When Social Studies ceased to form part of the Junior Lyceum Entrance Examinations and later, the End of Primary Benchmark exercise, and before the 2010-11 last scholastic year, the DCMeL took the decision to print the three textbooks AMBJENT SOĊJALI, AMBJENT ĠEOGRAFIKU and AMBJENT STORIKU for the last time. Schools were directed to use the three books as reference books and not as disposable workbooks. Thus the three books were collected by librarians at the end of the scholastic year to be distributed again and used (always as reference books) by this year’s Year 6 students.
As regards Social Studies one has to see the present period as one of transition. Presently the official Year 6 Social Studies syllabus (2006 document) is reduced, not because Social Studies is now considered as less important than it previosuly was, but rather to allow Benchmark processes to get assimilated smoothly especially by the Upper Primary Classes.
What, in the present circumstances, can be regarded as a pedagogically sound approach to the teaching of SOCIAL STUDIES?
All Primary teachers are urged to make ample use of the website/blog at: http://primarysocialstudies.skola.edu.mt; here one can find innumerable relevant teaching resources and ICT interactive games that can aid teachers and students immensely;
the reference books AMBJENT SOCJALI, AMBJENT GEOGRAFIKU and AMBJENT STORIKU can still provide easy and relevant references during SS lessons; I advise the use of normal copybooks to complement the three reference books;
teachers should endorse outdoor FIELDWORK trips as part and parcel of their delivery – examples are available for download on the blog at No 1 above;
a project or two would surely make the subject more interesting and relevant to students; one can recommend powerpoint presentations, research exercises, recording observations and interviews.
One last thing: leaving aside English, Maths and Maltese, Religion and Social Studies are the only two subjects that do not have the service of peripatetic teachers; thus class teachers have sole and full responsibility towards the objectives of these two important subjects.
Tony Pace (Education Officer Primary)