B.ed 1st YEAR [ ES - 343 ]


Answer the following questions:

i) Explain the significance of Social Studies in Secondary School Curriculum. Discuss how teaching of Social Studies contributes to wholesome development of the learner.
(500 words)


Social studies seeks to examine and understand communities, from the local to the global,
their various heritages, physical systems, and the nature of citizenship within them. Students acquire a knowledge of key social studies concepts, including change, culture, environment, power, and the dynamics of the marketplace. They learn about Canada and the role of citizens in a democratic society within a culturally diverse and interdependent world. They also acquire skills of inquiry and communication through field studies and  other research projects; through the use of maps, globes, and models; and through the consideration of various forms of historical evidence. Students apply these skills to develop an understanding of Indian identity and democratic values, to evaluate different points of view, and to examine information critically in order to solve problems and make decisions on issues that are relevant to their lives.


A basic goal of the social studies, history, and geography program is to provide students with the foundational knowledge, skills, and attitudes they will need to continue to learn effectively in secondary school. Thus, the goals of the curriculum are to enable students to:

• understand the basic concepts of social studies, history, and geography;

• develop the skills, strategies, and habits of mind required for effective inquiry and communication, and for the application of the basic concepts of social studies, history, and geography to a variety of learning tasks;

• relate and apply the knowledge acquired through social studies and the study of history and geography to the world outside the classroom.

These goals are equally important. They can be achieved simultaneously in a  concrete, practical context through learning activities that combine the acquisition of knowledge with the application of various skills, including inquiry/research, communication, and map, globe, and graphic representation skills.


The curriculum in social studies, organizes students’ learning around a set of fundamental concepts: systems and structures; interactions and interdependence; environment; change and continuity; culture; and power and governance.History and geography offer different perspectives on these concepts. In history, for example, students may consider change and continuity over a relatively short period that covers only a few years in the story of a country or person. In geography, on the other hand, they may use this same concept to study much longer time periods covering the slow, almost imperceptible, changes in some physical features.

Although the specific content of programs changes from grade to grade, the conceptual framework within which topics are presented remains consistent throughout the curriculum, from Grades 1 to 12, and gives continuity to students’ learning. As students progress through the curriculum, they extend and deepen their understanding of these concepts and learn to apply this understanding with increasing sophistication.Understanding relationships among concepts is also an important part of student learning.Each of the fundamental concepts can be linked with a number of related concepts that help to explain the concept further.


The social sciences encompass diverse concerns of society and include a wide a range of
content, drawn from the disciplines of history, geography, political science, economics and
sociology.  The selection and organisation of material into a meaningful social science curriculum, enabling students to develop a critical understanding of society, is therefore a challenging task. The possibilities of including new dimensions and concerns are immense especially in view of the student’s own life experiences.It is important to reinstate the significance of the social sciences by not only highlighting its increasing relevance for a job in the rapidly expanding service sector, but by pointing to its indispensability in laying the foundations for an analytical and creative mindset. It is often presumed that only natural and physical phenomena lend themselves to scientific inquiry, and that knowledge areas pertaining to the human sciences (history, geography, economics, political science etc.)  cannot be, by their very nature “scientific”. But it is necessary to recognise that the social sciences lend themselves to scientific inquiry just as much as the natural and physical sciences do, as well as to articulate the ways in which the methods employed by social sciences are distinct (but in no way inferior) to those of the natural and physical sciences.

The social sciences carry a normative responsibility to create and widen the popular base for human values, namely freedom, trust, mutual respect, respect for diversity, etc. Thus, social science teaching basically should be aimed at investing in a child a moral and mental energy so as to provide her with the ability to think independently and deal with the social forces that threaten these values, without losing her individuality. Social Science teaching can achieve this by promoting children’s ability to take initiative to critically reflect on social issues that have a bearing on the creative coexistence between individual good and collective good. Critical reflection pre-supposes a comprehensive curriculum in which learners – both teachers and children – participate in generating knowledge without any latent and manifest forces of coercion. It is through this non-coercive and participatory mode that children and teachers stand the best chance of making teaching and learning interesting as well as enjoyable. The disciplines that make up the social sciences, namely history, geography, political science and economics, have distinct methodologies that often justify the preservation of boundaries. The boundaries of disciplines need to be opened up and a plurality of approaches may be applied to understand a given phenomenon.  For an enabling curriculum, certain themes that facilitate interdisciplinary thinking are required.


Social science teaching needs to be revitalised towards helping the learner acquire knowledge and skills in an interactive environment. The teaching of social sciences must adopt methods that promote creativity, aesthetics, and critical perspectives, and enable children to draw relationships between past and present, to understand changes taking place in society. Problem solving, dramatisation and role play are some hither-to under explored strategies that could be employed. Teaching should utilise greater resources of audio-visual materials, including photographs, charts and maps, and replicas of archaeological and material cultures.
In order to make the process of learning participative there is a need to shift from mere imparting of information to debate and discussion. This approach to learning will keep both the learner and teacher alive to social realities. Concepts should be clarified to the students through the lived experiences of individuals and communities. It has often been observed that cultural, social and class differences generate their own biases, prejudices and attitudes in classroom contexts.  The approach to teaching therefore needs to be open-ended.  Teachers should discuss different dimensions of social reality in the class, and work towards creating increasing self-awareness amongst themselves and in the learners.


  1. Ambron, S.R (1981) Child development, Holt, Rincehart and Winston, New York.
  2. Anderson, J.R. (1983). The architecture of cognition. Cambridge, MA: Harvard  University Press.
  1. Anderson, J.R. (1983). Rules of the mind. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum
  2. Barry and Johnson (1964) Classroom Group Behaviour, New York: Macmillan. 
  3. Bower, G.H. and Hilgard, E.R. (1981) Theories of learning. Prentice Hall, Inc.Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey.
  1. Dececo, J.P. (1977). The Psychology of learning and instruction, Prentice Hall,