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Massachusetts History and Social Science Curriculum Framework

I. The Core Concept of the History and Social Science Framework

The previous vignettes describe a few of the many good practices for teaching and learning in history and social science. By engaging students in the acquisition of skills and methods of learning, study, reasoning, and expression through concentration on important subject- matter content, teachers lead them to become knowledgeable in history, geography, economics, and civics and government.

Core Concept

The goal of a history and social science curriculum is to enable students by systematic study to acquire the knowledge, skill, and judgment to continue to learn for themselves; to participate intelligently, justly, and responsibly in civic life, and in deliberation about local, national, and international issues; and to avail themselves of historical and cultural resources historic sites, museums, parks, libraries, multimedia information sources wherever they may live or travel.

A sound curriculum taught by good teachers in well-managed classrooms gives students the opportunity to understand themselves and others in time and place. In their course of study through the school years, students learn to read, listen, write, frame relevant questions and reasoned arguments, engage in discussion and debate, conduct research, and interpret and present evidence and data.

By becoming skillful and competent in history and social science, students come to understand the foundations, principles, and institutional practices of the United States as a representative democracy and a constitutional republic. They learn traditions and ideals of other nations and cultures. They learn how different people, in many circumstances, used their intelligence and the resources available to them to establish and sustain ways of life for themselves and their posterity.

By learning how others have discovered, identified, and tried to contend with questions of human affairs in their time and place, students have the chance to understand them, to see matters from their points of view. With such insight and understanding, students can conduct their own lives and further learning thoughtfully, knowledgeably, and with the consideration for others that marks responsible citizens.

Last Updated: September 1, 1997
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