Reading Response: Zarrillo, Chapter 5


Zarrillo does an excellent job giving precise and accurate reasons for integrating multiple facets into social studies, particularly in regards to multiple cultures. My main takeaway from this chapter is that all (or most) traditional social studies curriculums should be expanded to include the perspectives of those from different cultures, and this can be done in a variety of ways. He begins by talking about four main approaches for integrating multiple cultural perspectives, critiquing each as needed. This set the foundation for the rest of his chapter, allowing him to dive into explaining how to make integration effective. He discussed three facets for integration: scope, geographic boundaries, and people. He then moved into presenting multiple ways to help expand one’s perspective, including, using children’s books, using oral histories, and including personal experiences. After explaining several strategies, Zarrillo explains how to adapt a traditional social studies curriculum so it can be multicultural, recognizing that most traditional social studies curriculums do not accomplish this. Zarrillo closes this chapter by taking integration even further, talking about how to incorporate speaking, listening, and the arts into a social studies curriculum.

Helpful Ideas and Examples

  • I really appreciate how Zarrillo provided a brief summary of the four approaches for teaching a multicultural curriculum. I’ve had a few classes where professors have required me to write a lesson plan or do a presentation in which I need to incorporate some cultural aspect. Each time, my lesson/presentation fell in the “contributions approach” method. I knew I wasn’t doing as thorough of a job as I thought, but at that point, I didn’t know how else to change it. Zarrillo’s in-depth study and analysis of the transformation approach is extremely insightful for me, and I have a feeling I will be going back to this chapter when planning my lessons in the future.
  • The Guidelines for Oral History Projects: This was interesting to me! Throughout each of the steps, I could see elements of the 5E lesson plan method. It obviously didn’t match up exactly perfectly, but it matched enough for me to see a correlation.
  • I also really appreciated all the lists of books, both text and trade. While I haven’t had a chance to look at these in-depth yet, this chapter will be a good reference point for my future lessons.

Thoughtful and Authentic Question

What kind of classroom management skills need to be in place in order to effectively “execute” a solid multicultural social studies lesson?


As mentioned earlier, I knew there was somehow a better way to incorporate multicultural elements into a lesson than the “Contributions” approach, but I didn’t know how. This isn’t necessarily an assumption, but it is a pre-conception, and I’m excited to be learning about ways to move past while still building on this pre-conception.

Go Back: Extra Reading: Social Studies Methods


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