Contemporary Approaches in Teaching Social Science & Philosophy Subjects

Contemporary Approaches in Teaching Social Science & Philosophy
copyright 2016 by JENSEN DG. MAÑEBOG

SubjectsSocial Science vs. Philosophy

-Philosophy involves a more critical and analytical approach whereas social sciences deal with more of a scientific approach.

-Social sciences adopt a more scientific approach. Philosophy is not necessitated to use the scientific method.
-Philosophy uses the ‘descriptive approach’ (Philosophy of Religion), the ‘prescriptive methodology’ (Ethics), some ‘intuitive speculations’ (Philo of Man/Metaphysics) and the ‘critical/analytical approach’ (Logic).

Both are important:
The functions of Philosophy include:
(1) to better appreciate the meaning and purpose of the human experience – both broadly in the nature of the human condition, as well as within each unique individual (e.g. student), i.e., his self-identity and purpose,
(2) to reveal wisdom, i.e. to better explore and address the “big questions” and meet the challenges in the human condition.

The functions of social science are:
(1) to analyze, explain, and possibly predict human behavior as groups and/or as individuals
(2) to generate and produce new knowledge or factual information.

- both are concerned with human aspects like law, politics, linguistics, economics, and psychology
- both are concerned with human lives and human nature
- both of them use interpretative methodology (that is, the use of text analysis & reflective thinking) to render something meaningful for others.
Perspective of a teacher:
Teaching strategies for both disciplines could overlap.

Some Teachers’ Goals*
- not the specific techniques but may serve as guidelines in selecting teaching strategies

- Stimulate students about the subjects
Help them see that social studies & philosophy are about real people's lives, their relationship to each other and to nature or world
e.g. Hitler was influenced by the philosophy of Nietzsche

- Teach about ‘what matters’
Things that have relevance to present issues and affairs (e.g. Martial Law)
Climate change: its causes, social impacts, and proposals for its mitigation affect even the students

- Bring students’ lives into the subjects
Social studies is not just about famous people, but also about our students and the choices they face every day. Find ways to blend their stories into the topics. Help them see the role that they can play in making society a better place.

- Encourage students to ask questions and seek for answers
Social studies is not only about chronicling events and memorizing dates. It's also about questioning society, searching for patterns, and developing the tools to make the world a better place.

- Make teaching experiential
By "experiential," it means ‘showing’ students the world, not just ‘telling’ them about it. It includes role plays, simulations, and demonstrations that can bring social dynamics alive in the classroom.

- Create a lively, playful academic atmosphere 
The more that students find meaning and joy in the social studies & philosophy subjects, the more vital our professional lives will be and the longer we will likely stay in teaching.

- Surround yourself with the best (and use their ideas in your classroom!)
Connect with teachers whose expertise or passion is about the subject you are teaching. Have informal meetings which are teacher-run, and thus teacher-centered, to provide you all with rich, meaningful professional development.

- Enroll in post-graduate course
Post-graduate classes provide opportunities to share knowledge, reflect on classroom practices, and push yourself and your colleagues to the next level. You will leave classes re-energized and excited about trying new things in your room.

- Engage in educational blogging
Blogging (Web logging): the publication on the Web of personal thoughts and opinions for other netizens to read.
Philosophy: If companies use blogging to promote their products, why can't we, educators, use it as well to promote our lectures and thoughts (e.g. Tips in Getting High Grades in Difficult Subjects; How To Deal with Terror Teachers)
Benefits: (1) It makes our lectures always available to our past, current, and future students--virtually being always there for those who seek for our instructions*. (2) It prepares us for more serious academic tasks like book writing.

Some Teaching Strategies
Three Categories of Current Trends in Teaching
1. Novel* approaches
2. Traditional strategies* with some twists/applications
3. e-learning methods using contemporary technologies

- Philosophy in using various approaches
Albert Einstein defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
If you feel students are not as engaged in your Social Studies or Philosophy lesson as you would like them to be, sometimes the smallest of changes can make a big difference.
The following are some approaches that can be used to make the subjects more interesting and engaging.

- Sentence Completion Exercise*
In your notebook or journal, complete the following sentences.
Topic: Mga Kontemporaryong Isyu: ‘Marcos Burial in the LNMB’
1. If I were Pres. Duterte, I would …
2. If I were VP Robredo, I would …
3. If I were Bongbong Marcos, I would …
4. If I were Kris Aquino, I would …

- Using graphic materials
Refers to using charts, diagrams, maps, pictures, photos, drawings, images, arts, etc.
We live in a visual world, and for many students, seeing a visual image can go far in peaking their interest, conveying important information, or bring a historical topic alive.

New Application: ‘Captioning legendary pictures’:
This example is from the book ‘Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics by Jens Micah De Guzman, Mutya Publishing Inc., 2016:

1. Through Google search engine, look for the webpage “60 Legendary Pictures and Images in Philippine History” in
2. Follow the instructions in the blog. Invite at least five Facebook friends (preferably not from your school) to also write a caption on the picture you have chosen.
3.  Print the picture you selected together with your and your friends’ written captions. Submit the print out to your teacher.
-Bringing in the reinforcements!
Guest speakers can make learning come alive. Find areas where your expertise may be lacking, and invite an expert to come and talk with your students. You may bring in parents and community members.

Modern application: YouTube

- Circle the Sage
The teacher first polls the class to see which students have a special knowledge of atopic. E.g. The teacher may ask who in the class can talk about the Pinatubo eruption and the devastation it caused to Bacolor.
Those students (the sages) stand and spread out in the room. The rest of the students surround the sages. The sages explain what they know while the students listen, ask questions, and take notes.

- Emphatic creative writing
Students can describe their imagined experience as a Katipunero in the ‘Battle of San Juan’ (e.g. taking the role of ‘tagahasa ng bolo ni Bonifacio’), meeting Jose Rizal as a co-passenger in a train in San Fernando, Pampanga station, or being a classmate of Diosdado Macapagal in Lubao.

- Enhancing students’ journalistic skills
You may ask students to write letters (e.g. to Leila De Lima), journal entries, or poetry addressing a topic or theme (e.g. about EJK or the effects of illegal drugs); a eulogy for a prominent person in history (e.g. for Miriam Santiago); an invitation to a key event (e.g. Malolos Convention); a newscast (e.g. on how Ronnie Dayan was caught); a skit or play (e.g. on the possible conversation between Kris & ex-Pres. Noy on Marcos burial); etc.

- Drama
Allowing students to act out key historical people, events, etc., or their interpretations of related themes, can really bring history alive and highlight the “drama” so riddled throughout our past and present.
e.g. Rizal and O-Sei-san

- Assisting students to have knowledge retention
 For example, students can simply fill out a chart with two columns that states, “What I liked” and “What I learned.”

- Experiential Exercises
For deeper understanding of the topic, put students in a situation where they can “experience” similar emotions, thoughts, sensations, etc., as were experienced in the historical topic being studied.
Just an example: When studying ‘militant activism’ in the Philippines, ask students to make simple placards and portray (inside the classroom) what activists do in a protest rally.

- Use Music
Music can now be downloaded in mobile phones. When possible, use period music or songs that are written about a particular event or time period to intrigue students. E.g. When covering the Martial Law, its official music can offer students a glimpse into the feeling and mentality of the time. Likewise, instructing students to write their own song, rap, jingle, opera or musical, etc. can make a fun processing assignment.

- Philosophical chairs
This encourages critical thinking and the consideration of multiple perspectives.
(1) Through a homework reading, provide students with some ‘balanced’ background information (meaning, multiple perspectives are provided) to a controversial issue to be addressed (e.g. Debate topics in

(2) Set up three separate lines of chairs in a three sided square or “U” shape. Label the set of chairs on one side of the room as the ‘agree’ section, the other as the ‘disagree’ section, and the chairs in the middle as the ‘unsure or neutral’ section.
(3) Write a statement or proposition for which students will choose to agree, disagree, or remain undecided. When the activity begins, students will choose their seat in the room based on their current opinion.
(4) The discussion is started by one student stating why they selected their particular position followed by a response from a student on the opposing side. Each time a student speaks, he/she has to summarize the previous speaker before presenting thoughts. (E.g. “I heard Paola say that she believes that same-sex marriage in the Philippines is justified based on one’s inherent freedom to choose, but I disagree. I feel it is not applicable, since freedom has limits…”)
(5) As the conversation continues, students are allowed to change their position. At the conclusion, students should be required to write a position paper.

- Problem Solving
Throw the many ‘what ifs’ in history. (e.g. What if ‘Ninoy Aquino & Imelda Romualdez’ married each other?)
Solve a historical problem (e.g. Should Rizal have stayed in Japan and lived a peaceful life instead of pursuing his fight for democracy?)

- Relevant Analogies
e.g. When studying the Calamba Agrarian trouble, teachers could pass out a memo from school administration stating that due to budget issues, students will have to begin paying a classroom tax of Php 500 per week. As students become emotionally involved in debating this scenario and whether the tax is fair, teachers can then let them know the memo is fictional and compare their response to that of Calamba tenants (including Jose Rizal’s father and brother Paciano) regarding excessive taxation by the Dominican friars.

Create using 1/8 illustration board and simple art materials a campaign slogan or collage promoting the strengths of the Filipino value system.
Make this as your cover Facebook cover photo/design as a way to promote the strength of our culture for about a week. start a conversation about it among your friends. Make a screen shot of your conversation and submit it to your teacher.

- Interactive online ‘debate’/discussion
This example is from the book ‘Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics’ by Jens Micah De Guzman, Mutya Publishing Inc., 2016:
On Nuclear Power Plant:
1. Using the search engine of, look for the article “Nuclear Power as Philippines' Main Source of Electric Energy: Better or Danger?” Read the short article.
2. In the Facebook comment section below, post a meaningful comment (your stand and brief reason on whether or not you favor Nuclear Power in the Philippines.). Use #NuclearPowerPlant #UCSP).
3. Ask at least three friends (preferably professionals or those from other countries) to write a comment on your post. Print screen your post and its conversation thread, print the file, and submit to your teacher.

-Interactive and collaborative e-Learning
Example (from the book ‘Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics by Jens Micah De Guzman, Mutya Publishing Inc., 2016):
E-learning activity on Expressing Filipino Nationalism:
1. Look online for the article “10 Modern Ways to Express Filipino Nationalism” by Read the short article.
2. Read other students’ comments below the web page. You may courteously leave a critique on their comments.
3. Add at least three (3) modern ways to express nationalism using the hash tag #MyWayToExpressFilipinoNationalism.
4. Make a screen shot of your posted/published comments. Print and submit it to your teacher.

- Online Research
Example (from the book ‘Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics by Jens Micah De Guzman, Mutya Publishing Inc., 2016):
1. Using the internet, search for three outstanding Filipino youth leaders.
2. Using short bond paper/s, write their personal background and identify what traits make them hold steadfast to their identity as Filipinos amidst the dynamic nature of youth culture in the world in their respective time.
3. Submit your output to your teacher.
-E-reading assignment with an output
Example (from the book ‘Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics by Jens Micah De Guzman, Mutya Publishing Inc., 2016):
1. Go online to Under the box ‘Subjects’ (left side), click ‘Philippine Studies’. Choose one article among the options (e.g. “10 Funny Things about Pinoy (Filipinos)”) and read it.
2. In the comment section below the web page, write a comment (2-3 sentences) about the article. Use your own hash tag (e.g. #FilipinoCultureIsTheBest).
3. Make a screen shot of your posted/published comment. Submit it to your teacher.
Example (from the book ‘Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics by Jens Micah De Guzman, Mutya Publishing Inc., 2016):
On Deviance:
Think of three (3) common types of student violation in your school. In a whole sheet of yellow paper, discuss each type and identify the relevant theory that would explain each type of violation.

Philippine Heroes as a Reference Group:
1. Go online to Through its search engine (upper right section), look for the entry “Who should be 'the' Philippine National Hero” Read the short article.
2. Share the page on your Facebook account (using #ReferenceGroup #UCSP #Jensenismo) and post a comment about the issue (your stand and reason: e.g. “I believe that Jose Rizal should be ‘the’ Philippine National Hero for he is a worthy model for Filipino students like me.”).
3. Ask at least two friends (not your classmates) to write a comment on your post.
4. Make a screen shot of your conversation thread, print the file, and submit to your teacher.
-Experiential Project
Making a business plan:
Pair up with a classmate. Assuming that each of you has one million pesos for putting up a business (a partnership), make a business plan (as detailed as possible) together. Discuss in front of the class your business plan/proposal.

- Essay writing
In Philosophy….
Write a 10-sentence essay with the title “Does Our Existence Have Meaning Without God?”
- ‘Think-Pair-Share’
1. Write at least 3 ways on how you would help to lessen the cause of global warming:
2. Pair up with a seatmate.
3. Share and discuss your output with your partner. Ask him/her to write a brief comment on your work.

-Pledge Making
Writing a Pledge for Mother Earth (ilagay sa taas)
Example (from the book ‘Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics by Jens Micah De Guzman, Mutya Publishing Inc., 2016):
By writing a short essay, make a solemn promise that you will help to protect the Mother Earth. Discuss your personal ways to curtail your greenhouse gases emissions.

- Two Column Method:
On the class board (blackboard or white board), draw a two-column table. Name the table “The Effects of Facebook among Students.” Name the left column “Positive Effects” and the right column “Negative Effects.” Ask all students to write a pertinent phrase or sentence on either column.

- ‘Lets Play 3 - 2 – 1’:
On a piece of paper, jot down the following:
3 important ideas/issues discussed in the lesson
2 examples or uses of the ideas/information covered in the lecture
1 conclusion about the lesson
-the process of adding games or gamelikeelements to something (as a task) so as to encourage participation
-refers to the incorporation of game elements, like point and reward systems, to tasks as incentives for people to participate.
-about making something potentially tedious into a game. It is effective because it taps into people's natural desires for competition and achievement.
-an essential feature in apps and websites to motivate students to meet personal challenges, like learning new things; tracking one’s progress is fun if it feels like a game.

- Gamification: Automated Fun Quiz Game
Example (from the book ‘Understanding Culture, Society, and Politics by Jens Micah De Guzman, Mutya Publishing Inc., 2016):
E-learning Fun Quiz Game on Philippine Government and Politics:
1. In, look for the entry “Philippine Government and Politics: An E-Learning Fun Quiz Game and Reviewer.”
2. Take the exciting electronic fun quiz game. Share the page on your Twitter/ Facebook account (using hash tags #NATReviewer #UPCATReviewer #UCSP)
3. Make a screen shot of your score, print the file, and submit it to your teacher. Have fun!
More FREE e-learning fun quiz games or reviewers for Social Science subjects:

Free NAT Araling Panlipunan Reviewer for High School-(Students' product)

Free NAT HIGH SCHOOL Araling Panlipunan REVIEWER-(Students' product)

NAT High School Reviewer - Critical Thinking-RT

Free NAT High School Critical Thinking Reviewer-RT2

How to use these in your class:
1. Click the link (above) of the e-quiz topic that you like your students to take (e.g. as a homework). Example: The one about 'Philippine Presidents'
2. ‘Select all’ the URL and copy
3. Paste the URL to your Facebook wall or FB Group and write instructions


Some Conclusions

1. We, teachers, have the noble obligation to improve more in our profession.

2. Even the traditional teaching strategies can be exciting by adding some twists. (Creativity is the key!)

3. Let’s face the truth, e-learning has arrived in our world!

4. DepEd teachers are great!!

Contemporary Approaches in Teaching Social Science & Philosophy; copyright 2016 by JENSEN DG. MAÑEBOG




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