PurposeSocial studies may be taught in relevant and powerful ways regardless of the current barriers and challenges teachers encounter with this subject. While it would be best to give social studies the same importance and time as other subjects, schools today often do not teach social studies or it is taught within an integrated topic. The purpose of this paper is to address current issues regarding integrating social studies in elementary classrooms. The authors then provide one example of an attempt to integrate social studies and mathematics. Finally, the authors conclude with important points to consider while integrating social studies and mathematics using a critical multicultural lens.Design/methodology/approachThe authors engaged in the social studies and mathematics day to support teacher candidates in their practicum experience. In this study, the authors followed the Action Research paradigm; constantly reflect on the practices while preparing elementary school teachers. The authors understand action research as “a continuous process of inquiry, reflection, and evaluation to understand and improve practice” (Goenaga Ruiz de Zuazu, 2016, p. 8). As teacher educators, the authors particularly focused on self-study research, as indicated by Pine (2009), which can be implemented to improve educators’ own teaching to facilitate personal-professional growth.FindingsReflecting on the authors’ experiences and the barriers to teaching social studies, the authors continuously return to discussing the importance of balancing both content areas. In the activities designed by teacher candidates, the authors found they put more emphasis on the mathematics portion, leaving the social studies portion till the end and only if time permitted. In not addressing this situation with them, the authors perpetuated the low status of social studies. The authors needed to permit more time for teacher candidates to allow students to reflect on social and critical issues and promote discussions throughout the lesson, giving social studies equal status to mathematics.Originality/valueThis paper contributes to the teacher education literature and how students planned and implemented a social studies and math day.
Social Studies Research and Practice – Emerald Publishing
Published: Sep 11, 2017
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