Increasingly, and happily, the new C3 Framework is getting greater attention across Florida, particularly the emphasis on questioning and the integration of disciplinary literacy. Recently, we published a short piece in The Councilor that explores how the C3 Framework applies within the broader NCSS approach towards powerful social studies instruction.
An inquiry model of teaching and learning also offers a number of advantages that reflect both quality pedagogy and effective civic education. It helps students develop strong questions, and understand what makes a quality question. It provides students the opportunity to have a voice in their learning as they choose a question that interests them, as well as the sources that they will use to answer the question while acknowledging the knowledge and lived experience that they bring to the question. As a result of the heavy focus on developing and answering a quality question, it also reinforces some basic skills of research, collaboration, and critical thinking necessary in a
democratic republic. An inquiry model also encourages an interdisciplinary approach, integrating the strands of the social studies and even moving outside to fields such as math, science, and the arts (Chard, 1998; Kaplan, 2002).
The National Council for the Social Studies, recognizing the importance of using a strong inquiry model, has recently presented to its members and the broader social studies community a new framework for thinking about standards, curriculum, and instruction: the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework. This framework (note that nowhere in the document will you find the framework referred to as standards; rather, it is intended as a guide for the creation of standards and curriculum) is intended to encourage students and teachers to engage in inquiry, broaden understanding of the strands of the social studies and take action in areas of civic need. Containing four dimensions that lay out the skills and attitudes that students should develop in
order to best prepare for their lives as citizens, the framework provides a foundation for social studies that may begin at the elementary level and be carried forward all the way through to graduation.