Teaching history can vary throughout the world. In some places it is more focused on the experience and the skills acquired through learning history. In other places it is more focused on knowing the material and the history of the nation. Much of the United States curriculum focuses on knowing the history of the nation. The goal is for the students to know the story, know what happened, and why it happened. Young Americans often times have a lot of exposure to historical things. They learn from a young age about Columbus and the Presidents because there are holidays for those people. Children begin learning historical facts from the holidays that are celebrated and from the television shows that they watch. There are many television shows with historical backgrounds that are geared towards young children, like Liberty’s Kids. I think in the United States, a big goal is to get children exposed to history as early as possible.
However, this sometimes does not always work. Sometimes it can cause children to become too overwhelmed with information that they, in turn, start to not like the subject. I think the best way to get children interested in history is to expose them young, but not expose them too much. There has to be a sense of wonder that the children need to satisfy and if facts are constantly being thrown at them that sense of wonder is going to go away. In other countries, the history curriculum focuses more on the experience of history. They involve historical evidence and utilize that in the interpretation of history. This is not to say that the United States does not do that, because they do, it is just at a lesser scale.
In other countries, history seems a lot more personal than it is in the United States. They utilize things the kids may have in their homes or from their relatives to help teach them about history. In the United States, this is not really the norm. The curriculum does not involve a lot of personal connections, which I think with that sort of connection, students will be more interested in learning more about the history of their country. Making things personal almost always gets students engaged and interested in a subject, so I think it would be a really good idea to teach history with more personal connections.
It has been debated for years what the correct way to define citizenship is. This provides a challenge for teachers, specifically social studies teachers. They are the ones tasked with teaching students about being a citizen in society, and what a citizen does. Granted, some of this is taught at the younger ages, but even at the middle and high school level, teachers still have to develop students’ definitions and participations as a citizen. There has been framework suggesting that the three types of citizens are “traditional,” “progressive,” and “advanced,” while another framework suggests there is left and right. However, there is one framework that suggests there are three kinds of citizens.
According to this framework, the three visions of citizenship are the personally responsible citizen, the participatory citizen, and the justice-oriented citizen. A personally responsible citizen acts responsibly in their community. A participatory citizen is an active member of community organizations and/or improvement efforts. A justice-oriented citizen critically assesses social, political, and economic structures to see beyond surface causes. All of these can work independently, but they can also work together to create a responsible and active citizen. They are often seen as mutually exclusive, but they are not necessarily. It is possible that one type of citizen can influence and support another type, or each type can work on its own without the help of the other citizens.
I think teachers should help develop students’ citizenship skills in the best way possible. They should develop what the students naturally go to, while still giving them the resources to be the other types of citizens. I think, within a classroom, teachers should develop all three vision types because they never know what their students gravitate towards. This allows all students to have the chance to develop their skills and become a good citizen. In order to do this, the teacher will need to move beyond the textbook, and will have to help their students develop real world skills. These skills are important because the students can use them in other aspects in their lives, not just in the social studies classroom.
Culturally relevant pedagogy is important in the classroom because it helps the collective group. It urges the collective action grounded in cultural understandings, experiences, and ways of knowing the world. Teachers need to know how to teach, and in the cases of social studies teachers they need to be well-grounded in history and the social sciences. This means they should be able to use a variety of teaching techniques to make sure the students are learning what they need to learn.
Teachers should use culturally relevant social studies when teaching because it helps ground their students in history. The students will get to make their own connections to the material using their own culture as the basis of understanding. Since social studies is one of the least-liked subjects in school, making it culturally relevant can make it more interesting for students and they may end up liking the subject a little bit more. Making social studies culturally relevant also takes it away from being textbook heavy. This is a huge reason why students do not like the subject, they do not get to do the fun activities that other classes get to do. Cultural relevancy allows the teacher to stray away from the textbook and relate things to present day issues or events.
This is also a really good way to involve all students, not just the students who enjoy reading. The subject is so book heavy, that only the students who really enjoy reading seem to be the ones that enjoy the class. But, changing up the curriculum a little makes it so those kids who do not like to read or who have academic struggles can still get a lot out of the class and can still have fun. I like the idea of straying away from the textbook just because I think that is what causes the most boredom with students. I think if a teacher is able to make a subject that is kind of boring a little bit more fun for everyone, more and more students would enjoy the class and participate more.
I found this reading interesting because it focused on who students and adults see as the most famous people in American history. Many people listed Martin Luther King, Jr., Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman, all three of which were key in the fight for racial equality. These were the top three most famous Americans on many students lists. When it came to differences between student responses, the biggest difference came because of race. White students listed these three names but at a smaller percentage than black students. White students tended to list a combination of black and white figures, while black students tended to list mostly black figures. I thought it was interesting that the authors asked students who the most famous Americans in history were with the restriction of no presidents or wives of presidents. They knew that if they would not have placed this restriction, students would list only presidents as the famous Americans. They wanted to see who students thought were famous without including presidents. They gave students ten blank lines and told them to write down who they thought was important to American history, then asked them to specifically list women. By doing this they found that if students had women listed in the first part of the list, they would often erase the women and place them only in the second part of the list.
Some of the people that the students listed as being influential are not always talked about in textbooks. This is seen with Harriet Tubman. Many students listed her as being an important figure, but even the most widely used textbook, American Pageant, did not mention her until the fourth edition, with only two sentences written about her. I think a teacher could use a questionnaire like this in their classroom to gauge what students know and what they think is important in history. Teachers can then use this information to shape their lessons, and utilize things other than textbooks to teach their students about important figures in American history because not every important figure is talked about in a book.
One of the main jobs of a teacher is to create a classroom where students feel safe to question, think, and learn. In order to do this, a teacher should consider how they should best help students learn by considering how the students best learn and how to make them comfortable in the classroom. A teacher’s own memories of school can serve as a guide to helping students, but it should not be the main driving force behind decision making. Teachers should tap into students’ prior knowledge and help them unlearn the misconceptions they may have so they can learn the proper information. All of these help students feel more comfortable in the classroom. If students feel comfortable in their classroom, they are more likely to pay attention and learn the material.
Teachers should also be aware of their students different learning preferences. The term learning preferences does not imply that students will learn the material differently, but rather that students may prefer one type of instruction over another. A teacher can tap into multiple intelligences to help teach their students. There are eight intelligences according to this theory. These intelligences are linguistic/verbal, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily kinesthetic, spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. The key is to have instruction that utilizes a variety of these intelligences to make sure the majority of the students have their learning preference represented. A big challenge for teachers is to teach with a wide variety of styles and not solely using the style they prefer most.
Teachers also have to motivate their students to complete their work. There is intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation involves getting students interested in a subject and making them feel that what they are doing is worthwhile and will help them in the long run. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation involves giving students some sort of reward for completing work or getting good grades. Extrinsic motivation can lead to students only completing work to get the reward instead of completing the work to learn the material. So, it is best to use a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation to make sure the students do not rely solely on rewards. If there is a combination of the two motivation styles, the students will start to learn the material and want to learn it instead of just completing work for the sake of a reward or getting it done.
Targets and assessments are key in a teacher’s classroom. A teacher must utilize targets to set goals for what they want their students to learn and how they want them to learn it. Targets help teachers specify how and when they can help students develop skills and understand important course content. When creating targets, it is best to use sentence starters such as “I can” or “I will” which helps students better understand what they need to learn. There are two main types of targets: long-term and short-term. Long-term targets are to be achieved over the course of a longer unit, semester, or the entire year. Short-term targets are to be achieved in a shorter amount of time such as during an activity or after a few classes. In order to keep targets focused, teachers should use the ABCD approach, which stands for Audience and Behavior, Condition, and Degree.
Assessments are also very important in the classroom. They tell teachers where their students are and what they still have to learn. Assessments should be developed at the beginning of a lesson and the lesson is designed around the assessment. This way the lesson is designed to make sure the students are learning everything they need to learn for the assessment. There are three types of assessments that should be used at different points in the learning process: diagnostic, formative, and summative. Diagnostic assessments are used at the beginning to gauge what students already know. Formative assessments are used continually throughout the learning process in order to monitor student learning. Summative assessments are used at the end to summarize what the students have learned.
Personally, I think its best to use formative assessments often that way the students are exposed to potential test material, and it give the teacher an idea of what the students are learning. With formative assessments, teachers can adjust their lessons to better fit the students’ needs to make sure the students are learning everything they need to learn in order to perform well on a summative assessment. I also think summative assessments are important because they tell the teacher what the students have learned in the unit and what may need to be reviewed before starting the next unit. Overall, assessments are very important, not only to the teacher but to the district. Assessments can be used by a district to evaluate how a teacher is performing.
It is important to create a community of inquiry in the classroom. The inquiry should provide meaningful, challenging, and active context for learning history. All of these communities have things in common including, lively conversation and intellectual negotiation, conversation focusing on questions and tasks worthy of discussion, use of prior knowledge and newly gathered information, a model and a practice, and students doing history.
Students should be able to talk historically using various symbolic forms like literature, art, music, dance, drama, writing, and conversation. They should be able to use various forms of symbols to understand and discuss a historical event. A teacher should also be facilitating the conversation between students to make sure it is going in a productive manner, and is stimulating their interests in a topic. Teachers should not be letting the students get too off topic because then the students would not be learning what they need to be. It is nearly impossible to keep the students from going off topic, because sometimes the conversations lead to something that is not entirely on topic, but the students should spend most of their time discussing the historical event from the symbol. These symbols should be primary sources most of the time because they help the students get as close to possible to what actually happened in the past.
The students should also be asking questions the entire time that are worth discussing, do not have a simple answer, are sufficient and appropriate data sources so they can attempt to answer the questions, and imaginative entry into the past. It would not be much of a discussion if the only questions that were asked were ones that had a very specific answer such as “When did Abraham Lincoln become president?” However, a question like “What do you think are the most significant causes of the Civil War and why?” is a much more discussion-based question. The students are able to dive into the different causes of the Civil War and then chose which ones they feel are the most significant in the start of the war. With a question like this, not everyone is going to have the same answer, so the students are able to see what other people’s opinions are on a subject.
The students should also be utilizing their prior knowledge to help them better understand the subject they are currently talking about. This allows the new knowledge to build upon something the students already know and they will be more likely to understand the topic. It is also important for the students to have imaginative entry into history. This can include things like reenacting a historical event so the students better understand a concept. Getting students involved is going to make history more fun for them and they are more likely to enjoy the subject.
As a teacher, one of the most important things you can do is support your students as they are learning. This support is called scaffolding. Scaffolding is key in helping students learn topics that may seem difficult at first. The first step in scaffolding is to stimulate the students’ interest in the topic. This can be done in a variety of ways including allowing the students to come up with questions and use research to find the answer to that question. Students are oftentimes naturally inquisitive, but they are more likely to follow through and find the answer to their questions with the support of their teacher, who helps them develop and maintain their interest. The second step in scaffolding is the teacher supporting and encouraging the students as they work through their assignments. This can be done by simply answering the questions that come up, or actively teaching the students as they are completing their assignment. At this step, the teacher will often break down the task into more manageable pieces to make the assignment a little bit easier for the students to complete without becoming overly frustrated. It is also important that the teacher demonstrates what is expected of the students. The teacher should give models of how to answer questions and how to complete a project. This allows students to have something to go off of and they will be able to complete the assignment better.
It is also key that students are given experience-based questions that will help them have experiences and actively learn, whether than passively learning from a textbook. Learning more from the teacher or experiences is better for students to learn because they are not trying to rush through the assignments. The assignments are no longer focused on using a textbook but are focused on doing research or creating projects/presentations.
I think scaffolding and research are some of the most powerful tools a teacher will have in their repertoire. Making things easier and more interesting for students is something that every teacher should focus on. I think teachers should want to get their students excited about the subject they are teaching, and one of the easiest ways to do this is to allow students to do their own research on what they find interesting and provide the support they may need to get through the learning process. Overall, I think scaffolding is something that every teacher should know how to do and should utilize in their classroom just to make things easier on them and on the students.
Teaching history is not as simple as it may seem. The goal is to get students to use metacognitive skills; therefore, the students do not just think about what they are doing but also the extent to which they understand it. They are to know the material, but also understand it. Knowing the surface facts can be beneficial for certain types of tests, but it is more important for students to understand the concepts. In this case, concepts are not dates and names, but are rules and students are to understand and identify the instances of the rule. Concepts can be historical, like colony or market, political, like government or army, and economic, like money or banking. The goal of the teacher is not only to have students be able to identify these concepts by definition, but to also understand them well enough to be able to put them into practice and know why they are doing so.
I think it is important for teachers to make sure they are not doing surface teaching. Students may be able to recall facts and numbers, but they will quickly forget them once the test is over. However, if a teacher teaches at a deeper level and allows students to use their metacognitive skills, the students will gain learning skills that they can take with them forever and into other disciplines. The main point of learning history is to make sense of the past, and students are not able to do this if they are only being taught names and dates. Giving students the tools they need to be able to think deeply and make sense of the past should be the number one goal of a teacher. The teacher does not need to teach the students how to be expert historians, but should give them an idea on how to think about the past. In order to think about the past, students need to learn empathy. In this instance, empathy is not used in the traditional sense, but is used to show how what people did in the past makes sense in terms of their ideas about the world. It is seeing the world how people in the past did. If they did not have machinery and utilized manpowered farm tools, then the students would have to distance themselves from the idea of having machinery and view the world in a way that included a bit more manual labor.
Overall, I think it is very important to teach students how to think about the past. Only so much will get done if students know dates and names, but if they know how to think and understand the past, they will have skills they can take with them into other aspects of their lives. Metacognition is a key aspect of life and should be used in the history classroom so students understand history better.
This week’s readings focused on different ways of teaching social sciences. The different views include behaviorism, constructivism, and inquiry-based learning. Behaviorism is not widely used do to the fact that it sees knowledge as independent of the person, which can lead to teachers instilling students with information instead of having them actually learn the material for themselves. The teacher is there to transmit information from themselves to the students in whatever way possible, this is usually done with lectures. I do not think this is the best way for students to learn material, simply because I think it can lead to teachers just talking at students, and then the students are more likely to check out and not pay attention.
I think the best way for students to learn is a combination of constructivism and inquiry-based learning. In constructivism, learning is based on knowledge that is outside the learner and learning becomes a process of acquiring that knowledge. With this approach, the goal is for the teacher to be a facilitator in learning, allowing the students to co-create their knowledge and understanding of a subject. I think this would work really well for many students because they are able to learn in a way that is best for them, and the teacher is there to help facilitate this process. A teacher would no longer be lecturing at students, but allowing them to learn with hands-on activities and their own research. I believe that constructivism would work really well with inquiry-based learning because inquiry-based learning gives students the opportunity to do their own research on what they find important. They are given the chance to come up with questions that they would like answered, then find and present the information they found. In this approach, the teacher is also acting as a facilitator being there to answer any questions the students cannot find on their own.
Using a combination of constructivism and inquiry-based learning allows the curriculum to be meaningful, integrative, value-based, challenging, and active; all of which are the core concepts of the NCSS position statement. As a teacher, I would use constructivism and inquiry-based learning to teach my students. I want them to have the best experience learning about the social sciences, and I think if they are allowed to learn in a different way than they have in the past.