Turning Points come in all forms, shapes, and sizes. In all the varied and intriguing branches of our Social Studies, we find ourselves focusing on the Turning Points – those moments or events that generated the critical changes. The changes of direction perhaps, or of philosophy or the physical events within a war. But all of our studies have these Turning Points that we make sure are included in our studies. In Psychology, the work of Sigmund Freud must be studied, for it was the turning point in psycho-analysis. In Government, the study of the creation of our Constitution and how it allowed our government, and therefore our nation, to function and prosper. In Economics, the publication of Smith’s Wealth of Nations changing business and government over great space and time. Turning Points are there in the big events, but in the small events as well. They are the critical developments that shape the Social Studies.
Turning Points are also personal and human. There might be that moment when you are standing at a historical site and it hits you that you are standing where Martin Luther King, Jr. was standing when he delivered a particular speech. Or you are on a beach in Normandy and you’re trying to imagine what it was like for the courageous soldiers in those long moments on June 6, 1944. At those points where you are individually struck, where your own perspective on our histories, on our economics, perhaps on your own career are changed…these are your own Turning Points.
And now we are seeing many Turning Points for the instructional world of the Social Studies. While we are facing the increased marginalization of Social Studies throughout public education, we are also seeing some schools lift Social Studies up as they realize the vast potential the Social Studies has in creating interdisciplinary study and to enhance the Common Core success that all schools seek. Here is an opportunity to celebrate and expand the latter and develop ad share strategies for addressing the former. The 44th NERC is an opportunity to recharge our batteries, be inspired by those Turning Points, and perhaps create some Turning Points of each other. We welcome your contributions, input, and enthusiastic participation as we share our kinship in the Social Studies.
Details on 44th NERC