In social studies, images often bring life to the subject. We have all had a teacher that at one point or another forced us to learn all the dates and events and relied so heavily on a textbook that we dreaded lugging home every night only to fall asleep as we attempted to read through the assigned homework. Utilizing images in history and government can bring vitality to a subject that many student find lifeless. It can also bring a deeper level of understanding and awareness of global issues. The ability to emotionally connect students to events in history through images will incite their interest in the topic and create life-long learners. Some of the ways I can see using images in my classroom:
Modern World History: pictures of individuals and events; have students select and organize pictures in an assigned project and display for the rest of the class to view and evaluate. This can be done via Google Presentations. An example can be found on my class website.
Comparative World Government: Raise awareness of global issues through pictures from the front line. Create a simulation based on the picture in which the students need to decide how their assigned country would respond based on the government administration and relationship to the picture/situation.
Economics: Select images that represents consumerism in different countries. How is it different? How is it the same? Does it look differently for a free market and a command economy?
I have always thought that displaying pictures for students in social studies is important for their connection to the discipline. However, in order for them to acquire the 21st century learning skills of critical thinking, communication, and creativity we can allow them to choose and apply the pictures themselves to the content that is being taught. This in-turn will give them ownership of their own learning. I know, I know, giving up control in the classroom…a challenge for us all. But, we will save that for another post.
In the Classroom
This year, I was given the task of teaching sophomores. Not exactly my cup of tea, I honestly prefer the older grades. But, it has proved to be a great adventure. Along with that, the course is new. We have split or world history into Ancient (9th grade) and Modern (10th grade) and I have been charged with designing the Modern World course. As we have just ended our second unit, the students did not do so hot on their test. They are frustrated and do not understand why they are not performing well. Now, there are some that are doing great. So, here is my challenge for them:
Revival from a quote we discussed during the renaissance unit, take ownership of your learning! I will guide you, support you, provide you with information but, it your responsibility to know, understand, evaluate, and create with it! If you rely on me to feed you in the information, I am not going to do it. That would be a disservice to you and your future. Dare to Know! Make USE of your understanding!