Fostering an Interactive Social Studies Classroom Instruction During a Pandemic: Experience, Practice, and Advice.
This essay expatiates and expounds on the merits and the demerits of two social studies instructional strategies (peer or collaborative learning and discussions) through virtual means in the current Covid-19 global pandemic, and offers eight helpful guidelines in addressing the demerits, for social studies instructors. The merits of virtual collaborative learning and discussions include distance learning, elicitation and extraction, introduction to new virtual technological tools, appreciation of diversity and diverse opinions, and sharing of external resources. The demerits include the fear of large class size, the disconnect in classroom interactions, cultural and socio-cultural differentiations, non-constructive discourses, the preferential syndrome, classroom discussion tardiness, and verbose posts. Eight recommendations are made for instructors which include the use of Voice Threads for audio and video discussions, a synchronous class introduction, responding to peers with minimal or no responses to their posts, assigning chapters of reading to students to present, balancing complimentary remarks with analytical critiques to posts, instructors to work with students to plan alternatives during technological challenges, and a formative and summative assessment of students’ engagement, discussion, and learning experiences.