Issues-Centered Learning and Decision Making 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 level? Can You? explain why issues–centered learning is important for today’s schools? describe your own values and tell how they were formed? identify or describe some specific decision–making skills? think of some activities in which students could have experiences in determining alternatives? Do You? know and understand the meaning of issues–centered learning? know what values to teach? understand why it may be necessary to deal with values related to living in a pluralistic society in school? 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 curriculum? What is the purpose of an issues-centered approach? What is one of the most powerful arguments for the inclusion of an issues-centered learning? 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 Instruction What are case studies and why are they so popular? 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 Instruction 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 Learning 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 important? What relationship exists between one’s values and one’s ability to make decisions? Which examples do you feel you could easily accomplish? 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 classroom? 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 Others Problem Solving How do you think you could incorporate these approaches? Character Education and Citizenship 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 Perspective 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 classroom. Extension 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. Extension 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 students. 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. Self-Test 1. What is the purpose of issues–centered 2. 3. 4. 5. learning? 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 values? How are issues–centered learning, decision making, values, and character education all related? Resources 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 Publishing. 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.