Professional Development in World History Education: The Alliance Project
Ross E. Dunn, San Diego State University
Tim Keirn, California State University, Long Beach
Patrick Manning, University of Pittsburgh
David Neumann, California State University, Long Beach
Educators generally agree that young people must have global historical knowledge and critical skills to work, travel, and make informed decisions in our complex world. World history has been a core subject in U.S. schools for several decades, and world or global history standards and curricula exist in most states. However, these state standards are at best uneven in quality and tend to represent world history through a western lens or disaggregated civilizational model. Moreover, educational research demonstrates that the vast majority of teachers have not had academic preparation in the subject of world history, nor have they had pedagogic training specific to the task of teaching from a global perspective and on large spatial scales. The scarcity of funding for improving history education in general – and for world history in particular—makes creative responses to the need for a stronger curriculum and in-service professional development more difficult.
This session will present the work of the Alliance for Curriculum and Professional Development in World History. Funded as a pilot by the British Council and the Social Science Research Council, the Alliance Project is centered at the National Center for History in the Schools at UCLA, the World History Center at the University of Pittsburgh, and the Department of History at California State University, Long Beach and includes leading world history scholars, history educators, teachers, and professional organizations. The Alliance has created four foundational documents: a curriculum framework for teaching world history from an integrated and global perspective, an outline of the essential elements for professional development of in-service teachers, a plan for design and implementation of professional development opportunities, and an agenda for cognitive research on teacher and student world-history learning. In addition, the Alliance is creating a web-based and open-sourced outline for a forty-five hour professional development course for teaching world history that will include all accompanying materials and curricula.
Members for the Alliance Project will briefly share the foundational documents and the professional development course, and discuss their experiences and challenges in collaborating to create these materials. Panel participants will engage the audience in a critique of these materials and solicit suggestions for modification and improvement. In addition, panel members will generate a discussion with the audience about the means --and potential obstacles-- to implement and sustain the curriculum framework, professional development course, and research agenda for world history. This proposed panel would be of interest to a number of constituencies who attend the AHA Conference including world historians, history educators, and K-12 teachers.