Pedagogy and Content Knowledge of History and Political Science

This course will deal with the pedagogy of Social Studies and the contribution of two academic disciplines, History and Political Science, respectively, to it at various stages of the curriculum, with a focus at lower elementary, upper elementary and high school levels.

The MA Education programme intends to bring out graduates who can both think about and effectively engage at various levels with educational issues. This would call for the graduates to have, among other things, some proficiency and depth in curricular and pedagogic aspects of certain school subject areas. The present course is part of a set of four courses in one such subject area — Social Studies. The other three courses on Social Studies are: Knowledge and Curriculum in Social Studies, Pedagogy and Content Knowledge of Sociology, Economics and Geography and Curricular Material Development in Social Studies. In this document Social Studies refers to what is variously known as Social Science, Social Studies and Environmental Studies in different parts of our country.

Social Studies as a school subject draws from several academic disciplines, which are
expressed as integrated cultural narratives at younger ages, gradually separating into
different disciplines at higher ages. These may be called Environmental Studies in the lower
grades and Social Science or Social Studies at the higher grades. This present course will deal with the pedagogy of Social Studies and the contribution of two academic disciplines, History and Political Science, respectively, to it at various stages of the curriculum, with a focus at lower elementary, upper elementary and high school levels. It will run alongside another course in the same semester that will teach about the characteristics of Social Studies as a form of knowledge and various school curricular forms that they have taken. The present course will introduce students to the basic elements of pedagogy and assessment in Social Studies through examples of some important curricular areas that draw from History and Political Science. This will introduce them to facets of teaching school subjects informed by these two disciplines and will also serve to prepare students for the courses of the subsequent semesters.

The two disciplines of History and Political Science are perhaps the most closely connected
amongst the constituent disciplines of Social Studies. That is why they have been chosen to
be kept together in this course. The present course will focus on the key themes of democracy, nationalism and the state and build inter-connected disciplinary ways of understanding them. These themes appear deceptively simple but teaching them in even the youngest school years calls for a good conceptual grasp lest widely held misinterpretations get reproduced in the classroom. The course will therefore endeavour to provide that required understanding of content knowledge as well as equip students with active and reflective ways of teaching these particular topics. In the subsequent semester students will take up content knowledge and pedagogic dimensions of Sociology, Economics and Geography in Social Studies as well as learn about the development of curricular materials and get more opportunities to do some actual teaching.

Students will be introduced to basic pedagogic aspects of teaching Social Studies in lower
elementary, upper elementary and high schools, through the instances of History and
Political Science. The main standpoint taken would be that of a teacher. The basic themes
and ideas of teaching and learning established in the core courses would be built upon here. The most common patterns of Indian teaching of Social Studies would be discussed and it would be emphasized that students go beyond the excessive focus on rote-learning which is common in our region. Teaching the Social Studies should encourage participation in the classroom and build concepts, narratives, practices, values and dispositions that are put into active use.

Students would learn in the unit on History about some of its key themes and about ways of teaching them. This includes the rise of states and their transformation, the state’s historical role in regulating the market and society, the transition to modernity, nationalism, decolonization and the freedom struggle, and so on. They would be demonstrated appropriate teaching methods and then will themselves build lesson plans and try out teaching them. Examples would be used from the integrated approach seen in EVS in lower elementary classes as well as in the specialized approach seen in upper elementary classes and high school. The historical method, based on facts and their interpretation, and ways to locate issues in space and time, is an integral part of social studies knowledge. The way history is constructed, the nature and meaning and evidence, the use of historical method in analyzing opinions and arguments, will be taught to students.

The unit on Political Science will emphasize the issues of social justice, democracy and
universal human rights which lie at the heart of Social Studies. It is designed to help students think through some of the main concepts underlying the study of politics. It will integrate a normative and empirical understanding of politics in general and Indian politics in particular. While the readings speak directly to the Indian political experience, many are also explicitly concerned with political theory (models of democracy, ideas of justice etc). They deal with issues that underpin much of the Social Studies.