The purpose of social studies is to provide students with the knowledge, skills, and understandings required for engaged citizenship in local, provincial, national, and international communities. Students explore connections between themselves and different world cultures (past and present) as well as their connection to the natural environment.
The BC K-12 Social Studies Curriculum offers students the opportunity to build understanding and knowledge from disciplines within the humanities and social sciences, including history, geography, and political science.
Social Studies - Students with Visual Impairments
Students with visual impairments may come to learning in humanities and the social sciences with gaps in foundational concepts resulting from reduced opportunities for incidental learning compared with their peers with typical vision (Ross & Johnson, 2017). The teacher of students with visual impairments will work with classroom and subject-area teachers to address these gaps or misconceptions while providing direct instruction in the knowledge, skills, and tools for accessing social studies (e.g., effective exploration of tactile maps).
Examples of Adaptations for Social Studies
- Collaboration with the O&M Specialist to pre-teach conceptual understandings and the layout of the venue prior to field trips.
- Constructing accessible historical timelines using braille, enlarged, print, and tactile markers.
- Creating accessible multimedia content using YouDescribe to ensure greater access to documentary videos.
Connections to the Expanded Core Curriculum
Knowledge and skill development in the Core and Expanded Core Curricula are mutually reinforcing and together enrich student learning. Below are examples of connections between Social Studies and the ECC.
- Efficient note-taking skills during lectures and whole-class activities across a variety of modalities (e.g., audio recording, notes on a braille notetaker).
- Engaging with tactile and print maps and images using effective strategies for exploring and analyzing graphical content
- Role-playing with peers when learning about the practices of ancient cultures (e.g. acting out events from the Olympics of Ancient Greece).
- Working collaboratively with peers to conduct research on a topic – need to engage research skills with assistive technology to contribute to the group initiative and final product.
- Contacting an art gallery or museum ahead of a class trip to enquire about the accessibility of the experience for guests with visual impairments.
- Learning about the history of the consumer movement and of disability rights, as well as present-day rights and responsibilities under provincial, federal, and international laws and conventions (e.g., the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities).
Resources to Support Instruction
PRCVI Library Catalogue
American Printing House (n.d.). Tactile and Visual Globe.
- The PRCVI Library has several types of tactile globes and atlases. Note: Most globes and atlases are not yet available in the Unified English Braille code.
Edman, P. (1992). Tactile graphics. New York, NY: American Foundation for the Blind.
American Foundation for the Blind (n.d.). Chronology of events in the history of the education of people who are visually impaired. Accessed at: https://www.afb.org/online-library/unseen-minority-0/historical-chronologies/history-education-visually-impaired-people
Arnott, J. (2018, May 31). Tactile maps and teaching map skills. Accessed at: https://www.perkinselearning.org/scout/blog/tactile-maps-and-teaching-maps-skills
Willings, C. (n.d.). Social studies adaptations. Accessed at: https://www.teachingvisuallyimpaired.com/social-studies-adaptations.html
Ross, D. B., & Johnson, N. (2017). Chapter 13: Social Studies. In M. C. Holbrook, T, McCarthy, & C. Kamei-Hannan, (Eds.), Foundations of education Volume 2: Instructional strategies for teaching children and youths with visual impairments (3rd Ed.), (pp. 427-448). New York, NY: AFB Press.