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Social studies helps students gain the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to become informed global citizens. It gives students the opportunity to explore and understand their own culture and appreciate the part they play in it.

At the heart of the enquiry-based approach to learning is encouraging students to ask questions, develop opinions and draw their own conclusions. Using this approach in social studies allows young learners to become well-adjusted individuals who are able to make a positive contribution to their society at local, national and international levels.

Enquiry-based learning involves the teacher acting as a facilitator and guide and not providing all answers. Teachers encourage students to identify and formulate their own questions and avenues of research. Students also consider practical considerations such as organising collaborative group work and develop their awareness and use of sources of information, such as non-fiction books or suitable web sites on the Internet. Students use these sources to help them answer their own questions and, through thinking and discussion, draw their own conclusions.

What is the enquiry-based approach to social studies?

Enquiry-based learning is founded on the idea that students have questions about the world. This approach allows them to explore these questions whilst developing cross-curricular skills. The learning model continues with students investigating the issues and information surrounding their question. Through these investigations the students construct new knowledge which they then reflect on and discuss. Students then communicate their new knowledge, thoughts and views in a variety of ways.

The direct relevance of the content of social studies to students’ lives makes an enquiry-based approach to learning particularly appropriate.

What are the benefits to this approach?

  • Fosters a sense of curiosity about issues, developments and events in students’ experience at local, national and international levels.
  • Develops critical thinking and skills of evaluation
  • Involves interdisciplinary skills for maths, geography and history
  • Enhances positive personal attributes
  • Assists with English language acquisition in a real-life context

How does Oxford Primary Social Studies facilitate this?

A six-level series of Student Books that provide:

  • Clear learning objectives that help students formulate relevant questions
  • A text that acts as a source of information and a springboard to further research
  • Activities that involve students working individually or in groups to gather information
  • Unit spreads that address the development of specific information-gathering skills such as the interpretation of maps, charts and graphs
  • Activities in which students discuss their discoveries and share their views and opinions
  • Projects where students communicate their findings and share new knowledge

How does Oxford Primary Social Studies support teachers?

The Teacher’s Guide helps teachers prepare medium and long-term plans. The clear structure allows for planning on when each subject area will be addressed, so it can fit in with other curriculum areas as far as possible. It also provides detailed teaching guidance on each unit in the Student’s Books making lesson planning easier.

For more information please contact your local Oxford Education Consultant in the UAE: