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History and Social Studies Supporting Each Other?

September 9, 2014

Tags: Big history, Education Issue, Kieran Egan

The history/social studies wars have impacted learning mightily says Kieran Egan in a book titled, "Children's Minds, Talking Rabbits & Clockwork Oranges." If you can only read one ed book this year, I suggest this one published in 1999. Egan says the dominating social studies curriculum is flawed, then he explains why, and also why we should return to a curriculum that focuses on concrete knowledge. My thoughts: history is conveyed in stories, an approach that works with readers (of all ages). Social studies is about forming attitudes: tricky, hard to find agreement on, and...usually boring. History is about what has happened in this world of ours. As a ten-year-old said to me, "Knowing history makes you smart."
Can educators come together on this? If we can get past the terminology, yes. Good history is broad and inclusive, it doesn't just focus on political events. In the parlance of the time, good history is BIG.

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