New book delves into history, issues of elementary social studies

March 15, 2013

Halvorsen A History of Elementary Social Studies Front Cover

At its core, social studies seek to enforce a democratized citizenry. It embodies social responsibility, and the subject plays a vital role in U.S. classrooms.

But there are challenges for social studies education, including deep divisions among theorists and practitioners, confused goals and cross-purposes. Social studies at the elementary level faces the additional challenges of neglect in the curriculum and criticisms that it lacks sufficient disciplinary rigor.

In A History of Elementary Social Studies: Romance and Reality, assistant professor in the Department of Teacher Education Anne-Lise Halvorsen seeks to answer the question: How did elementary social studies reach its troubled, uncertain state?

By examining the history of pedagogies beginning in the mid-19th century, Halvorsen identifies sources of various issues, and highlights imaginative, alternative approaches that may offer crucial direction to reformers of social studies education.

The volume can be used in courses on the history of education, curriculum studies and curriculum theory, and elementary social studies methods.

Halvorsen is an assistant professor of teacher education specializing in social studies education. Her scholarship includes research on the history of education, social studies at the elementary level, curriculum policy, pre-service teacher education and the integration of social studies and other subject areas.