Local Community Studies In Social Studies Course: An Action Research

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Abstract


Social Studies can be defined as a€œbonding process based on verification with social reality and dynamic information obtained as a result of this processa€. In this context, it is essential to unify the Social Studies course with the real life and to benefit from the society in teaching-learning process in order to enable the learned information to be applied in the real life. In the Social Studies course, students should encounter with the real life itself. Thus, students can produce multidimensional alternative solutions for the cases they encounter and they can explain the best solution with justifications. Considering these arguments, it can be claimed that involving the subjects and studies related to the society and near environment in the Social Studies courses increases the effectiveness of Social Studies teaching. Local community studies, which are associated with the Social Studies program by means of a detailed and good plan, can draw students' attention and thus permanent learning can occur. In this sense, teachers should benefit from the local community studies in the Social Studies course which reflects the real life.
The aim of this study is to determine how local community studies will be applied in Social Studies course in the primary education schools. In line with this aim, the following research questions were addressed:
1. How can the activities of
a. benefitting from institutions and organizations in local communities
b. benefitting from people in local communities
c. using Internet and library sources
d. benefitting from special days and current events
which are carried out in the Social Studies course taught with local community studies, be arranged?
2. Do the local community studies help the students determine the problems in their environments and find out the solutions for these problems?
3. What are the students' opinions about the Social Studies course taught with local community studies ?
4. Does the Social Studies course taught with the local community studies change the students' attitude towards the Social Studies course?
The study was conducted with 13 students attending to 5/A in Eskişehir/Alpu Ertugrulgazi Primary School in the spring term of 2008-2009 academic years. Training in the present study was given to all students in the class while three students in the class were selected as the focus of the study. For this study, the local community studies were applied in the Social Studies course for 11 weeks between 23 March 2009 and 03 June 2009 within the context of a€œThe Ones Working for the Societya€ and a€œOne Country, One Flaga€ units. The data of the study were collected with different data collection tools, such as personal information form, attitude scale, video records, semi-structured interviews, document analysis, students diaries and researcher diary. The data collected from semi-structured interviews, student and researcher diaries were analyzed through descriptive analysis while video records were examined with macro and micro analyses.
The findings of the study were interpreted on the basis of the research questions, in this line; the conclusion and suggestions were written. The conclusions drawn considering the findings and the suggestions offered in the light of the conclusions were as follows:
It is essential to design and develop activities within the context of benefitting from the institutions and organizations in the local community; benefitting from the people in the local community; using Internet and library sources; benefitting from special days and current events, besides the participation to local community studies should be arranged systematically. Moreover, to benefit from the institutions and organizations in the local communities, some activities such as organizing field trips or inviting local managers of the institutions and organizations can be carried out. The teachers can implement the activities such as inviting source person, verbal history, arranging history exhibition and activities with parents in order to enable the students benefit from the people in local community. It is necessary to design the activities for benefitting from Internet and library sources. Public library, school and class libraries should be enriched; moreover, any technical deficiencies in the information technologies classes should be made up. Additionally, the special days such as national holidays and local independence days should be utilized. The students should be encouraged to relate the current events with the Social Studies course. The students should determine a problem in their environment and they should be supported to find out a solution for this problem. The teacher's role in the teaching process is to a€˜guide', besides, the teacher should have roles to communicate with the source person before the activities, inform the source people about the aim of the study, guide the students and encourage the students.
According to the findings from a€œSocial Studies Course Attitude Scalea€, the students' attitude towards the Social Studies course were changed as positively as a result of the applications of the local community studies in the course.

Keywords


social studies, local community studies, action research

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