Integrating Global Education into Middle School Social Studies Classes

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Middle school education is often deemed a period of transition from childhood into young adulthood where social outlets and influence are of increasing importance. It is a unique age group, one that often invokes statements from adults of: “You teach in middle school? How can you do that?” It is a difficult age, one with numerous challenges for the individual as the child tries to find his or her place in the upcoming adult world. According to the National Council for the Social Studies or NCSS, almost 50% of 10 through 17 year olds are at risk for behaviors such as failure, drugs and violence (NCSS, 1991). A student’s experiences during this time will shape and mold the adult that they will become. Children spend more time in school at…show more content…
However, social studies contains a mixture of numerous different disciplines including history, geography, economics, government, anthropology, psychology and many more. The purpose of this field is to prepare students to be good citizens (Nelson, 2001). According to NCSS (1991), the overarching goals of middle school social studies are four specific goals. First, students are to develop a sense of identity and who they are. The second and third goals suggest that students develop an understanding of right versus wrong as well as a concern for other individuals. Finally, NCSS suggests that middle school social studies helps students to develop a global outlook. This global outlook can be achieved in middle school by addressing the following topics: change, culture, economic systems, equality and interdependence. This is accomplished by looking to the world cultures of Latin America, Asia and Africa in the sixth and seventh grades and United States history in the eighth grade. NCSS also suggests numerous instructional methods for reaching the above goals such as: journals, research, performances, portfolios, role-playing, interviews, debates, cooperative learning, guest speakers, global service projects and international pen-pals (NCSS, 1991). In fact, NCSS finds global education of such importance that the society has issued a position statement on global education within the classroom. NCSS supports global education
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