The California History-Social Science Project: Meeting the Needs of World History Educators Through K-16 Collaboration

Friday, January 8, 2010: 2:30 PM
Marina Ballroom Salon D (Marriott)
Dave Neumann , Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach, CA
This paper addresses the need for professional development in world history for in-service teachers in California, and the role of the California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP) in working to meet that need. The paper argues, first, that world history instruction in the state is in desperate need of improvement. Few teachers in elementary or secondary schools have adequate knowledge to teach world history well. They closely follow the state content standards for guidance. The standards reflect a western civilization model that takes little notice of the developments in the now well-established field of “new world history.” Second, this paper argues that the problem of world history instruction can be mitigated by professional development for in-service teachers like that provided by The UC Irvine History Project and The History Project at CSU LB & DH. These two organizations are members of a unique and important professional development network, the California History-Social Science Project (CHSSP). This network is a collaborative headquartered at UC Davis and dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in history education through K12-university partnerships. For fifteen years, CHSSP sites have specialized in precisely the model of professional endorsed by the American Historical Association: sustained partnerships between universities and schools in which “content, pedagogy, and historical thinking…[are] interwoven.” Through CHSSP sites, K12 teachers and world historians have collaborated on developing high-quality world history for the classroom. This paper will conclude with a reflection on the challenges CHSSP sites face in providing professional development in world history, challenges which require creativity and persistence to overcome.
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