The Next Generation

The American Historical Association (AHA) recently released a report entitled “The Next Generation of History Teachers: A Challenge to Departments of History at American Colleges and University.” I highly recommend reading it.

As a future teacher, I found it very stimulating, and I agreed with almost everything I read. Among the highlights (at least in my opinion):

“Specialists in history education now describe a vision for lower grades very much in keeping with what happens in our best college classrooms. Content and pedagogy are fused. Students actively engage the substance of history by doing history: analyzing primary sources, juxtaposing perspectives, exploring the reasons some historical accounts seem more compelling at some times than at others.”

“As a result, we believe that departments need to create new opportunities for the people in our classes to begin thinking like history teachers as well as history students. They need to be exposed to historiographical thinking sooner rather than later, explicitly defined and carefully elaborated.”

Both of these are exactly in line with my teaching philosophy. In fact, I’m not sure I could have worded it any better myself.

Some of the practical suggestions offered include “special classes for future teachers” and “department workshops dedicated to teaching.” Both of these I think would be extremely helpful for undergraduate (or even graduate) students. Too often historians (scholars in all fields, I suppose) get a bad rap for being more interested in their research than their teaching. Perhaps this is because they simply have more experience with it. Familiarity breeds comfort.


4 Responses to “The Next Generation”

  1. March 6, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Thank you for visiting and linking to History Is Elementary. I enjoyed looking around your site and plan to link just as soon as I have 20 seconds…..:) I too and a child of the south and I agree with many of the things you discuss in your “first post”. Our history has it’s warts but I wouldn’t want to “own” any other region’s history for anything.

    I strongly agree with the AHA article regarding motivating students to think like historians. I do this constantly with my nine year olds. I constantly ask, “What would a historian think about this? What would a historian do based on this information?” Some of my students are ready for a pipe and tweed jacket with elbow patches……:)

  2. March 7, 2007 at 8:13 am

    I am intrigued by your blog. I study southern labor, btw.

  3. March 13, 2007 at 7:42 am

    Matt–it may be just me but I find it very difficult to read the blog with a black background, esp. in daylight hours. Just a suggestion. JM

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