Social studies is the study of people, past and present, across the globe. Social Studies in U.S. schools should prepare students to be active participants in our society and the democratic process. In order to do this, students need to have a certain level of knowledge regarding the history of the U.S. and the world, how our government took shape and how it operates today, and the democratic values of our society. Social Studies should also help students to develop critical thinking skills. Citizens need to have the ability to sift through a lot of information and make important decisions about what they believe. With the Internet, information is more prevalent and easier to obtain that ever before, so the abilities developed in social studies classrooms are increasingly important. I want my students to have the skills to make choices based on careful thought. All students can benefit from having learned these subjects no matter what they do in life after school. In order to build a future, students must learn about our past.

Social studies is vast. There is something for everyone. I want to make social studies relevant to my students’ lives so that they internalize the material and retain it. I bring to my teaching a passion for learning and teaching history. I hope to pass on that love of learning to my students through the enthusiasm that I have for teaching history. I plan to use various teaching methods so that students can have a variety of experiences with learning. This will also allow them to have the chance to learn from each other and construct their own learning experiences. I will use inquiry based lessons, lecture-discussion, Socratic seminars, writing-based lessons and other methods that involve student participation.

Technology is becoming increasingly more available for use in schools and provides us with new opportunities for effective instruction. However, technology use is often lacking in social studies classrooms. As much as I am able given available resources, I want to integrate technology into my classroom in ways that engage students. I want students to be able to use the Internet to find and analyze historical and current event information. In order to do this successfully in their lives outside the classroom, they should have some practice inside the classroom. They should be able to view technology as something that can enhance learning.

I want to help my students develop the critical thinking skills necessary in today’s world. They should be able to do more than memorize and perform on standardized multiple choice tests. I stress tolerance and respect in my classroom, especially when it comes to communication. Students will not put each other down, and they will respect that everyone has differing viewpoints. These and other democratic values, such as freedom and equality, are stressed in my classroom. Students should leave my class knowing how to communicate with respect and how to make informed decisions, as well as retaining knowledge of the content.

Ideally, students should be able to use the skills they learn in my class in order to make choices in their lives. They will be able to critically analyze real life situations. They will understand that historical and current events are the result of decisions made by many people. Students should understand and hopefully relate to the human aspect of history. They should also realize that they are a part of a global community because everything is interrelated including historical and current events. Students should leave my class full of new knowledge and skills, ready to take the next step into their future.