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Social studies is defined by the Board of Director of the National Council for the social studies as the integrated study of the social sciences and humanities to promote civic competence Within the school program social studies provides coordinated systematic study drawing upon such disciplines as anthropology archeology economics geography history law philosophy political science psychology religion and sociology as well as appropriate content from the humanities mathematics and neutral sciences The primary purpose of social studies is to help young people develop the ability to make informed and reasoned decisions for the public good as citizens of a culturally diverse democratic society in an interdependent world There are two main characteristics of social studies as a field of study First is social studies promoting civic competence the knowledge skill and attitudes of a student needed to assume the office of citizen in our democratic republic The National Council for the Social Studies considers civic competence as a main goal for social studies The NCSS says students who learn these skills in social studies will help shape the future of a democratic society The second characteristic of social studies is the social studies program K-12 integrates knowledge skills and attitudes within and across disciplines A third characteristic is one in which social studies programs help students construct a knowledge base and attitudes drawn from academic disciplines as specialized ways of viewing reality This can be achieved with courses such as history geography political science sociology and language arts English and fine arts Examples from each help students experience concepts reflectively and actively through reading thinking discussing and writing The fourth characteristic of the social studies program is the demonstration of the changing nature of knowledge fostering entirely new and highly integrated approaches to resolving issues of significance to humanity The social studies program should help students gain knowledge of how to know how to apply what they know and how to participate in
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