Social Science workshops at Rashtriya Madhyamika Shikshana Abhiyan (RMSA)

The last day of the State Master trainer's Social Science workshop saw an interesting discussion emerging out of the presentation of the local government. One participant made an interesting statement: “yesterday the buzzword was behaviourism, teachers were following it. Today it is constructivism and teachers are following it. Tomorrow it will be something else and teachers will be forced to follow it”. This is a controversial yet powerful statement, where it is evident that unfortunately teachers are bound to the system and barely have a voice in the decision-making process.

This discussion moved on to the role of a teacher in teaching-learning processes and more specifically the role of a social science teacher. The group discussed how caste, class and gender differences play a role in the classroom and what are the ways to deal with these issues. During this discussion teachers realised the need for curriculum to be contextualised and relevant for the students.

The discussion although focussed on local government was still relevant to talk about the larger issues that existed for social science teachers. Civics is probably the only subject through which the teacher can engage the students with issues that are happening around them on a daily basis. As the group working on this topic rightly pointed out, it is not just the processes of local government that need to be taught but more importantly, what kind of citizens must emerge out of this and how can these students engage with civic life and social issues around them. Also teachers realised that social sciences was an area where issues of social justice and equity could be tackled through the curriculum and this gives them a larger responsibility than their maths and science colleagues.