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As a prospective teacher of Primary School, I will be required to teach the Subject Social Studies. Social Studies is defined as the study of the interaction of the individual his/her personal and social environment. As a Social Studies teacher one should have many different essential qualities and a well-kept, safe and effective environment for students. As a teacher, not only for Social Studies, a lot of different things are planned in advance, such as the syllabus, new ways to deliver content is explored and gathered by either audio or visual aids, new textbooks are bought or collected from the ministry and equipment’s for effective learning are provided, such as fans or air – condition units, good lighting in classrooms, desks, chairs, whiteboards or blackboards and many more. The standard of a Social Studies teacher can be separated into two categories; general qualities and specific qualities according to Mangal.
In the general quality’s category, there are a lot of different, important things in which a general teacher should contain. Some of the qualities are stated hereafter. Leadership and love for discipline is one of the qualities in which an effective teacher should contain. In this quality, students should have faith and trust in a teacher, this teacher should also motivate students to learn. The teacher’s love for discipline must be clearly demonstrated in the classroom, therefore students will understand and become analytical and compliant and will try to partake in productive exercises. Another quality is feeling of confidence. A teacher must show confidence in a classroom, whether it be by teaching a lesson or just the way the teacher carries about his/herself. Tolerance and patience are also another quality. In this quality, a teacher should have a lot of tolerance and patience and demonstrate it throughout the class by tolerating students’ behaviours and attitudes. A teacher should always be affectionate and sympathetic towards students. An environment of goodwill, love, compassion and cooperation should be created when dealing with pupils. The teacher should not get irritated for minor disagreements or mistakes but instead should try to build a level of trust with his/her students.
An effective teacher should be a hard worker and duty driven, the teacher should show the students that he/she is hardworking and earnest in the classroom. This way students will be able to look up to the teacher as a role model and start trusting the teacher. A teacher which is effective cannot entail impartial behaviour and attitude. Favouritism should not be taking place in classrooms or in schools as it will bring about distrust, jealousy and envy from other students. The teacher should be fair to everyone and not discriminate one student from another. An effective teacher should also be a good communicator. One should be quite clear when speaking. His/her ideas should be taught with ease and efficacy. When a teacher is communication writing notes, drawings sketches on the black/whiteboard, it should be clearly written, neat large enough to see and should be effective for whichever topic is being taught.
As stated above, there are two categories, the general quality and specific quality. In the specific quality category, two points will be made. One principle is the Knowledge of subject area. A Social Studies teacher must have accurate and complete knowledge of the subject content. In Social Studies the content is pulled from various things and subject areas; such as, history, geography, economics and human relationships (families). Another effective quality is the knowledge of current affairs. Social Studies deals with society and human relations. Society is never fixed, it is always changing and progressing into better things. A Social Studies teacher should therefore be up to date with all the current headlines, problems and relationship issues in which society is facing. Some other essential qualities of an effective teacher are as follows. It was stated that teachers with high verbal knowledge taught students which gained higher marks on tests rather than teachers with lower or limited verbal skills. Teachers with better verbal abilities can share knowledge more freely and accurately and can have clear communication as stated above. A teacher with previous pedagogical knowledge had a positive effect on student achievement. It was said that when the content area is previously prepared, teachers find it easier to deliver the content and it is delivered in a more sequential way.
Effective teachers also contain higher subject content knowledge which allows them to ask higher level questions, involve/engage students in the lesson and permit more student – centred activities such as group work. When dealing with group activities though, one should be careful that the number of members in a group is not too large, because when groups are too large there tend to be a lot of controversies and idling of students and also some students refuse to do the work and therefore the workload is placed on one student. There should be a minimum of four students and a maximum of six students in a group. Instructional and managemental processes are keys to effectiveness, but it is also about the teacher’s social and emotional behaviour as well as affective characteristics. Some characteristics of an effective Social Studies classroom are stated below. Effective Social Studies classrooms are active, engaging environments. Participation of pupils in learning experiences which prepares to be dynamic, responsible residents of the country. While participating in exercises in class, they learn about the physical and cultural aspects of the world, past and present of the nation. To ensure students understanding of the concepts, content and skills, an effective classroom blends precision, importance and relationships.
Everyday, a variety of strategies for the learning of different content, skills and activities are done in classrooms which are effective. An effective social – studies class should also have an atmosphere which engages exams and encourages interaction between classmates takes place. In such classroom, while other students are sharing thoughts and ideas, other pupils should listen and show respect, even though it may sound funny, students should refrain from laughing because everyone has their own way and perspective of thinking. Technology and visuals should be used to regain the attention of the students once again in an effective classroom. Such classrooms should be set up to cater for all the different learning styles of the students present in the class. In these types of classrooms, students should be engaged in meaningful discussion, reading and different activities. Students should also feel a sense of understanding and should feel engaged in a classroom, therefore the teacher should relate stuff and content to personal experiences and should also build on the students previous knowledge.
As a Social Studies teacher, I would try to incorporate all the techniques and strategies mentioned above in my classroom and lesson activities. I would have creative charts and posters stuck up around the classroom so students can have a look at them during their breaks such as lunch and recess. While consistently looking at the charts and posters around the class, students would learn the contents from the posters. These charts and posters should be colourful, it should have meaning and should be interesting. It should also have visuals, such as pictures related to the content so that it would not be boring. All in all, an effective Social Studies classroom should include group activities, technology, visual aids, different methods should be used to teach to cater for different learning styles, students in this classroom should develop a level of respect, meaningful reading should be taking place and a lot more different exercises should be carried out. An effective teacher should also build on previous knowledge, one should have full knowledge of the subject, knowledge of current affairs and much more which was stated above and as a Social Studies teacher I would carry out all of the aforementioned.
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