Social Studies in Improving Students’ Map Skills: Teachers’ Opinions
Author/s: Nazlı Gökçe
Year: 2015 Vol: 15 Number: 5
Teaching skills is one of the building blocks of Turkey’s Social Studies Instructional Program. Via skills, information can be effectively transformed into high-level behaviors, that information may become a part of one’s daily life, and that one may make right decisions concerning major issues in his/her life. Map skills are called “spatial perception skills” within Turkey’s Social Studies Instructional Program. Map skills – one of the basic geographical skills – can easily be employed by students to solve a wide variety of problems in their daily lives. The opinions and experience of teachers who have been instructing this course should be taken into consideration in order to decide whether students are successful or not at gaining these skills during their social studies course. As such, this study was conducted using a survey model in accordance with the qualitative research method. Research data were collected via semi-structured interviews held with Social Studies teachers living in Eskisehir, Turkey during April, May, and June of 2011. All data were analyzed via content analysis. The research findings have revealed that students’ map skills are perceived to be weak based by social studies teachers and that there is a disagreement as to the effectiveness of Turkey’s Social Studies Course Instructional Program in equipping students with these skills. Moreover, teachers were found to be of the opinion that not only are students’ opportunities to practice and improve their map skills limited, but that there are a number of problems stemming from students, the Social Studies Course Instructional Program, and the physical infrastructure of schools. For this reason, relevant suggestions have also been included in this study.