22 Jul 2022


Comparison Matrix and Essay: How to Choose the Best Option

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Academic level: University

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The following comparison matrix compares and contrasts the pros and cons of integrated social studies learning, textbook social studies learning, commercially purchased social studies learning and teacher-prepared social studies learning.

Type of Social Studies Learning  Pros  Cons 
Integrated social studies learning 

One teacher can teach both language arts and social studies hence limiting the number of teachers needed. 

The context concept is applied when learning vocabulary 

Students are able to make connections between two different topics hence understand the relation of diverse knowledge. 

The writing skills taught in language classes are applied. 

Students read primary materials using application skills 

The subject looses language art instruction 

Historical fiction used by teachers may fail to adequately cover set objectives 

One teacher may fail to meet all objectives because of inadequate time. 

Integrated learning overloads the curriculum 

Textbook social studies learning 

Subjects and topics are chronologically organized and structured 

Historical facts are well explained and the key objectives are met 

Concepts of civics, history, economics and geography are well covered. 

Visual methods of teaching are used. For example maps, graphs, primary documents and charts. 

The values and experiences covered are middle-class specific 

Most students find textbooks boring 

Memorization is promoted 

The goals and connection between subjects is lost in interpretation 

The content is biased 

Not all objectives are covered because there is too much source information 

There is lack of cultural differentiation between students 

Commercially published social studies learning 

There is a wide variety of selection of learning materials 

Value specific materials are purchased by schools 

The texts have narration and are less informational 

They do not always cover the objectives of the curriculum 

They are profit based rather than learner based 

Teacher prepared social studies learning 

Topics capture learners interests 

They focus on the passion and knowledge of teachers thereby increase credibility of information taught 

The teaching process focuses on the learner specific skills and rate of process of information 

Some students may be left out of the whole learning process 

The scope is narrow 

Often leaves out key objectives 

The teacher can be biased in choosing topics they like 

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Social studies cover subjects such as American history, World History, Civics or Government studies, Geography and Economics. Learners are introduced to the details about all the history that made America what it is today, about the world in transition, the structure of government, the world in spatial terms and about the factors that determine the production of goods and services (Li & Zhao, 2014). Social studies educators need to follow the outlined recommendations and guidelines in the National Standards for Social studies by the National Council for the Social Studies. The discipline itself covers a lot of topics and the topics have a variety of details. 

To be able to teach and cover objectives of the syllabus, a social studies educator can increase efficiency by following the recommended NCSS guidelines. The NCSS feels that learners need to be systematically introduced to a more conceptualized and structured organization from their current random observations, egocentric perception and their personalized experiences (Briggs, 2000) . 

Textbooks and commercial purchased methods of learning chronologically cover the topics and cite examples but are limited to what the author has published and this might not coincide with the learner’s attitudes and experiences. Teachers have to find the most effective method of passing knowledge to students. There are teachers who prefer to research on their own material while there are those who do research add commercially purchased programs to their lessons (Cleaver, 2008) . 

Integrated curricula focus on integrating social studies and language subjects to an education system that in the past put more emphasis on mathematics and science programs. Social studies educators have to enable students understand that social studies is applicable into their daily lives. Every other subject should have a social studies aspect. The problem, however, is how a minimum number of social studies objectives are put into other subjects. This may be due to lack of the intelligent and the comprehensive skill of teachers to integrate these topics effectively and sufficiently (Champman, 2007) . 

The integrated method has the disadvantage of time and the huge number of resources to be used, but it is the most effective method of teaching and engaging learners. It keeps the interest of the learners peaked. Their minds are activated because they are able to relate what they are learning with their day to day life. They are able to derive examples from personal experiences and can easily apply the concepts taught almost concurrently at the moment (Champman, 2007) . 

Teachers, who have learned the art of teaching integrated social studies, develop passion in teaching and are loved by their students. This motivates them and makes teaching and makes learning a bit enjoyable (Guthrie, 2003) . A good relationship between a teacher and a student boosts the overall academic performance of the student. The goals of education are therefore met. 

Textbooks make social studies seem a like a memorization subject and also make it seem very predictable to students. The objectives to learn and apply can be lost in this case. Students find it too cumbersome and boring to read through books and therefore memorize texts just to pass examinations and move up to the next class. After the examinations the concept is forgotten completely and if the subject is not reintroduced in the future years, the student looses the concept completely. Students, therefore, do not fully concentrate their internal understanding in learning social studies. The curriculum design should focus on relevant topics and educators should focus on teaching critical thinking skills and application methods to their students (Cleaver, 2008) . 

Textbooks assume that students have background knowledge about the topic and will therefore give a light explanation which leaves the student unlearned. The gap between the learning objectives and the availability of teaching materials posses a major challenge to teachers. 

Commercially purchased curriculum focuses on the latest learning trends in the education setup. However, the programs constitute insufficient resources in the form of information in comparison to the wide scope of social studies. Teachers who use this program may be limited in terms of resources. They encourage profit making in organizations that distribute them and may therefore not be keen on meeting education objectives. Many ideas, lesson plans and books found online are not credible and do not cover the set curriculum. A lot of information found in these numerous resources on the internet is irrelevant and leads to waste of time and disruption of the learning process (Li & Zhao, 2014) . 

The main challenge for the social educators is the wide variety of materials to use to teach the topics. The scope of the study is also so wide, but time is a limiting factor. The teacher needs to find a way of picking what is relevant to the student, the teacher and the value of the school (Guthrie, 2003) . Contextual information should be the most favored in the criteria of choice. This information should meet the standards outlined by the NCSS. 

The current favored ideology is that of liberty and not conservancy. People accept liberal approaches more willingly. Social studies curriculum aims at meeting the needs of this liberal way of thinking. However, it should be restricted to a certain level to accommodate standard evaluation goals. The curriculum should be more objective and uniform so as to make classroom resources readily available to every stakeholder in the education process. Standard examinations are important because they evaluate the success or failure of the education goals of a nation (Briggs, 2000) . 


Briggs, S. (2000). Integrating the ESL standards into classroom practice: Grades 9-12 Item Details | Grand Canyon University . Gcu.vtls.com . Retrieved 30 March 2016, from http://gcu.vtls.com:3630/lib/item?id=chamo:31403&theme=gcu 

Champman, P. (2007). Promoting emotional and social development in schools: a practical guide Item Details | Grand Canyon University . Gcu.vtls.com . Retrieved 30 March 2016, from http://gcu.vtls.com:3630/lib/item?id=chamo:257709&theme=gcu 

Clever, H. (2008). The integrated children's system: enhancing social work recording and inter agency practice Item Details | Grand Canyon University . Gcu.vtls.com . Retrieved 30 March 2016, from http://gcu.vtls.com:3630/lib/item?id=chamo:212421&theme=gcu 

Guthrie, J. (2003). Encyclopedia of education Item Details | Grand Canyon University . Gcu.vtls.com . Retrieved 30 March 2016, from http://gcu.vtls.com:3630/lib/item?id=chamo:70416&theme=gcu 

Li, M., & Zhao, Y. (2014). Exploring learning and teaching in higher education Item Details| Grand Canyon University . Gcu.vtls.com . Retrieved 30 March 2016, from http://gcu.vtls.com:3630/lib/item?id=chamo:271760&theme=gcu 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 14). Comparison Matrix and Essay: How to Choose the Best Option.


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