Why is Social Science the Most Hated Subject in School?

When we look around us, or ask the high school students about the subjects they like the least... Chances are- the answer is Social Science.  Somehow Social Science has become equivalent to a boring, uninteresting, dull subject that puts the students to sleep.

In an attempt to find out the root cause of this issue... I stumbled upon a hard hit fact - that most of the Social Science teachers are really not from the right background themselves. No wonder they cannot bring in the beauty and joy of exploring the subject to the students.

So, how does this happen??  How do we end up having teachers who have never studied any component of the subject - History, Political Science, Geography or Economics at their college level??
The answer lies in our education system and existing stereotypes.

"No one should teach who is not in love with teaching.”-- Margaret Elizabeth Sangster

Firstly, there are only a handful of people who take up teaching profession by choice...and these are those good, dedicated teachers whom we look up to.
Second reason- Barring a few exceptions, the remaining population who are good at academics end up taking Science and Mathematics - either by choice, or by parental pressure.  The average ones take up commerce and the last slot humanities... confirming a stereotype- that not so smart and intelligent people take up humanities.

Now, for example, when the commerce graduates, take up teaching as a second option in life (which is a very common phenomena in the southern states of India) they are forced to pursue a degree in education - a B. Ed., as required as per CBSE norms. In almost all the B. Ed. courses available in India, due to some strange reasons, Social Science is the only option that can be taken by anyone- even those who do not have any prior knowledge in the subject.

So what is the net result that we get?  A bunch of Social Science teachers who have a degree in HOW to teach Social Science,  but have zero knowledge in WHAT is to be taught in that. A teacher who is not passionate about the subject can never do justice to it. Students taught by these teachers fail to understand the basic concepts and conclude that the only way to pass in Social Science is rote learning- without even trying to understand.
The domino effect goes on, and we create students who simply hate Social Science, lack interest in exploring the beauty of the past, do not understand the threat of climate change, cannot relate political science with real life situations and do not bother about keeping the surroundings clean.

In this process, we kill a lot of archaeologists, climatologists, social reformers, geologist, environmentalists and many more even before they bloom. We end up creating a generation that thinks  Social Sciences are wastage of time, and being a doctor or an engineer should be the only objective in life.

To change this scenario, we need more teachers who are open to be lifelong learners, who teach for the love of teaching, and not because they are forced to do so; teachers who have a strong grip on both the content and methodology and can justify why Social Science should be an essential part of the curriculum. If that is not achieved, ‘Global warming' will remain just a textbook term, 'Swachchh Bharat' will remain just a slogan, and Social Science will remain just what people say - a boring subject.


Vish Sivaswamy's picture

Right analysis of how Social Science teachers end up as SST.

I would add many are becoming teachers not by choice. While SST has its own challenges, languages have the same challenge. I would dare to add that the science/math faculty encourage poor language skills when they recommend ignoring spelling and grammar while assessing. That is poor education and doesn't help children as they go up.

Thanks Sudeshna. Hope your point is understood better and more children gravitate towards Humanities.

Sudeshna's picture

Thank you sir. Yes, almost all the subjects have the same challenge as many teachers do not see the need to develop their communication skills. For a teacher, imparting the knowledge/skill well is more important than having it.

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