the Social Studies Division co-sponsored a conference, " Labor History and the Auto Industry--the last 100 Years," in the Fall semester, 1995. A similar conference, "History and Memory," took place in 1996. A conference jointly sponsored by History and Social Studies is planned for the fall of 1997, focused on the national standards for each discipline. Leaders from the social studies division were active in the summer, 1997, conference of the Detroit Council for the Social Studies as well. Students are required to attend these conferences, to participate, and to offer critiques.
E) Issues of Gender Equity, Multi-culturalism, Global Perspectives
The deconstruction of standpoints, the interrogation of privilege, international unity and difference, the investigation of the material and ideological bases for racism and sexism, the fear of sexuality and disability, examination of the creation andownership of value, are built into the philosophy and practice of all social studies education courses as pedagogical and content questions. For example, a recent SSE 673, New Perspectives in Social Studies, class incorporated the interdisciplinary work of Wayne State University disability activists and scholars with the research of political economist and social geographer David Harvey. Another class incorporated the works of Paulo Freire, Michael Apple, Ronald Takaki, Istavan Meszaros, Gloria-Ladson Billings, Pat Shannon, and W.E.B. Dubois.
Social studies students are urged to use the rich urban resources of the metro-Detroit area like the Holocaust Museum, the Museum of African-American History, and the Walter Reuther Library. The program leaders are involved in recruiting international students to the program.
F) Differences With General Institutional Requirements
There are no disparities with Wayne State requirements.
G) How Reading and Technology are Addressed
Reading, writing, and technology are incorporated into the action research portfolios which students are required to produce for the social studies classroom, and in the preparation for the portfolios required for graduation from the Wayne State University Teacher Education program. Reading and writing are approached as methods to allow students to become agents of their own education, paths to use in the evaluation and reevaluation of pedagogical and content knowledge. Technology is incorporated through researchprojects on the WWW, through the use of e-mail and electronic
bulletin boards. Technology is thus folded purposefully into the curriculum. The W.S.U College of Education now offers students full Mac and I.B.M. labs. In addition, students are asked to do assignments which include reading, writing and technology and are trained to include these types of assignments for their own students.
Sources of Guidelines and Standards
National Council for the Social Studies Standards of 1995
State of Michigan Social Studies Content/Pedagogy Standards of 1996
There is no deviation from these standards.