An Evaluation of the Instruction of Generalization in Elementary School Social Studies Program

Mükerrem Akbulut Tas, Özden Demir


Generalizations are important content materials that should be instructed in the Social Studies program. The instruction of generalizations and the causal relationships emphasized in generalizations are important for students to have meaningful learning experiences and to gain causal reasoning and critical thinking skills. Social Studies program emphasizes the acquisition of creating scientific generalization skill as a fundamental skill to be instructed directly, and the importance of generalization instruction is highlighted. Therefore, this study is important in that it draws attention to the importance of teaching generalization and creates basis for the future research in the field. In this regard, it aims at evaluating the instruction of the generalizations in the “Our Country and the World” unit in Social Studies program for 6th grades in Primary School. In line with this general purpose, the instruction of the generalizations in the unit was analyzed qualitatively. The study was conducted with three social studies teachers working in three different schools located in Seyhan, Adana. The data were collected through the observation technique with a view to obtaining in depth data about the instruction of generalization in social studies lesson. Semi-structured observation form, prepared in the light of the generalization content elements, was used as the data collection tool. These content elements consisted of four aspects: generalization statement, concepts related to generalization, cause-effect relationships between concepts, and facts about generalization.In addition to observation, document analysis was conducted with a view to supporting results and strengthening the implications. The documentary analysis was performed based on the generalizations and previously identified elements about the generalizations in the scope of the six topics in the “Our Country and the World” unit. The data collected from the observations were analyzed using descriptive analysis techniques. The content elements of generalization were used as themes creating conceptual framework. The data was analyzed taking into account these themes. The reliability was enhanced by the separate calculation of the coder reliability for the analysis of the generalizations in the units and the observation data. According to the result of the study, it can be suggested that three teachers carried out the instruction of the generalizations in the unit by sticking to course book. Overall, the generalizations were expressed verbally in the form of suggestion by the teachers. Even though the generalizations were in the course book, three teachers were observed that they did not explain them in the classroom. For the sake of carrying out the instruction the generalizations, it can be said that the participants did not do any content analysis. Instead, they carried out their instructions considering the presentation order of the information and the subjects in the course book. Besides, it was occurred that the content arrangement of the course book was not in the appropriate for the teachers to carry out the instruction of the generalization. Participants stated the cause-effect relationship between the generalization concepts by using quoted speech or question-answer methods such as why? How come? What are the reasons according to you? Except this, on behalf of teaching or explaining the cause-effect relationships, no other activity was carried out. Additionally, with regard to some of the generalizations employed in the classroom, it was observed that cause-effect relationship was not explained or contrarily with regard to the generalizations which were not mentioned in the classroom, it was observed that the cause-effect relationship was explained. In the conclusion of the study, it was realized that there were generalization statements in the relevant parts of the unit in the course book but there were not any information which explain the cause-effect relationship between the concepts in the generalizations. In the result part of the research, it was found that the participants did not show exactly the relationship of the generalizations and the factual information in the same subject. In conclusion, according to the findings gathered from the study it can be asserted that even though there were a lot of generalization statements in the unit, three teachers did not do any content arrangements concerning to generalization instruction and they preferred quoting exactly the same information in the course book. In the same manner, it can be asserted that the information in the Social Studies course book was not arranged to carry out generalization instruction and although there were generalization statements, there was not any qualified information that can cause gaining those generalization information and the relationship of fact, concept and generalization was not set up in the proper way. In line with the results of the study, teachers can be trained on the generalization instruction models focusing on application. Besides, visual reminders such as schemes and diagrams aiming at creating generalizations and causal relationships can be included both in course books and in the teaching process. Lastly, teachers can make use of different techniques apart from question and answer so as to teach and create generalizations more effectively. In order to be able to generalize the results of the study, this issue can be examined on a larger group of participants. Alternatively, instruction of generalization can be analyzed in a detailed way through problem solving studies such as action research.


genelleme, genelleme ögretimi, sosyal bilgiler dersi, ilkögretim ögrencileri

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