National Council for the Social Studies amplifies our collective voice as social studies educators through personal connection, collaboration and a shared mission to improve the teaching and learning of social studies at all levels. Through our collective discourse about social studies at the annual conference, we compel each other to build the knowledge and capacities of students to engage in critical inquiry. As deliberate social studies educators we prepare all students through high quality social studies instruction to be educated and inspired for lifelong, critical inquiry, and to engage in informed, thoughtful action. Our shared aim is to equip students with the knowledge, skills, and dispositions for participatory citizenship in American democracy and our interdependent, global society. To achieve these aims, educators thrive with opportunities to interact with other professionals, to exchange ideas around high-leverage practices in the field, to learn research-informed strategies and practices, and to build a professional network of likeminded colleagues. When creating your conference proposal for the 2019 NCSS A4 Conference in Austin, TX, consider how your proposal addresses one more of the conference themes: Informed Action, Agency, Advocacy, Activism, and Geography/Geographic Inquiry.
Informed action is what good citizens do. Citizenship education, the primary purpose of social studies, is about transforming and engaging. Our notions of citizens and citizenship define how we question, gather evidence, deliberate, learn, interact with others, recognize and respond to issues, formulate conclusions and use this information to act. In today’s information rich culture, being informed is more than being knowledgeable, it is about the ways we create knowledge through critical inquiry and what we do with that knowledge in pursuit of inquiry. Consider these questions: What are our notions of citizenship and are these inclusive? How do these notions compel informed action? What action results from our good work in developing good citizens? What comes of it as citizens? How do people talk about social studies topics, such as citizenship, democracy, capitalism, debt, immigration, race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality environmental issues, and use of public and private spaces? How do we come together to talk about the many ways we talk about these and other social studies topics? How do we act on this knowledge as informed citizens? Social studies education is about preparing enlightened citizens who realize their capacity to take action in educated, compassionate, and compelling ways. It is a journey and critical inquiry maps students’ paths to informed action. Proposals in this area might focus on how we, as social studies educators, teach, empower, and engage students in informed action. Submit a Proposal
Social studies education and youth empowerment enable students to organize sustained, collective efforts to promote change through awareness campaigns and social movements. Young people have been at the forefront of most major social movements in American life. They have brought earnest energy and commitment to political struggles that led to large-scale change, such as the American Civil Rights Movement. Courageous young people throughout history have yelled so loud that it turned the country and the world upside down. Activists today lead marches to call for the protection of children from school violence, challenge the right to an equitable education through our judicial system, advocate for human rights and environmentally conscious decision-making, and demand access promised by the Constitution to civic education and citizenship preparation. When we consider the role of activism in social studies, we seek to understand the aims of our informed action. We ask: For what purpose do we engage in informed action? Acknowledging that all action is driven by purpose, social studies teaches students to exercise the forethought and intentionality of informed action. Activism is a mainstay of contemporary society—protest has been and continues to be form for exercising agency and advocacy. However, for today’s young activists, social media has become a key conduit of unity and form of expression of collective ideas, accurate or not. Social studies knowledge and capacity through critical inquiry enables students to examine activism as an exercise of power, an embodiment of conflicting narratives around difficult topics, and a form of discourse about unresolved issues facing our society, nation and world. Proposals in this area might focus on student activism, the role of critical inquiry in activism, the ways in which social media influences perceptions and movements, and how activism has and continues to be a tool for promoting change around social studies topics. Submit a Proposal
Geographic inquiry is a way to view the world and understand our place and impact on it. Geography seeks to understand where things are and how and why they got there by studying the connections and interactions among people, places and environments. Geography education engages students in global events and processes, giving them tools to become effective citizens and decision makers. To do this, geography draws upon and integrates knowledge of many different social studies disciplines. Geography is the wonderful integrator and intersection of history, the physical sciences, world cultures, economics, and other social sciences. NCGE is emphasizing the integration of geography and geographic tools into other disciplines. We want to show how teachers of social studies and social sciences such as state, U.S. and World History, Economics, and Civics can use geography to help their students better understand current situations and events. Every teacher attending a session will walk away with an activity, lesson plan, resource or strategy that will be useful in teaching his or her students. Presentations with audience interaction, discussions, and interdisciplinary integration are encouraged. Submit a Proposal