Improving the Use of Elementary Social Studies Textbooks.
Improving the Use of Elementary Social Studies Textbooks. Some elementary teachers are better than others at using textbooks in class. This essay has ideas for all of us in being better at integrating social science textbooks in class.
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Basal textbooks are a common means of instruction in elementary social studies classrooms. They are useful sources of knowledge and may serve as a core for social studies instruction. However, even the best textbook is a limited teaching tool which must be used in combination with other media and materials to adequately address important learning objectives pertaining to cognitive skills and civic participation. Teachers who depend only on textbooks are likely to deprive students of important learning experiences.
This digest discusses (1) how social studies textbooks are used by elementary teachers, (2) problems children have in reading textbooks, and (3) procedures for improving textbook use in elementary social studies.
HOW ARE SOCIAL STUDIES TEXTBOOKS USED BY MOST ELEMENTARY TEACHERS?
The hardcover basal textbook dominates teaching and learning in elementary social studies classes (Patrick and Hawke 1982). Too often, social studies instruction involves reading assignments in a single textbook. As with math, science, and health, there is a temptation to allow the textbook to define the curriculum, with the flow of topics determined by consecutive pages.
Many teachers have found ways to expand upon the content of the textbook, adding films, tradebooks, and a variety of projects to help break the monotony of daily use and maintain student interest. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in "textbook alone" instruction, as reductions in school budgets have depleted the supply of up-to-date supplementary materials, and teachers have begun to react to pressures of the back-to-basics movement, state-wide testing, and criticisms of all but the most traditional teaching practices.