TeachingRoundtable America on the World Stage: A Global Perspective to the Teaching American History Program

AHA Session 153
Saturday, January 8, 2011: 11:30 AM-1:30 PM
Room 101 (Hynes Convention Center)
Heather Streets, Washington State University
Chris Bunin, Charlottesville City Public Schools , David Hicks, Virginia Tech , Patricia M. Hughes, Albemarle County Public Schools and Andy Mink, University of Virginia

Session Abstract

Based on the 2008 OAH publication of the same name, America on the World Stage is a five year Teaching American History project awarded in 2009 to five public school divisions in central Virginia in partnership with the University of Virginia. Using the text as a framing device, our goal is to recognize the urgent practical and conceptual need for teachers to understand the emergence of the United States' power and prestige in relation to world events. Teachers work closely with contributing authors to analyze benchmark topics in American history through a global and international lens. A small cohort of teacher-scholars then creates research-based, classroom materials that are evaluated by an external review board in order to be digitally published. This panel discussion will share insights into three components of our project design: 1. Translating Historical Scholarship from the Archives to the Classroom: focus on scholarship component of project and how original research explores the global perspectives of American history topics from the first three modules of our project (featuring framing lectures by Shammas, Chu, Berkin, Kaminski, Halliday, Bender). Following these presentations (and the reading that accompanies them), teacher-participants craft a lesson designed to incorporate this scholarship—and their global perspectives—into the American history curriculum. This OAH paper will discuss the creative ways teachers have translated complex global issues into both primary and secondary education lessons about the American past. In particular, it will address common themes and strategies in the lessons, as well as the types of primary source materials teachers selected in order to assist student comprehension about the ties that bound Americans with people and places outside the nation. 2. Pedagogical Contributions: At the heart of this work is a focus on the design and development of appropriate units of instruction that while recognizing the realities of teaching history in high stakes settings weave together strategies and scaffolds that emphasize learning both historical content knowledge and strategic procedural knowledge. An overview of the rationale, mechanisms, and processes for developing instructional units that will be accessed and shared by teachers across the participating districts will be provided. In addition, templates and rubrics designed to guide the development and design of instructional materials will be discussed in terms of the emerging possibilities and challenges facing teachers who participate in the project. 3. Collegial Contributions: focuses on the diverse partnership nature of a successful project, including university centers and faculty, public history organizations, museums and libraries. In particular, we will showcase the role of transatlantic partners like the National Archives and Schools History Project in the United Kingdom. We will suggest that the research-based teaching kits provide a valuable connection between American and global perspectives that adds value to both the historical field as well as the best practice methods of the classroom. Finally, we will underline the design principals of the program that allow university, museum, and school partners on both sides of the Atlantic to participate fully in a common project.

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