The school bell rings; assembly starts; prayers are said, and classes begin. As the dust settles in the school grounds, like ants going back and forth, the students move in steady streams to their classes. Lessons begin and the first half of the day flashes by. After a hearty lunch, the class once again settles down. Even the usual chatter is less (as with most classes that immediately accompany the lunch hour!). The teacher enters and starts emphatically talking about how World Wars I & II started, how humanity was wasted and how scientific inventions paved the way for mass destruction. Then the students’ eyes slowly start drooping; brains turn to sludge; hands lazily doodle in the book margins, and minds dreamily wander to escape the boredom of social studies!
Social Studies – The Brighter Side
I’m sure most of you would agree with me on how the above scene is played out. This is the lighter side of how this subject is most often viewed as ‘not so important for one’s future’ (by students and their parents likewise) since it does not make an engineer or a doctor out of you. However, the fact remains that this is the most important science of all.
Social studies is like a stew, in the sense that it has so many ingredients in it and is abundantly rich. If we were to slow down for a moment and think how we came to be what we are today, it would all boil down from our past. Without a past, there is no present; without morals, there cannot be justice; without wars, we would not know what peace feels like; without laws, there would be no democracy; and without humanities, we would hardly be humane individuals. This is what we call “our heritage” and this is what Social Studies teach us. It is not just a study of wars, kings & kingdoms, rail routes, states & capitals, rocks & minerals, forts & ruins. In fact, it’s a vivid portrayal of freedom of expression, love of culture, equality, monuments standing for eons as wonders of the world along with life and values, which never cease to be anything but interesting.
For the world to be a better place, its inhabitants should be aware of what is going on around them. In these modern times, the television & newspapers act as our eyes and ears. But to decipher the right from wrong or the sensational from the sane, we need to empower ourselves with knowledge that can only be achieved through a good foundation of social sciences. So, let us all become motivating factors for the present generation and bring to light what social studies truly signify.
Let me conclude by giving you a few interesting facts, which are covered in Social Studies, about our own country:
- India has the largest Postal network in the world with about 1,55,015 post offices.
- Mawsynram, a village in Meghalaya, receives the highest recorded average rainfall in the world.
- At an altitude of 2,444 meters, the Chail Cricket Ground in Himachal Pradesh is the highest in the world.
- In September 2009, India’s ISRO Chandrayaan-1 detected water on the moon for the first time.
- Science day in Switzerland is dedicated to Late Ex-Indian President, APJ Abdul Kalam.
- The most popular board game, ‘Snakes and Ladders’ originated in India.
Social Studies connect students’ thinking with real world contexts from local to global scales. It is a broad category that includes important aspects of the many different parts of the humanities and social sciences.
So, it is important for every person to have a basic understanding of key concepts that have molded the modern society. With the help of the right approach and teaching tools from the professors, social studies can indeed be one of the most enjoyable subjects that kids can learn from in school.