Social science is, in its broadest sense, the study of society and the way in which people conduct themselves and how their way of life impacts the world around us. Social science has many sub disciplines such as economics, history, geography, psychology and sociology etc.
which all tells us about the world beyond our current experience, and can help describe how our society works by looking at the causes of unemployment or what stimulates economic growth, to why and how people vote. In addition to the aforementioned, social science in foundation phase exposes learners to natural science phenomena among many other phenomena’s. Social science in foundation phase enables learners to explore relationships and solve problems in scientific, technological and environmental contexts. The theory of social constructivism was developed by Lev Vygotsky.
Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism rejects the assumption made by Piaget that it was possible to distinguish learning from its social context. Vygotsky argued that cognitivist such as Piaget had failed to notice the essential social nature of language, as such; he asserted that they had failed to comprehend that learning is a collaborative process. Thus according to Vygotsky, “Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level and, later on, on the individual level; first, between people (inter-psychological) and then inside the child (intra-psychological). This applies equally to voluntary attention, to logical memory, and to the formation of concepts. All the higher functions originate as actual relationships between individuals”(Vygotsky, 1978:57).Furthermore, the theory of social constructivism focuses primarily on the social nature of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience and senses, and also put forward for consideration an approach that give learners the opportunity to gain significant experience in terms of searching for patterns, raising their own questions, and constructing their own models.
The theory puts forward the notion that facilitates a community of learners to engage in projects, discussions, and critical thinking. The theory stimulates the development of learners and also encourages them to take on more ownership of the ideas. Thus, social constructivism upholds that knowledge is formulated through social interaction and that it’s also a shared experience rather than an individual experience.
The underlying principle of social constructivism asserts that: 1) all knowledge is formulated and all learning is a process of that formulation. 2) Individuals formulate knowledge as part of a group but each person has their own perspective that they believe is similar to everyone else’s. This perspective remains indistinguishable until it is challenged by someone else’s perspective.
3) Knowledge is content dependent, so it is of utmost importance to base learning in a practical or realistic context. 4) All human learning is formulated in a context where some type of interventional means, tools or signs, are used. Members of a culture may create a tool or sign to solve a problem, but the development of this tool or sign changes their participation within the culture. To adopt a social constructivist approach in teaching social science in the foundation phase requires one to have a social constructivist model which formulates knowledge through the interaction between the teacher and learner.
The role of the teacher in social constructivist approach shifts from being a sole dispenser of knowledge to being a motivator, guide and resourceful person to the learner.In conclusion, we can argue that the primary aspect of social constructivism lies in the role that social interaction and social process play in constructing knowledge. The Social constructivist approach entails that learning is a vigorous process where learners should learn to discover ideas and facts on their own..