Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Cross-Cultural School Psychology

pp 898-899


Social Sciences, Teaching

  • Susan AdlerAffiliated withDivision of Curriculum and Instructional Leadership, University of Missouri-Kansas City

In many countries the teaching of the social sciences and history is referred to as “social studies.” Social studies educators in most countries generally agree that the goal of social studies is the development of the skills and knowledge necessary to be a citizen in a society. However, there are conflicting views as to the nature of the knowledge and skills necessary for effective citizens. Consequently, there is considerable debate in the literature about whether social studies/science teaching should focus on the academic disciplines or whether it is best taught through an interdisciplinary approach to the study of public issues and problems.

The differences found in literature can be described along a continuum with an emphasis on socialization on one end and critical thought on the other. Thus, on the one hand is the argument that social studies/science teaching should promote citizenship that is adaptive to the status quo and interests of society as it is. On the other hand, is t ...

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