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VI Cognitive Development Strategies and Activities

Effective social studies instruction relies on the premise that learning requires cognitive processes that are aimed at encouraging student comprehension; consequently, effective social studies instruction relies on the need for student engagement in instruction. In other words, for instruction to be successful, students must be able to actively encourage thinking about substantive issues associated  Read More 
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Phi Delta Kappa Fastback #199

If you would like a free copy of Fastback #199: "What Should We Be Teaching in the Social Studies?", please send me a self-addressed post card or email and I will send you a copy. I would appreciate receiving back the cost for mailing the booklet (about one dollar). This booklet, published by Phi Delta  Read More 
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V. Structured Instruction

Surprisingly, teacher led instruction is often a matter of informal or unstructured presentations that require little more preparation other than the introduction to the topic followed by an exploration about what the topic entails. For example, it is not uncommon for a teacher to simply say or write a topic on the board followed  Read More 
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IV. Task Orientation

Task orientation is an important aspect of Effective Teaching because it relates to how much time the teacher actually spends on a designated instructional task. A task is a lesson that involves goals and activities that are designed to enhance student comprehension of identified concepts, skills or values. As a rule, the more uninterrupted  Read More 
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III. Instructional Variety

Effective instruction relies on the idea that students will attend (pay attention) to the lesson and not become distracted; therefore, one of the most important aspects of planning must include a consideration for avoiding timing-out, or the loss of focus, of one or more students. The typical instructional time allotted for the secondary class  Read More 
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Professor Richard E Gross and I

In 1968 I was teaching American history in Edina High School in Edina, Minnesota when I learned that I was the recipient of a Coe fellowship at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. At this time I was married with three children so we would be housed in the married student-housing complex on the Stanford campus. After arriving at Stanford I learned that the Coe Fellowship, for high school social studies teachers of American history, focused on modern trends in history and revisionist history. I took a course from Professor Kennedy, a young and eminent scholar and a course from a visiting Professor from The University of Washington.

While at Stanford, I learned of an exceptional Professor of Social Studies Education who had been elected as the president of the National Council for the Social Studies. He was Professor Richard E. Gross, who was called Dick by almost everyone. He was married to Jane, and he liked to make reference to “Dick and Jane,” the famous reading primer. One day I decided to go by the School of Education to meet Professor Gross. I checked his office hours and came back at an appropriate time. Several students were lined up outside his office were waiting to meet with Dick to discuss their unit projects. I stood in line and waited my turn and when it came I was ushered into his very large and long office. I was greatly impressed by the fact that the long wall consisted of a huge bookshelf that was completely full of books related to the social studies. Dick also taught a course related to the study of the history of education from a world perspective. Read More 
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