Jenny Wells

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College: Education

College of Education Professor is 'Breaking Bad Social Studies'

Published: Mar 12, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 12, 2014) — Kathy Swan, associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Education's Department of Curriculum and Instruction recently did a TED Talk for the Kentucky Department of Education on her framework for social studies education. The talk is titled "Breaking Bad Social Studies" and has made an impact across several states that are finding Swan's team's framework useful.

 

"Social studies has had a bad rap…due to a misperception of what (social studies) is," Swan says in the presentation. "We've got to take ownership of that.  We know that social studies is much more alive.  It's about knowing, deliberating; it's about being challenged; it's controversial and global.  Students should be investigating in order to understand that social studies is real and impacts everday life." 

 

A video of Swan's presentation is available at http://media.education.ky.gov/video1/On-Demand2014/Social_Studies_C3_2-18-2014.mp4

 

The College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies states that its purpose is to provide states with "voluntary guidance for upgrading existing social studies standards" and to "support states in creating standards that prepare young people for effective and successful participation in college, careers, and civic life."  The project was initiated by the Social Studies Assessment, Curriculum, and Instruction collaborative of the Council of Chief State School Officers in 2010 and is published by the National Council for the Social Studies.

 

Since that time, Swan has presented the framework all over the country, encouraging states to consider using C3 in their districts. She and her team emphasize that this is not another set of Common Core standards, but rather a framework to guide states as they seek to upgrade existing state standards to align with the Common Core.  

 

"I think the greatest contribution of the C3 Framework is the addition of civic readiness to the national conversation around student preparedness for college and career," Swan said. "Instead of narrowing the purposes of K-12 education, the C3 Framework reminds educators of this essential mission by emphasizing the necessary skills that are critical to becoming active and engaged citizens. Critical thinking, collaboration and inquiry skills within the C3 offer a new vision to enhance the teaching of civics, economics, geography, and history from kindergarten to high school."

 

As project director, Swan has worked with representatives from 23 state education agencies, 15 professional organizations, 17 writers, 50 teachers, 40+ curricular and business partners, and others.

 

Sandra Day O'Connor, former U.S. Supreme Court Justice, has endorsed the project.

 

“Knowledge of our system of government and rights and responsibilities as citizens is not passed down through the gene pool, it must be taught," O'Connor said. "The ‘College, Career and Civic Life’ Framework will help each state improve civic learning for all students.”  

  

The full document is available online, free of charge.

 

Swan has been at the UK College of Education since 2004.  A former social studies teacher, she researches ways of effectively integrating technology into the K-12 social studies classroom, including documentary making. She is a four time recipient of the National Technology Leadership Award in Social Studies Education co-sponsored by the College and University Faculty Assembly and the Society of Technology and Teacher Education.

 

Her research has appeared in Theory and Research in Social Education, International Journal of Social Education, Social Education, and Journal of Research on Technology in Education.  She has co-authored the book "And Action! Doing Documentaries in the Social Studies Classroom" and children’s series "Thinking Like A Citizen."  She is also the advisor for the Social Studies Assessment, Curriculum and Assessment Collaborative at the Chief Council of State School Officers and is the co-editor of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education — Social Studies.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343; jenny.wells@uky.edu

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