If You Had to Teach It All, How Would You Do It?

How would you organize a high school U.S. history survey course?

That was the question the National History Center and the National History Education Clearinghouse recently asked six people whose professional lives center around history and education.

As part of a roundtable discussion, Lendol Calder (Augustana College, IL), Fiona Halloran (Rowland Hall School, UT), Andrew Johnson (Chicago Academy High School), David Mitchell (Masconoment Regional High School, MA), William White (Williamsburg Foundation, VA), and Valerie Ziegler (Lincoln High School, CA) offered insights on this thorny topic. We invite you to read their essays, comment on them, and join in the dialogue by going to http://teachinghistory.org/issues-and-research/roundtable/24659.

Although each person suggested varying approaches, all felt that instilling the love of history into students’ lives was the most important objective in a survey course. That love, they agreed, creates active citizens, engaged students, and thoughtful young historians. When describing how she organized her high school U.S. history course, Valerie Ziegler wrote, “I structure my yearlong U.S. history course with 3 goals in mind: students do the work of a historian, they envision themselves in the history of this country, and they develop a desire to learn more.” Fiona Halloran concurred, adding that in her class she “invites students to tell [her] about the ideas they found most compelling and their work is therefore brighter, more forceful and more specific.”

The roundtables of the National History Education Clearinghouse are meant to be thought- provoking and to open a public discussion on topics pertinent to the teaching of history from kindergarten through 12th grade. Topics include the role of multiple-choice tests and the roles of university history departments in teacher preparation.  To read all the think pieces for this roundtable and to comment, please click here: http://teachinghistory.org/issues-and-research/roundtable/24659.

The Clearinghouse and its website, TeachingHistory.org, are designed to help K–12 history teachers find resources and materials to improve U.S. history education in the classroom. The Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (CHNM) and its partners, the National History Center, the American Historical Association, and the Stanford History Education Group, created Teachinghistory.org with funding from the U.S. Department of Education. Their goal is to make history content, teaching strategies, resources, and research readily accessible to teachers, administrators, and others interested in history education.

The National History Education Clearinghouse is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s contract number ED-07-CO-0088.