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psychology anthropology Social Studies

Social studies is defined by the Board of Director of the National Council for the social studies as, the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence.  Within the school program, social studies provides coordinated, systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology, archeology, economics, geography, history, law, philosophy, political science, psychology, religion, and sociology, as well as appropriate content from the humanities, mathematics, and neutral sciences.  The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse, democratic society in an interdependent world.
    There are two main characteristics of social studies as a field of study.  First is social studies promoting civic competence, the knowledge, skill, and attitudes of a student needed to assume "the office of citizen" in our democratic republic.  The National Council for the Social Studies considers civic competence as a main goal for social studies.  The NCSS says, students who learn these skills in social studies will help shape the future of a democratic society.  The second characteristic of social studies is the social studies program, K-12, integrates knowledge, skills, and attitudes within and across disciplines.  A third characteristic is one in which social studies programs help students construct a knowledge base and attitudes drawn from academic disciplines as specialized ways of viewing reality.  This can be achieved with courses such as, history, geography, political science, sociology, and language arts, English and fine arts.  Examples from each help students experience concepts reflectively and actively, through reading, thinking, discussing and writing.  The fourth characteristic of the social studies program is the demonstration of the changing nature of knowledge, fostering entirely new and highly integrated approaches to resolving issues of significance to humanity.  The social studies program should help students gain knowledge of how to know, how to apply what they know, and how to participate in building a future.  
    A well designed social studies curriculum will help each student achieve a blend of personal academic, pluralist, and global views of the human condition with a personal perspective, academic perspective, pluralist perspective, and global perspective.  A personal perspective will help to explore events and recurring issues, consider implication for self, family, and the while nation and world community.  Students should be able to make choices for themselves and others.  Students should learn how to construct an academic perspective through study and application of social studies learning experiences.  Based on diversity, social studies students should construct a pluralist perspective.  A global perspective includes knowledge, skills, and commitments needed to live wisely in a world that possesses limited resources.  It involves viewing the world and the people with understanding and concern.
    A social studies student will be able to connect knowledge, skills, and values to civic action as they engage in social inquiry.  Knowledge is constructed by learners as thy attempt to fit new information, experiences, feeling, and relationships.  In social studies educators draw from a number of disciplines to construct circular experiences enabling students to actively relate new knowledge to their existing understanding.  For students to be better thinkers and better decision makers, they must have contact with those accustomed to thinking with precision, refinement, and clarity.  They should be encouraged to be critical.  Skills promoted in an excellent social studies program includes, acquiring information and manipulation data, developing and presenting polices, arguments and stories, constructing new knowledge, and participating in groups.  The social studies curriculum focused on how values are formed and how they influence human behavior rather than on building commitment to specific values.  The emphasis is placed upon helping students weigh priorities in situations in which a conflict exists between or among values.  With each position students will be able to improve the ways in which they deal with persistent issues and dilemmas and participate with others in making decisions about them.  Students who pose knowledge, skill, and values are prepared to take appropriate civic action as individuals or as members of groups devoted to civic improvements.  
    The principles of teaching and learning document which must undergird all social studies programs include, social studies teaching and learning are powerful when they are ... more

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The Underlying philosophical approaches to scientific enquiry of Positivist
and Social Constructivist psychology have a great deal to offer one another
and should not be view as mutually exclusive. Discuss.

        Abstract:
        This paper addresses  the  philosophical  differences  between  two
        approaches to psychology.  Firstly, it describes the  philosophical
        foundations of Social Constructivism with its ideas of  a  socially
        constructed  reality  that  is  contextually,  linguistically   and
        culturally specific; an approach that professes that  there  is  no
        one truth, but many competing truths.  The paper then  goes  on  to
        describe the Positivist  approach  with  its  ideas  that  only  by
        following strict scientific rules can any science earn a  level  of
        academic respect and trust.   This,  in  its  most  extreme  forms,
        professes that only observable behaviour and  environmental  events
        are legitimate objects  of  enquiry;  concepts  that  can  only  be
        inferred to by  such  events  are  not.   After  demonstrating  the
        differences between these approaches the  paper  suggests  ways  in
        which  they  may  enhance  each  other.   For  example,  by   being
        reflective and aware of  one's  own  epistemology,  scientists  can
        inject greater meaning and validity into their empirical  research.
        Therefore, it is the aim of this paper  to  demonstrate  that  both
        approaches are valid and both can be used to compliment the other.

            Key  Words:   Philosophical  Approaches,  Scientific   Enquiry,
            Positivism, Social Constructivism.

According to Valentine (1998), interest  in  the  philosophy  of  psychology
grew out of a desire to align it  with  other  natural  sciences.   However,
ironically these interests lead  to  the  current  scholarly  thinking  that
psychology is in many ways very different from other 'hard' sciences.   What
psychology examines are human behaviours, emotion and  attitudes.  As  these
are strongly influenced by freewill  they  must  also  be  specific  to  the
culture, epoch and society that formed  that  freewill  as  "psychology  par
excellence does not occur in a  social  or  historical  vacuum"  (Valentine,
1998, p.167).

Social Constructivism
There  is  no  single  clear,  all   encompassing   definition   of   social
constructivism.  Burr (2000) suggests that  social  constructivism  consists
of a number of related theories and  ideas  drawing  influences  from  other
disciplines such as Sociology,  Philosophy,  Linguistics  and  Anthropology.
There is no single identifying feature of Social Constructivism, instead  it
should be seen as a general approach, a movement or  "shared  consciousness"
(Gergen, 1985,  p.266).   However,  certain  fundamental  ideas  or  beliefs
constitute the constructivist approach.  Firstly,  the  idea  of  critiquing
all taken-for-granted knowledge asks the question 'how do we  know  what  we
know?' and 'is what we know the truth or  just  one  truth  in  a  world  of
competing truths?'  According to Johnson and Cassel (2001), this produces  a
paradox: a perpetual circular argument in which any theory of  knowledge  is
influenced by the conditions in which our knowledge  is  formed.   Therefore
true objectivity is impossible.  Secondly, the view that everything we  know
is dependent on epoch and  cultural  context.   Thirdly,  our  knowledge  is
created and sustained by our social interactions; our  versions  of  reality
become fabricated through everyday life relations.  Fourthly, our  knowledge
of the world we live in affects the way we act.  As Mills  (1959),  said  of
mankind "By the fact of his living he contributes however minutely,  to  the
shaping of his society and to the course of history, even as he is  made  by
society" (Mills, 1959.  p.6).   For  example,  Burr  (2000.  p.5)  uses  the
example of alcoholics; before alcoholism was recognised as an illness,  like
other  addictions,  the  treatment  of  alcoholics  consisted   largely   of
imprisonment.  Knowledge of alcoholism changed the way  society  dealt  with
alcoholics:  now   instead   of   imprisonment,   alcoholics   are   offered
counselling.  One of the main criticisms of  empirical  research,  according
to Parker (1989),  is  that  it  concerns  itself  predominantly  with  data
obtained under artificial conditions and as such cannot be accurate  as  the
act of gathering data itself influences the participant. With  the  adoption
of these general concepts, it is  easy  to  see  how  social  constructivism
comes into  conflict  with  the  more  traditional  empirical,  realist  and
positivist psychology.  However, it may not be the case that the  approaches
of Social Constructivism and Positivism are destined progress down  opposing
pathways; Psychology and science are not incongruent.

Positivism
Positivism can be defined as an approach to psychological enquiry  in  which
it is not possible to go  beyond  the  observable  world.   Therefore,  only
those questions that can be answered by  scientific  methodology  should  be
approached.  Positivism focuses on the objective observation  of  situations
for the purpose of formulating scientific laws.  The  scientific  method  of
positivism is based on the assumption that the human  is  a  complex  system
that  may  be  better  understood  and ... more

psychology anthropology

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