Teachers have used different methods in order to incorporate different points of view into the curriculum they teach. The middle school curriculum must cover history based on geography, world history, and ancient times. Teachers are always looking for methods that will allow their students to find history interesting and engaging. One of the methods used by teachers is the incorporation of different viewpoints within the curriculum. This literature review covers several topics based on development of assimilation in the social studies classroom to promote decision making analysis.
The review provides ways for students to demonstrate their skills, knowledge, and attitudes in order to be able to effectively function within their community. Additionally, demonstrate the abilities of students to obtain value and meaning in the social studies curriculum through a variety of topics. The significant issue in this study discusses how to develop assimilations in the classroom in order to promote students through an analysis of the importance of student interactions in their own personal learning experience.
This literature review fits into the study of assimilations in the classroom and learning experiences. “Students Experience of the Curriculum” by Frederick Erickson and Jeffrey Shultz analyzes past research that explains the importance of positive interactions throughout educational experiences (1992). Erikson and Shultz includes materials such as books, equipment and games as examples to show the effectiveness of student’s interactions with the learning process. They also include the social set ups that allow students to engage in authentic learning experiences (1992).
Role playing and simulation activities are prime examples for allowing students to incorporate books, equipment and games into the social studies classroom. Role playing and simulation require students to interact socially which enhances the learning process through shared knowledge and collaboration. Role playing and simulation activities provide students with authentic learning experiences that result in enhanced learning opportunities. Erikson and Shultz view student experience as a phenomenon of experiences in perceived classroom research and prescriptive talk about teaching and learning in schools.
In earlier research, Erikson and Shultz review John Dewey’s theory of educational experience. Erikson and Shultz state that they see student interaction as environmental conditions that are constituted by the student (1992). Dewey, according to this literature review, conveys that it is important that close attention be given to purpose, personality disposition, and intellectual capacities in student engagement in the curriculum. Further, Dewey emphasizes the need for students to become actively engaged in classroom discussion and activities in order to reap positive learning experiences.
Dewey believed that in order to truly learn and remember something, one must internalize it through sensory experience. Therefore, social studies teachers must incorporate various learning strategies into their lesson plans that give students adequate time to actually experience history, geography and events from ancient times. In other words, in order to ensure that students truly engage in authentic learning experiences then they must be given the opportunity to actively engage in what they are learning.
Role play and simulation is an excellent way to incorporate Dewey’s ideas into the classroom because they allow students to directly experience social studies through social interaction as well as interaction with the subject matter. In previous studies, Erikson and Shultz found that there was little empirical and conceptual work done directly concerning student work (1992). Erikson and Shultz include a list of various readings that point to research based on previous student experience including, Cuban, 1984, Cusick, 1973, Goodman, 1962, Sizer, 1985, and Rose, 1990.
These leading experts in the field provide support for Erikson and Shultz’s ideas associated with the complex nature of student work. As further evidence, Erikson and Shultz’s methodology includes examples of previous case studies. Another example encompasses the idea that some educators also still use the pricing and awards system to motivate students to learn (1992). This method of teaching causes comparative evaluation because the performance of the students is measured in relation to the other students. According to this model, students were not evaluated as individuals but rather as a group.
Students are evaluated in this manner because this method exposes all students to the same types of materials for content and the same lesson objectives. However, this is an issue because students all learn in different ways and expecting all students to learn in the same way doesn’t encourage high levels of success from all students. This form of instruction is particularly problematic for students of low level, factual knowledge. Role play and simulation is a very effective way to overcome some of these challenges because students are able to present their understanding of course material in a variety of different ways.
This allows all students, regardless of ability level, to convey a sense of what they are achieving and understanding from classroom experiences. Further, the student work they are able to turn into the teacher can be related back to their social interactions in order to provide instructors with a well rounded approach to understanding student learning processes while also ensuring that all students are meeting state and national standards. Another methodology studied was manifest curriculum. Manifest curriculum takes two approaches in learning.
First it evaluates the student’s attitude towards a subject. Second, it evaluates the student conceptions of learning (Erikson & Shultz, 1992). Manifest curriculum is often referred to as the hidden curriculum because it includes the ideas and values that are learned in school but are not a part of required curriculum. These values and ideas are instilled in children through classroom interactions, classroom management and interactions with the teacher and peers. The curriculum is the book or piece of paper that constitutes what a teacher is supposed to teach students.
The hidden curriculum is a living, breathing entity because it is unwritten and changes as different groups interact with one another as well as the teacher (Walsh, 2005). Again, role playing and simulation activities are directly related to the manifest curriculum because of the enormous potential for students to learn much more than what is being presented in the written curriculum. The types of social interactions that students engage in while participating in role playing and simulation exercises provides enhanced opportunities to collaborate that lead to different perspectives.
These different perspectives are essential parts of the manifest curriculum as they provide students with alternate forms of education that are not expressly written down. Despite the fact that the manifest curriculum is not part of the published curriculum, it is equally as important to role playing and simulation activities because it allows students to step outside of their comfort zone to gain enhanced background knowledge about historical concepts.