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Design experiences that interest students

For teachers of senior social studies this mechanism highlights that not all students are motivated in the same way and some activities are more engaging than others. Variety of experience makes learning more memorable and increases the likelihood of drawing in a greater numbers of your diverse learners.

How might this look in the social studies classroom?

Through co-constructing, students are given the opportunity to choose the strategy by which to learn. Inquiry based learning, group work and many other teaching strategies lend themselves well to allow students to take responsibility for their learning. Being able to negotiate the criteria for success, and choose the presentation form when conducting a social inquiry allows students to work to their strengths.

Social studies lends itself well to the visiting ‘expert’ to stimulate interest and engagement. This might be the community police contact for boy racers or law-related issues, expectant mums for gender issues or change in the family, a UNICEF representative for globalisation impacts such as child labour or a social justice and human rights issue.

Students bring personal stories to the classroom and these may have rich histories and special significance. This could be investigating a taonga in the students' home situation – be it a story, photo, whakatauki, diary, lock of hair, postcard, or piece of furniture to show the power of association to past lives.

Last updated September 14, 2011