PRACTICAL TEACHING IN SOCIAL SCIENCE

While teaching the various subjects coming under the purview of Social Science, very less emphasis is given for its practical application. If this defect is rectified, we could create interest and curiosity among students in its study. All subjects have their own value and utility and to make use of it in the advancement of one’s career depends upon each individual. Herein lies the role of the teacher as to how to enlighten the students about the usefulness of each subject and the methodology adopted by him/her in doing so. Like in Science, practical lessons in Social Science could be adopted so as to break the monotonous chalk and talk method.

For example while teaching History, commencement of a topic could begin with a story related to the subject and carrying a moral value in it. If the topic is on the Bhakti movement of the 15th century A.D., the story of Kabir being asked by his teacher Ramananda to bring milk for the performance of the death ceremony of Ramananda’s preceptor and the reply given by Kabir that he would look for a dead cow as only the milk of a dead cow would be appropriate for paying obeisance to a dead man could be told. After discussing other aspects of Kabir’s teaching and views on religion, a discussion amongst students could be initiated by the teacher regarding prevailing customs and practices defying rationality and logic. Students should be motivated to participate in discussion and their views and opinion elicited for probable solutions to problems or intricate issues. These types of discussions help students to think in a rational and innovative way and develop presentation and oratory skills.

To create awareness about the cultural heritage of our country, students should be taken to museums, archives, places of worship and historical sites. Later assignments in the form of documenting the above visits will provide impetus to students to visit libraries for doing reference, which not only enhance their knowledge but also develop their reading habits. As they have to put their experience in writing, they will automatically browse through dictionaries and thesaurus, which in turn will help them, develop their vocabulary and writing skills. Organizing skits and dramas highlighting evil effects of dowry, drug abuse, corruption, pollution, illiteracy, etc. will help the students in developing social and general awareness about their society and environment.

Practical aspects of Civic education could be in the form of visits to Court, Jails, Police Station and Hospitals after a briefing about the history of the evolution of these institutions and their working procedures. Viewing the live proceedings of parliamentary

Sessions on television and if possible visit to state legislative assembly or city corporation council when they are in session will make the students aware of the working of various democratic institutions. Creating awareness about traffic rules with participation in actual traffic management and field work in the form of taking census of vehicles passing by; visits to solid waste management units, water purification plants, are excellent form of civic education.

In the study of Geography, practical education could be in the form of organizing trekking whereby awareness about flora and fauna, environmental protection, geology, etc. could be taught. Fieldwork in this aspect could include survey of soil, recording types of trees and plants, various types of livestock and map reading.

In Economics practical lessons can include visit to Regulated Market, Auction centers, Banks, Ports, Stock Exchange, Airport and Railway station. Later assignments like shading the area of a state in which a particular crop is grown, statistics of different crops grown in different parts of India, graphs indicating the fluctuation of prices over a period of time, essay on the hardship faced by the farmers to sell their products, proper utilization of water, etc. could be given to the students.

Projects involving inter disciplinary subjects can be worked in the teaching of Social Science. For example while discussing about inventions and scientific progress made during the renaissance period, the students could be asked to make a list of the various scientific inventions and progress in medical science and how it has changed the lifestyle of the people around the world. Similarly while explaining the achievements of our predecessors in Civil Engineering viz, the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, Town Planning of the Saraswathi-Sindhu Civilization, etc., the students could be asked to document the present day civil structures known for their uniqueness like biggest dam, longest bridge, tallest building, etc. Study of many subjects like Biology, Geography, Sociology, Rural Studies, etc. could be made more effective if more consideration is given to its historical aspects.

Today Television channels like National Geography, History Channel, Animal Planet, Discovery Channel provides excellent audio-visual information pertaining to all that is found in the realm of knowledge. These programs could be recorded and shown to the students, which will have an everlasting impression on their minds and retained in their memory.

Group discussions and Brain Storming sessions should be conducted on a regular basis where a given issue is discussed threadbare and all possible solutions to a problem tried. Futuristic studies should be introduced wherein students are motivated to guess the future course of a political event or socio-economic trend or scientific discoveries which in turn would affect human lifestyle. These types of studies will help students develop imaginative and creative powers. Organizing quiz and debates also play an important role in enhancing the knowledge of the students. Prizes in the form of books create competitive spirit and enthusiasm in them.

Another important assignment, which the students should be encouraged, is to document the memoirs on various topics from senior citizens. The topics could be old recipes, proverbs, rhymes, jokes, customs, medicinal remedies, anecdotes and hilarious events or incidents associated with the introduction of new gadgets or concepts. For instance the reaction of the people when electricity, railways, bus, etc. were first introduced.

Students should be encouraged to bring out a monthly school magazine where their views and opinions could find space. They should be encouraged to contribute jokes, puzzles, poems, stories, etc. in it. Organizing visits to newspaper establishment and the role of the media in a democratic country should be made aware to them.

Today India is in need of Statesmen, Administrators, Media Moguls, Economists, literary and law laureates, philosophers and cultural ambassadors. The void created by the dearth of these intellectuals can only be filled by the efficient study of Social Science.

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