Teaching the “Doing of History”: Using Primary Sources with Pre-Service Teachers

Saturday, January 8, 2011: 9:00 AM
Room 203 (Hynes Convention Center)
Sarah Drake-Brown , Ball State University, Muncie, IN
Students in elementary, middle, and high school can and should engage in the analysis of primary sources in order to promote content knowledge acquisition and disciplinary thinking. To further wise practice in the use of primary sources in K-12 classrooms, history educators must consider how we teach pre-service teachers to engage students in reading primary sources. Just over one hundred years ago, Fred Morrow Fling called for historians to compel teachers to build pedagogical content knowledge. In 1909 in The History Teacher’s Magazine, Fling explained, “…nothing could contribute more to the development of a poorly-trained history teacher than to oblige him to teach the method; he would be forced to learn something about it!” Fling advocated the use of the “source method” to promote the study of history in schools. This paper addresses specific approaches designed to teach pre-service teachers how to use primary sources with their students. The approaches described focus on teaching future teachers to first “do history” and then teaching them how to teach the “doing of history.” Three examples will receive focus in this session: the development of analysis guides for textual sources, images, and artifacts; the use of “History Circles” to build teachers’ and students’ habits of mind and historical thinking; and the use of a systematic approach designated the 1st-/2nd-/3rd Order Method to enable teachers to model the crafting of a thesis, promote deliberative discussion, enlarge students’ capacity to make history meaningful, and require students to shape and reshape historical narratives linked to primary sources.
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