Academic Collaboration on the History Blueprint

Saturday, January 7, 2012: 11:30 AM
Chicago Ballroom F (Chicago Marriott Downtown)
Karen Halttunen, University of Southern California
Even though many university historians have a strong interest in working with K-12 history teachers and improving the quality of instruction in public schools, there are few opportunities for the two communities to interact in productive ways.  In the California History-Social Science Project, university historians have an opportunity to work with teachers and so directly impact how history is taught in K-12 schools.  The collaborative network equalizes status distinctions and provides each community with insight into the strengths and needs of the other.  K-12 teachers are enthralled with the depth of professors’ knowledge, and professors are often amazed at K-12 teachers’ range of pedagogical approaches.  Professors can help teachers, who are not specialists (and often not even history majors), by framing the standards around historiographical arguments, recommending primary sources, and joining in the struggle to articulate the processes of historical inquiry and source criticism.  Teachers can help professors develop a wider repertoire of teaching strategies.  In the process of collaboration, the connections between the academy and the K-12 schools develop and strengthen.  While the CHSSP is limited to California schools, it is a model that might be profitably applied in other states.  The History Blueprint is an attempt to build on twenty years’ of CHSSP collaboration to create a comprehensive curriculum, including lesson plans, digital media, primary sources, visuals, analytical tools, assessments, and strategies for developing historical thinking skills and academic literacy, to be shared freely online with the nation’s teachers.  Blueprint will also be an integrated curriculum, in which all these pieces are woven together into a logical and useable package for teachers and students.
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