The Social Studies Education Department at Manhattanville College prepares undergraduate and graduate students to work with secondary students in middle school or high school as future teachers of grades 5-12. The social studies include several disciplines as its content: history, economics, political science, geography, and anthropology. Grades five and six are added to the traditional secondary 7-12 because our students enjoy the flexibility that dual certification offers for the middle and high school levels.
The Social Studies department recognizes the intellectual and emotional components of teaching as mutually supporting. Teachers have the potential to act as the responsible adults to challenge and support the learning and well being of their students.
Dr. Rick Heckendorn is chair of the Social Studies Education Department. The general approach in Dr. Heckendorn's courses is to put forth the proposition that every teacher has the opportunity to create a classroom community where
each student in the class is involved and participates. This classroom community is founded upon mutual respect and trust. There needs to be emotional and physical safety in order for students' voices to ring out. Each student's success will be more likely to occur if the teacher continually addresses six key components: planning, content, strategies, caring, flexibility, and formative assessment.
Choice is an important part of the Social Studies methods course. Students have options among several presentation opportunities to demonstrate both their knowledge and enthusiasm for the social studies
content. This also serves as an outlet for students personal creativity as they prepare to involve their
own students actively. The varied experiences utilized
in social studies methods courses include: singing original songs, writing and acting out historical dialogues, making floor-sized maps that are kinesthetically appealing, showing visuals to inspire intensive discussion and debate through the use of open-ended questions, and working collaboratively to create station lessons involving a variety of audio and visual materials and computer technology. No one person does it all, but the eyes and ears of all in the classroom are opened and expanded as the creativity of new teachers is unleashed and shared.