Issues-Centered Learning and Decision Making

Issues-Centered Learning and Decision
Looking Ahead
 Why must social studies focus, at least to some
degree, on understanding and discussing issues
that cause conflicts in society, decision making,
values, and character development?
 What role does character and values education
play in the social studies curriculum?
 What are appropriate ways to teach character
and values education at the middle/secondary
Can You?
 explain why issues–centered learning is important
for today’s schools?
 describe your own values and tell how they were
 identify or describe some specific decision–making
 think of some activities in which students could
have experiences in determining alternatives?
Do You?
 know and understand the meaning of issues–centered
 know what values to teach?
 understand why it may be necessary to deal with
values related to living in a pluralistic society in
 understand different ways of teaching about values?
Focus Activity
 Think back about your middle and high school experience.
What were the controversial issues being discussed at that
time? Did your teachers ever discuss these topics in class?
 Share experiences with classmates.
 Now consider your role as a future social studies teacher.
What topics do you think are:
 (1) inappropriate to discuss with secondary students; and/or
 (2) what topics do you personally feel uncomfortable discussing with
secondary students?
 Make a list of potential topics that fall under the two
aforementioned categories.
 Share your lists with classmates and discuss why you believe
certain topics to be inappropriate and/or uncomfortable to
address with secondary students.
Issues-Centered Learning
 Why has the issues-centered approach had
such a staying power in the social studies
 What is the purpose of an issues-centered
 What is one of the most powerful arguments
for the inclusion of an issues-centered
Issues-Centered Learning
 What are the four essential principles of
issues–centered learning?
 What criteria should teachers consider the
when selecting issues–centered content?
Approaches to Issues-Centered
 What are case studies and why are they so
 What are the most promient types of case studies?
 Sequential Case Study
 Research Case Study
 Live/Current Case Study
 Historical Case Study
 Social Issues Case Studies
Approaches to Issues-Centered
 What are the two approaches for implementing a
case study?
 Open-ended
 Closed-ended
 What are the typical procedures for implementing
an open– or closed–ended case study?
 Introduction
 Learning Experience
 Comprehension Development
 Reinforcement/Extension
Inquiry Learning
 What is the goal of inquiry learning?
 What role does a teacher play in the inquiry
process of students?
 What are the typical models for implementing
inquiry based lessons?
 Inductive Model
 Alternative Inductive Model
 Deductive Model
 Historical Model
 Problem-Solving Model
 Survey Model
Moral Reasoning
 What is the goal of his approach?
 What are the five steps of this approach?
1. Defining and clarifying the dilemma.
2. Taking a tentative position on the dilemma.
3. Dividing students into small groups to discuss
the dilemma.
4. Conducting a class discussion that defends,
challenges, and probes for reasoning.
5. Extending the reasoning to the larger moral
question rose by the dilemma.
Public Issues
 How is this method unique within the
issues-centered approach?
 What are some types of public issue questions?
 Public Policy
 Moral Value Issues
 Definitional Issues
 Factual Issues
 Prescriptive Issues
 Descriptive Issues
Values Clarification
 What is the goal of this approach?
 What are the two types of procedures teachers can
follow when implementing this approach?
 Value Integration:
 Value Analysis:
Problems with Issues-Centered
 What are major problems that might
prevent teachers from utilizing a
issues-centered approach?
 How do you feel about the use of an
issues-centered approach? Explain.
Decision-Making Skills in Relation
to Values
 Why are decision-making skills so
 What relationship exists between one’s
values and one’s ability to make decisions?
 Which examples do you feel you could easily
 Which example do you feel would have the
greatest influence on students?
What Values Do You Teach?
 How would one teach values related to
living in a democracy?
 How would one teach values implicit within
a multicultural society?
 How would one teach values that relate to
school success and to the functional
Developing Values
 What are the five ways of developing values?
 Pronouncements, Rules, and Warnings
 Examples and Models
 Stories with Morals or Lessons
 Examining Personal Actions of Self and
 Problem Solving
 How do you think you could incorporate
these approaches?
Character Education and
 Do you believe that you have a clear
responsibility and duty to teach character
and civic virtue? Why of why not?
 Should the community have any say in the
virtues that schools teach?
Character and Values: A Worldview
 What are the goals of character education?
 What is a “conserving influence” and how
are schools guilt of it?
Looking Back
 In the social studies, teachers need to be most concerned
with helping students become good citizens
 Issues–centered learning is one approach that teachers
should consider when addressing the “good citizen”
objective because it forces students to actively engage and
discuss controversial issues that are important in society.
 Additional work in preparing students to be good citizens
focuses on the exploration of values, particularly in living
in a multicultural, democracy society, and those values
related to school success and successful functioning of the
 You are at the mid-point of the fourth nine weeks at CHS.
Dr. Russell, the principal of CHS, drops by your classroom
to schedule a meeting after school. As the day passes the
anticipation overwhelms you and you are so nervous you
find yourself gnawing on your fingernails throughout the
day. The meeting finally arrives and you are pleasantly
surprised to hear the news. Dr. Russell informs you that
your contract has been renewed for the upcoming school
year. Dr. Russell acknowledges your hard work, dynamic
teaching, and your ability to “get students to think.” He
follows his praises with a request. Dr. Russell asks that you
provide a sample activity that “gets students to think” to
share with the other faculty. Giddy with excitement you
agree and promise to bring an activity next Monday.
 For this activity, locate a current news article or story
(no more than two–years old) that deals with a public
issue relating to the lives of middle or high school
 After reading the article, create a series of ten
discussion questions you could use to facilitate a
dialogue with secondary students about the
article/topic being addressed.
 Keep in mind that these questions are meant to
provoke students to think critically and rationally
about difficult issues and utilize the decision–making
process to develop informed opinions.
1. What is the purpose of issues–centered
What are the benefits of engaging students in
discussions about social issues?
Why are values both controversial and
necessary to social studies instruction?
What are some different ways of modeling
How are issues–centered learning, decision
making, values, and character education all
 Engle, S., & Ochoa, A. (1988). Education for Democratic
Citizenship: Decision making in the social studies. New York:
Teachers College Press.
Evans, R., & Saxe, D. (Eds). (2007). Handbook on Teaching Social
Issues: NCSS bulletin No. 93. Charlotte, NC: Information Age
General Procedures for Case Studies (n.d.)
General Procedures for Lessons (n.d.)
Kohlberg, L. (1966). Moral Education in the School, School
Review (74), 1–30.
McClellan, B. E. (1999). Moral Education in America: Schools and
the shaping of character from Colonial times to the present. New
York, NY: Teachers College Press.
Raths, L., Harmin, M., & Simon, S. (1966). Values and Teaching:
Working with values in the classroom. Columbus, Ohio: Charles
E. Merrill.