Activity 3: Skills and Best Practices
Case Studies/Problem Solving
John J. Patrick, Director of the Social Studies Development Center and Professor of Education, Indiana University has described nine trends in social studies education which have broad potential for influencing civic education.
Among these is the use of case studies:
TREND 3: ANALYSIS OF CASE STUDIES
Teachers are requiring students to apply core concepts or principles to the analysis of case studies. Thus, students may demonstrate that they understand a concept by using it correctly to organize and interpret information in a case about the political behavior of individuals and groups. Case studies may also be about legal disputes decided by judges or juries in a court of law. The use of case studies brings the drama and vitality of authentic civic life into the classroom and demands the practical application of academic ideas to make sense of the data of civic reality. The content of case studies often is taken from the pages of daily newspapers, weekly news magazines, or televised documentaries.
The other trends include:
- The systematic teaching of core concepts
- Development of decision-making skills
- Development of participatory skills and civic virtues
- The use of literature to teach civic virtues
- Active learning
- The conjoining of content and process in teaching and learning
Taking a Position on an Issue
This discussion paper by Dr. John Malouff and Dr. Nicola Schutte argue for the need for teachers to take a more active role in the teaching of problem solving. Too often in our rush to teach social studies facts and information, we forget that the reason we teach this information is for students to use it in solving real life problems: