The study of social studies promotes and develops civic competency. A civic competent student demonstrates the following attributes:
- Understands our democratic values and the rights and responsibilities one possesses in our democratic republic
- Understands how past events and decisions connect to the present and may influence the future
- Thinks critically to make personal and civic decisions based on information from multiple perspectives
- Participates in a responsible and constructive way in social and work settings
- Responds appropriately in increasingly diverse settings
Social studies that are meaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and active provide students the best potential of acquiring the attributes of being civically competent. Teaching and learning in social studies are powerful when they are:
- Meaningful – Key concepts and themes are developed in depth and skills are embedded throughout the lesson.
- Integrative – Units and lessons can draw on ideas from economics, geography, history, political science and the behavioral sciences to increase understanding of an event or concept and the combined elements provides opportunities for students to conduct inquiry, develop and display data, synthesize findings and make judgments.
- Valued Based – Through discussions, debates, use of authentic documents, simulations, and research, students engage in experiences that develop fair mindedness, encourage recognition and serious consideration of opposing points of view, respect for well-supported positions, sensitivity to cultural similarities and differences and a commitment to individual and social responsibility.
- Challenging – Instruction makes use of regular writing and the analysis of various types of documents, such as primary and secondary sources, graphs, charts, and data banks.
- Active – (“hands on” and “minds on”) Students work individually and collaboratively, using rich and varied sources to reach understandings, make decisions, discuss issues and solve problems.