Study on the First Appearance of Social Studies in the Elementary School Program in Turkey

  •  Ramazan Alabaş    


This article describes the nature of the Social Studies program taught in the form of a class in Turkey. We use the 1968 elementary school program, where social studies were mentioned for the first time in an official program. For this purpose, we formally explained the interpretation of the concept of social studies for the first time in elementary school programs by using a document analysis showing what social studies are, where they stand in the program, what they consist of, and what the pedagogical understanding regarding Social Studies teaching and education processes is. The study used document analysis, a qualitative research method, to analyze data collected from the 1968 elementary school program, which is a primary source. Moreover, we created categories in line with the questions posed in this project and interpreted the data accordingly.

Results reveal that Social Studies teaching began as a separate class at elementary schools in 1968 and the nature of social studies is clouded with the pedagogical concern that 9–10-year-old individuals could comprehend teaching topics only with an interdisciplinary approach. When Social Studies classes first appeared in elementary schools in Turkey, individuals’ needs and involvement with the environment was emphasized, focusing on subject and citizenship. Remarkably, the methods, techniques, and resources to be used in teaching the classes were diverse. It is observed that the Social Studies class embodied the goals of becoming patriotic, economically productive, and socially harmonic individuals.

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