How can social studies be used practically?
I have been teaching social studies for over five years now and one thing that astonishes me is how fuzzy students are about why we teach social studies as a subject in schools? When I ask this question in my class, I usually get specific content-focused responses such as: to learn about history and geography, India and the world, other people and cultures, government and politics, or even current events. True, we learn about history, geography, economics, and politics but does this bookish knowledge help one to understand the real world?The answer is YES! Let’s talk about history. What is history? In simple words, it’s our past put up in the present to think about our future. Today the entire world is experiencing a pandemic. Our history says we have experienced this earlier too and yes because of this experience of the past we can figure out our present. Researchers constantly warned us about the second wave and that it would be much deadlier than the first. How did they know about it? How did they manage to make such strong statements? This is because our history specifies so. I have been to 3-4 countries and have noticed that because of globalization, everything is available everywhere. I remember when I was in the United States; the first few days went fine but after a week I was craving my Indian food. We searched for an authentic Indian restaurant to have our lunch. The food acted as water on fire, but it still lacked the same taste that I was used to back at home. That’s when I realized that when I was taught geography in my school, my teacher once told me that our lifestyle, food, and clothing-everything depends on the geography of a place. Today because of Globalization it is possible to get everything everywhere, but one cannot get the same taste, same culture and same lifestyle. Travelling reminded me of another incident. I was traveling from Kolkata to Bangalore. I still remember it was raining heavily and because of some political rally I was late for my flight. I quickly checked my ticket for the closing time for boarding. It was mentioned half an hour before the scheduled time. Somehow, I managed to reach the airport 40 min before the scheduled time. But, as soon as I reached the counter, they said I cannot board as boarding is closed. I remember that day I could only manage to get my flight rescheduled for free because I knew as a consumer what my rights were and if things were to go the legal way the airline had to refund my money back. It was an interesting yet eye opening experience because as a citizen I knew what my rights were and how I can always fight for them. It is rightly said, “THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS IN LIFE ARE USUALLY NOT LEARNED IN THE CLASSROOM.” It is essential for this generation to develop their young minds with thinking ability, innovate & function adequately in society. It is a social science- the science of understanding people’s needs and their unique relationship with art, literature, history, music, work, philosophy, community, technology, and psychology. All the knowledge we have of nature depends upon facts, for without observations and experiments our natural philosophy would only be a science of terms.
By, Madhu Bharatia, SST teacher – Senior School, Ekya ITPL