Any proposed changes to the curriculum should be responsive to the needs of and desired outcomes for students, he said, and should also consider the practical constraints, such as limited time in the school day, that face stakeholders.With the understanding that comes from listening to parents and educators, the reasons for teaching SBS in K-12 can be better articulated, Lupia said.For example, he said, “we have a traveling museum exhibit on human biological variation and its cultural constructs called ‘Race, Are We So Different? Increasing the teaching of anthropology in K-12 education faces some practical challenges, Liebow said.
Roder suggested that people’s perception that there are more well-paying jobs related to computer science and mathematics compared to SBS may be partly driven by “a very literal definition of careers you can have if you study social sciences,” she said.To that end, roundtable member Sheri Roder presented survey research that compared public knowledge Suggested Citation:"The Social and Behavioral Sciences in K-12 Education: Past, Present, and Future: Proceedings of a Workshop--in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. When survey respondents were asked about their thoughts and feelings about science in an open-ended way, people spoke spontaneously about natural science and connected their ideas to some larger meaning.When asked about social science, respondents’ thoughts were less clear, Roder said.Participants included representatives of SBS organizations, roundtable members, and advisory committee members and staff of the National Academies’ Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education.To provide context for the day’s discussions, roundtable chair Arthur Lupia noted that in developing a strategy for increasing the presence of SBS in K-12, more focus is essential on the required, practical constraints, and goals of stakeholders rather than on the interests and goals of the SBS community.Leaders from professional organizations of psychology, sociology, economics and anthropology shared perspectives on teaching their disciplines across the K-12 curriculum that included their rationales, goals, challenges, successes, standards, and approaches.Edward Liebow, executive director of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), said that AAA believes anthropology education helps to prepare students for global citizenship by increasing cross-cultural awareness and sensitivity and helps them develop critical thinking skills.Respondents with SBS in their own educational backgrounds saw SBS as more important to education than those without such backgrounds. Public Perceptions of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. Presented at Teaching the Social and Behavioral Sciences: Past, Present, and Future. Suggested Citation:"The Social and Behavioral Sciences in K-12 Education: Past, Present, and Future: Proceedings of a Workshop--in Brief." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Roder said these preliminary results offer a starting point for exploring public perceptions of SBS in greater depth and considering their implications for K-12 education.Figure 1 Public perceptions about when a person’s education subjects should be introduced. Potential next steps include increasing public awareness of the many jobs, including well-paying ones, to which SBS degrees can lead and sharing stories that convey the common ground of social and behavioral sciences and their relevance to society and people’s everyday lives.To better understand contemporary efforts and to build upon earlier National Academies efforts to explore the presence of SBS in K-12 education, the Roundtable on the Communication and Use of the Social and Behavioral Sciences of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a meeting on November 17, 2016.The event brought together representatives of leading SBS organizations and leaders in science and social studies education to explore common interests in K-12 education and consider opportunities to work together to achieve shared goals.