Facilitating teachers to enquiry in social studies classrooms
Date of Award
Master of Education (M. Ed.)
Institute for Educational Development, Karachi
The aim of Social Studies education is to develop democratic citizens. The current teaching and learning practices in Social Studies classrooms in Pakistani schools are not meeting the aims of Social Studies education due to the transmission mode of teaching. Consequently, it has failed to develop the necessary knowledge, skills and disposition which are prerequisitse for democratic citizenship. The reasons for this state of Social Studies education are: firstly, teachers lack of knowledge about effective approaches of teaching and learning this subject; a and secondly, in the case of teachers' knowledge, use does not fully materialize in the classroom, as in spite of their exposure to the theory, they have little support in converting it into effective practice. This action research project was conducted with two Social Studies teachers teaching the said subject in a private English medium secondary school. The major purpose of this study was to enhance my own understanding and practices of the process of facilitating teachers to use the enquiry strategy in their classrooms, with the aim to develop teachers' knowledge, skills and attitudes, so that the objective of teaching and learning Social Studies could be realized. In the process of facilitating teachers to use the enquiry strategy at their workplace, I employed coaching with the view that it can be an effective strategy, particularly in facilitating experienced teachers' learning. I first introduced the teachers to the theory and process of enquiry strategy by conducting a session on enquiry with them. In the light of the reflections on the session, I further engaged the teachers in joint planning to prepare them to use the enquiry approach. However, I realized that one teacher was dominating the sessions; and furthermore, their needs and realities were distinct. Therefore, from then onwards, I facilitated the teachers individually by engaging each one separately in preparing lessons and supporting them in actualizing the plans. Moreover, I demonstrated to them certain stages and activities, whenever I found the teachers perplexed and confused. Teaching was followed by engaging the teachers in post-lesson discussions, during which I encouraged them to reflect on the process, issues, and critical incidents of the instruction and provided them constructive feedback for further improvement. The study found that the teachers' learning could be enhanced at their workplace by engaging them in planning, asking critical questions, challenging their assumptions and beliefs, supporting them in the real classrooms through demonstration/ modeling, where they are in need, as they used enquiry strategy. Furthermore, engaging teacher's in reflections, discussion, encouraging them to take risks, and providing opportunities to recognize their potential could enhance teachers' knowledge, skills and dispositions to teach Social Studies effectively.
Shah, D. (2008). Facilitating teachers to enquiry in social studies classrooms (Unpublished master's dissertation). Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan.