The Global, History Educator

Teaching, Historical Thinking, Professional Development, and Online Education ~ Hosted by Craig J. Perrier

Content, Context, and Global Education: New World History Resources for High School Teachers

March 4, 2014 by · No Comments · Global Education, History and Social Studies Education, Online Education, Professional Development

Contemporary educational paradigms, impacted by concepts of and outcomes from globalization, have inspired schools to establish their vision of the “global” typically housed in schools’ and districts’ mission statements.   Interpretations of global education vary in name, including, but not limited to qualifiers such as “citizenship”, “competency”, “awareness”, and “literacy.”  Of course, regardless of the wording,  how students are provided global  educational experiences  will be based on the commitment of the school community to the global turn.  At the low end is unsupported lip service to globalization in schooling.  On the flip side is a dedication to support integrated change within the system. This is no small feat consoderign that the structure is typically rigid and often restricted by expected outcomes which don’t complement the aspirations of global education.

Schools, however, are not destined to “go global” on their own. Multiple conferences and institutions promote ways of incorporating global perspectives in education. Explore the collection of instituions below  to get an idea of how global education can be brought to your school and what avenues would be the best method of implementation.

  •  World Savvy:  In a world that is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before, the challenges and opportunities we face are becoming increasingly global in scope, and it is critical that our schools and educators teach for global competence, so all students can be prepared with the knowledge, skills and dispositions for success in the 21st century.
  • The Asia Society: The globalization of business, the advances in technology, and the acceleration of migration increasingly require the ability to work on a global scale. As a result of this new connectivity, our high school graduates will need to be far more knowledgeable about world regions and global issues, and able to communicate across cultures and languages
  • IIE: Peace and prosperity around the world depend on increasing the capacity of people to think and work on a global and intercultural basis. Take our quiz, see where you stand as a global citizen, and open your mind to the world.
  • Primary Source: Primary Source offers a rich variety of professional development programs for K-12 educators. With the aim of connecting teachers to people and cultures around the world, we provide learning opportunities in the content areas of Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States.
  • P21: Learning from and working collaboratively with individuals representing diverse cultures, religions and lifestyles in a spirit of mutual respect and open dialogue in personal, work and community contexts.
  • IREX:  The Teachers for Global Classrooms (TGC) Program provides a year-long professional development opportunity for middle and high school teachers from the United States to participate in a program aimed at globalizing teaching and learning in their classrooms.

The Content/Curriculum Option

One belief the organizations listed above have in common concerns the use of content and curriclum standards to implement global education trends.  In History education, this often refers to the rethinking of the “nation” as the dominant unit of analysis or way to engage the past (a previous blog also addressed this idea).

For the example, in this the TED talk presented by Farleigh Dickinson professor Jason Scorza, the concept of the American Dream is internationalized, trans-nationalized, and even (wait for it) humanized. In essence, global perspectives on history content challenges that there is any such thing as a purely national event in the past.  Instead, the past is full of networks and systems that are not magicall limited by the borders of the nation-state.

Dr. Scorza’s flexible context, and varying thematic and perspective lenses problematizes the concept of the American Dream.  Also, did you note his two claims about how to define global education? Confronting the binary he establishes ultimately helps clarify an organization’s views and subsequent expectations for administrators, teachers, and students. However, it is his rendering of the past as a non-national place that ultimately provides a fruitful inroad to teaching the past from a global perspective.

Recently the College Board embraced this methodology  in their revision of the heralded AP US History course.  A new theme “US in the World” requires teachers to engage in historical renderings beyond the comfortable national narrative previously endorsed. Well done College Board. Here is what they say:

Learning Objectives by Theme:  America in the World (WOR) In this theme, students should focus on the global context in which the United States originated and developed as well as the influence of the United States on world affairs. Students should examine how various world actors (such as people, states, organizations, and companies) have competed for the territory and resources of the North American continent, influencing the development of both American and world societies and economies. Students should also investigate how American foreign policies and military actions have affected the rest of the world as well as social issues within the United States itself.

Ok, that looks good.  The teachers have been challenged. So where does that leave us?  The good news is there are robust content options and resources, especially in the field of World Hisotry that can be used to globalize the US History Survey.  The four I have listed below provide a raneg of resources, lesson, links etc that can be adapted and easily implemented to your US, Regional, and World History courses.  Take a look at what they offer and enjoy!
  • The Global Campaign For Education, US Chapter:   The Coalition promotes access to education as a basic human right and mobilizes the public to create political will in the U.S. and internationally to improve education for the world’s poorest children. GlobalCampaignEducation  They utilize this global competency matrix for their curriculum and resources, Lesson For All.  The Lesson for All curriculum for high school has a series of 9 lessons for History/Geography, Economics, and Government/Civics.    The resources provide relevant, problem based lessons which seek to develop students’ critical thinking and application of knowledge.  Together they establish a forum to synthesize pedagogical best practices, instructional design, global perspectives, and social studies content.  Overall,  the modules seek to empower students by having them contextualize their educational realities,  construct meaning about their learning experiences in the past and present, and envision a pathway for their future.
  •  Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean:  The Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies at George Mason University is pleased to announce the release of Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean: A World History Curriculum Project for Educators. The work provides oursharedpasteducators with a set of interdisciplinary lesson materials featuring the geography and history of the Mediterranean in the context of world history from ancient times to the present. The Our Shared Past in the Mediterranean curriculum is free under Creative Commons License and available online.  The resources are currently being piloted by teachers and received great feedback from World Historian Patrick Manning, Andrew Mellon Professor of World History at the University of Pittsburgh, found the project helpful to the world history teaching profession, writing:
     “The modules and the process of preparing them are exemplary in gathering a wide range of educational materials on the Mediterranean over a long period of time, in world-historical context…It is a really rich collection of materials, showing the degree to which historical scholarship has advanced on many aspects of Mediterranean history, and giving teachers and students a feast of possibilities in linking the many types of information into a comprehensive picture of the unfolding of life in this region.
  •  The Alliance for Learning in World History:   The Alliance is a collaboration of educators and history scholars organized to advance the teaching and learning of world history in classroomshands—in the U.S. and in every part of the world. The Alliance is anchored at the University of Pittsburgh, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB).In curriculum, the Alliance seeks to replace outdated existing courses – treating  world history as a sequence of isolated civilizations – with curricula that address the global and interactive development of human society, relying on the latest historical research. In professional development, the Alliance encourages comprehensive programs for in-service teachers that bring them to a high level in working with historical thinking skills and in becoming familiar with world-historical content and debates. In educational research, the Alliance supports critical study of every
    aspect of the learning process: student learning, learning by teachers, and teacher preparation.

 

  • Global Issues: Connecting content to the present is an effective way to make studying the past relevant and encourgaes students to construct meaning about what they stglobal issuesudy. This website presents numerous global issues, aiming to show how they are inter-related. The topics are common global ones; the environment, nuclear profliferation, poverty, human rights…  In addition to the blogs unique articles, it provides a robust set of links and features news articles from arond the world.

Face to Faith: The Best Global Education Instructional Practice/Program Your School Should Have

February 8, 2014 by · No Comments · Global Education, Instructional Practices

In a blog post about 18 months ago I suggested that National History Day was the best history education program your school couldF2f2have.  Today’s post makes the case for the Best Global Education program your school’s social studies/history teachers (and other departments) should be using.  That program is called “Face to Faith” (F2F).

As a curriculum specialist, I find the program to be a unique synthesis of pedagogical best practices currently emphasized by a range of educational paradigms.  F2F allows teachers to combine technology, global competencies, critical thinking, and academic conversations in a student centered exercise that explicitly develops a skill set transferable beyond the classroom.  The F2F program was highlighted in our district’s “Instructional Spotlight” segment during an October, 2013 School Board meeting. The video of that presentation is below and the F2F segment begins at the 35th minute.

 

I had the opportunity to chat with Dr. Charles Haynes, director of the Religious Freedom Education Project at the Newseum and a senior scholar at the First Amendment Center, about the F2F program.  After reading the interview I urge you to reach out to F2F (contact information below) and give your students the opportunity to engage in the best authentic global education experience available.It is a high school memory they will NEVER forget.   Enjoy!

1)      Describe how you got involved and your role with F2F.

About six years ago, the Tony Blair Faith Foundation contacted me for advice about launching their new education initiative called “Face to Faith” in American schools.  I looked carefully at the program and was greatly impressed with the creative use of technology, the innovative approach to study about religions and global issues, and the focus on empowering student voice.

I immediately offered to do whatever I could to encourage the adoption of Face to Faith in public and private schoolsHaynes_Charles__11 in the United States.  For me personally, F2F is a natural extension of my efforts over the past two decades to encourage more study about religions in schools and to promote First Amendment principles of free speech and freedom of religion.

My role as U.S. advisor to the program is to help ensure that public schools understand that Face to Faith is not only consistent with First Amendment principles, but it advances those principles by educating students about the religious and ethnic diversity in our country and world.  Dispelling ignorance about faiths and beliefs – ignorance that is a root cause of intolerance and hate – is critical to protecting freedom of religion for people of all faiths and none.

My first step as an advisor was to bring on board key civil liberties and education groups to signal broad support for Face to Faith as a sound academic program that is greatly needed in schools.  Today, the Advisory Board includes people from across the political and religious spectrum – from the American Civil Liberties Union to the American Center for Law and Justice – and from leading education associations, including the National Council for the Social Studies and the National School Boards Association.

 

2)      How do you describe F2F to people?

Face to Faith is a creative way to help accomplish some of the key aims of education in the 21st century such as preparing students to engage in civil dialogue across differences, educating students about the religious and cultural diversity in our country and around the world, and exploring solutions to global issues of shared concern to people everywhere. Moreover, Face to Faith uses technology – videoconferencing and on-line community – to give students meaningful opportunities to express their beliefs and values and to learn about the beliefs and values of others.

Religious and ethnic differences are at the heart of most of the world’s violent conflicts.  And in our own country, religious and ideological differences fuel culture wars and divide communities.  That’s why Face to Faith is not just another education program – nor is it an “add-on” to what overworked teachers must already do. Rather, Face to Faith helps schools do what they must do: Break down barriers by giving students the civil skills to negotiate deep differences with civility and respect.

 

3)      Can you share some of your favorite experiences or stories you have heard about F2F being used in the classroom?

I have been inspired by the transforming power of Face to Faith in the lives of students.  A few examples:

Early in my work with F2F, I heard from students in New York who participated in videoconferences and online dialogue with students in Ramallah and discovered firsthand what it means to live in a land of conflict and division – and what it means to seek understanding across very deep differences.

More recently, I sat in on an exchange between students in Utah and students in the Philippines about how it feels to be a religious f2f 4minority in a society with a predominate faith.  By the end of the discussion, it was clear that the exchange made some in the majority faith more aware of the need to be sensitive to those of other faiths and beliefs in their own classroom.

A couple of years ago, students in a California private school decided to connect with a public school in Utah – a place and culture they knew little about and didn’t understand.  At the end of the videoconference, a gay student in California spoke up to say that he used to think everyone in Utah disliked gay people (because of the Mormon church’s involvement in the California fight over same-sex marriage).  But the videoconference helped him to see that people can have different views about faith and values but still treat each other with respect.

Face to Faith teaches empathy, promotes understanding, and builds trust.  As one student put it:  “Even though religions don’t have the same laws, beliefs and concepts, Face to Faith has taught me that people hundreds of miles away are going through the same experiences as me.”

4)      What does F2F offer students, teachers, schools? Advantages, possibilities etc…

The Tony Blair Faith Foundation provides Face to Faith at no cost to schools.  This includes free facilitated videoconferencing, secure and monitored online community, and a menu of teaching modules on global issues such as wealth, poverty and charity, the environment and the art of expression. Each module exposes students to the ways in which the major religious traditions of the world understand global issues. All of the modules use state-of-the-art cooperative learning strategies and provide civic engagement opportunities tied to the social justice issues raised in the modules.

Face to Faith is a valuable resource for teachers of world history, geography, civics and government, global studies, and world religions.  In some schools, Face to Faith is also a club that meets during or after school.  Teachers are fully supported by the Face to Faith team, providing regular professional development opportunities, technical support, and teaching resources.

Students develop skills in respectful dialogue, active listening, and conflict management.  They have opportunities to build relationships and exchange ideas with their peers around the world in a secure online community.

 

5)      Talk about the F2F network. Where have you grown and what are your objectives for expansion?

Face to Faith is currently being used by some 800 schools in 19 countries: Australia, Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Singapore, UAE, UK, Kosovo, Ukraine and USA.

More than 100 American public and private schools are involved in Face to Faith.  A plan is underway to expand F2F in the U.S. to F2f 31,000 over the next three years.

 

6)      Who should get involved and how do schools get involved with F2F?

Face to Faith is for students 12-17 and is appropriate for use in public and private schools.  It is most often integrated into the social studies curriculum, but it may also be used in other courses or as a school club.

To learn more about Face to Faith, visit www.tonyblairfaithfoundation.org.  To get involved, register your interest on that web site and the Face to Faith team will contact you.  You may also write Kristen Looney, U.S. Coordinator for F2F, who is happy to answer any questions ([email protected])

 

7)      How do you advise schools/teachers that are hesitant to get involved because of the word “faith”?

Face to Faith is not a “religion program”; it is an educational program designed to teach about religions and beliefs in ways consistent with the First Amendment.  The focus of Face to Faith is education for peace and understanding across differences.  Students of all faiths and no faith are given opportunities to learn from one another and confront issues of shared concern through direct interaction.  Using civil dialogue to learn about religions and beliefs promotes cross-cultural understanding, encourages student voice, and promotes religious freedom.

If any public school teacher or administrator has questions about the First Amendment framework for using Face to Faith, feel free to write me at [email protected]

 

Charles C. Haynes is director of the Religious Freedom Center of the Newseum Institute in Washington, DC.  Over the past two decades, he has been the principal organizer and drafter of consensus guidelines on religious liberty in schools, endorsed by a broad range of religious, civil liberties, and educational organizations. He is author or co-author of six books, including, most recently, First Freedoms: A Documentary History of First Amendment Rights in America.  His column, “Inside the First Amendment,” appears in newspapers nationwide. He is Chairman of the Character Education Partnership Board of Directors, serves on the Steering Committee of the Campaign for the Civic Mission of Schools and chairs the Committee on Religious Liberty. He is U.S. Advisor for Face to Faith, a program of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.  Dr. Haynes holds a B.A. from Emory University, a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School and a doctorate from Emory University.

The 128th American Historical Association Annual Conference: A Great Way to Start 2014 (and engage all three areas of the brain)

January 11, 2014 by · 2 Comments · Conferences, History and Social Studies Education, Instructional Practices, Professional Development

Our reptilian part of our brain is about 300 million years old.  It makes sure we feed and reproduce, and decides between fighting and Triune-Brainrunning.  The second oldest brain section is our limbic area which influences our emotional stage. Isolation isn’t the key here. Staying in touch, socializing, being part of a collective is important.  Lastly, the Neo-cortex developed  about 4 million years ago on the evolutionary calendar. It is responsible for, among other functions, our intellect and curiosity.  You are using this part of your brain to understand what I am typing right now (although the limbic part may be engaged in joyous celebration of this post ;).

The defined brain sections/functions above, however, fail to emphasize the wholistic properties of our brain.  Learning, for example, is impacted by all three areas (ever try to learn while hungry or emotionally unengaged?).  By learning, I also include educator professional  development and networking.  Last weekend, the 128th annual conference of the American Historical Association was held in Washington D.C. The AHA conference was indeed a wholistic brain experience.

Interview with Dr. James Grossman, AHA Executive Director at AHA 2014:

Below I have assembled notes, links, comments etc on the presentations and sessions I attended.  In addition, check out the twitter feed  #AHA2014. I hope you are able to harvest much from what is provided. I found the conference to talk directly  to a passage in a text I am reading for work:

“By “impact resource”, I mean something that makes a particular teaching point in a vivid and powerful way; something that stays in a learners’ minds long after the lesson has gone. It is often something that disturbs learners previous understandings, or which problematises the issue or concept in a way that makes learners think further about it. It also encourages  dialogic learning, whereby learners are sufficientily interested by the resource that they are willing to clarify and modify their understanding through discussion with others. It intrigues learners to the extent that they are prepared to play an active part in constructing meaning themselves.”  Terry Haydn - Using New Technologies to Enhance Teaching and Learning in History 

The impact resources Haydn notes came in a variety of forms last weekend. Conversations, posts, handouts, presentations…the conference should be on history educators radar. The AHA’s efforts to provide sessions to secondary history teachers is also noteworthy. I look forward to future developments and opportunities in this arena.  Overall, this year’s conference was (besides the puzzlingly long line for coffee) a whole brain experience which exemplified conference professional development. Next year the conference is in New York City.  See you there.  Enjoy.

 

 

AHASession: Publishing History Digitally: New Formats, New Audiences, and New Challenges
Presenters/Panel: Daniel CohenCharles HomansChris HeaneyYoni Applebaum

Central Question(s): How can historians and history educators best communicate with the public?

Talking Points: The democratization of historical information production is alive and well. Digital publishing, academic blogs, online journals and the like regularly reach larger audiences, can utilize social and multi-media components, and can engage the present with an “historical voice” in real time.  Digital history, in short, is not a constrained like its “cookie cutter” journal and book bound counterparts.  Still, digital historians are using the same skill set as paper historians, just in a new medium.  This presentation was a great way to start the conference as it framed history education in a dynamic 21st century frame. Check out the  digital history resources below.

Resources:

  • The Appendix: The Appendix is a quarterly journal of experimental and narrative history; though at times outlandish, everything in its pages is as true as the sources allow. The Appendix solicits articles from historians, writers, and artists committed to good storytelling, with an eye for the strange and a suspicion of both jargon and traditional narratives
  • Ultimate History Project:   The Ultimate History Project, an online history journal for history lovers. The site  encourages faculty members to write for the general public and it provides a forum for academically trained historians to work alongside independent historians, curators, preservationists, and others.
  • History News Network:   Our mission is to help put current events into historical perspective. Given how public opinion is shaped today, whipsawed emotionally on talk shows this way and that in response to the egos of the guests, the desire for ratings by the hosts and the search for profits by media companies and sponsors, historians are especially needed now. They can help remind us of the superficiality of what-happens-today-is-all-that-counts journalism. Each week HNN features up to a dozen fresh op eds by prominent historians. Our archives, extending over the past decade, include thousands of well-researched pieces.

Session: Building a Career around the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in History
Presenters/Panel: T. Mills KellyRobert Johnston - Joel SipressLaura Westhoff

Central Question(s): When is teaching an intellectual act?  When is lecturing an effective instructional method?

Talking Points:  Teaching should be a meaningful act, an intellectual act, a reflective act, an intentional act. My second session at the conference was outstanding.  It celebrated the community that exists around teaching and learning and, more importantly, invites educators to enter and contribute to that community.  Cognitive and neuro science developments are changing our practice.  Those who stay in tune with those developments separates the wheat from the chaff, the pearl from the oyster.  A final note about the concept of the lecture as an instructional practice.  When asked about its utility, panelists noted that the best lectures will be short and dynamic,  introduce a new idea/concept and inspire/challenge listeners to ask how they will engage with that idea (think TED presentations not powerpoint presentations that are designed to convey items ‘you need to know’ UGH!).

Resources:

  • Uncoverage: Toward a Signature Pedagogy for the History Survey: History professors say the darnedest things. Like the one who summed up his teaching philosophy declaring, “If I said it, that means they learned it!” Or the colleague who scoffed at “trendy” educational reforms because, as she put it, “You can’t teach students how to think until you’ve taught them what to think.”
  • Carnegie Academy for Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The CASTL Program sought to support the development of a scholarship of teaching and learning that: fosters significant, long-lasting learning for all students; enhances the practice and profession of teaching, and; brings to faculty members’ work as teachers the recognition and reward afforded to other forms of scholarly work.
  • International Society For The Scholarship Of Teaching & Learning:  serves faculty members, staff, and students who care about teaching and learning as serious intellectual work. The goal of the Society is to foster inquiry and disseminate findings about what improves and articulates post-secondary learning and teaching.
  • History’s Babel: Scholarship, Professionalization, and the Historical Enterprise in the United States, 1880-1940  Robert B. Townsend, a longtime deputy director of the American Historical Association (AHA), has written a perceptive study examining the growth and fragmentation of America’s historical profession. He begins by reminding readers that professional historians once saw their enterprise “as a vast panorama of activity” encompassing “popular history making, school teaching, and the work of historical societies.”
  • When Teachers Talk Outside of School: In 1927, a schoolteacher in Secaucus, N.J., named Helen Clark lost her teaching license. The reason? Somebody had seen her smoking cigarettes after school hours…Today, teachers can be suspended, and even fired, for what they write on Facebook.

Session: American Academy of Arts and Sciences Report on the Humanities and Social Sciences
Presenters/Panel: Earl LewisSusan Griffin - Anthony Grafton - James GrossmanClaire Bond PotterEstevan Rael-Galvez

Central Question(s): What were the achievements and shortcomings of “The Heart of the Matter.” ? How critical is the state of humanities in education?

Talking Points: Panelists reflected on and discussed the tone and substance of Academy’s 2013 release (video below). Where some questioend the context of the data set used in the report about humanities majors (recognizing the 1980s as a more dire period) they were hopeful in the ways the report can be help stimulate conversations about and the practice of history education.  Of note was the potential of the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s role in communicating the benefits of historical inquiry with the public.  Another key point emphasized teachers’ expectations for their students and the role of assessments’ impact on pedagogy.   Educating employers about the benefits of history education has led to an awareness of the tranfersabiltiy of historical thinking and skill sets to a myriad of occupations.  Where the panel was preaching to the choir at the conference, it is now imperative to continue to evangelize the humanities’ benefits to the public at large.

Resources:

  • College, Career, and Civic Life Framework:
  • Video By Kathy Swan Presenting the C3 framework:
  • AHA Tuning Project:  History is a set of evolving rules and tools that allows us to interpret the past with clarity, rigor, and an appreciation for interpretative debate.  As a discipline, history entails a set of professional ethics and standards that demand peer review, citation, and toleration for the provisional nature of knowledge.
  • Article on the Harvard Humanities Report: ”The report is informative and reasonable, and its suggestions are constructive. But its impact has not been what its authors probably intended.”
  • The Longview Foundation:  “At the dawn of the 21st century, knowledge of other peoples, economies, languages and international affairs has become a necessity for every child. The skill set required to prepare tomorrow’s citizens for the global age must go beyond the “the basics” and even beyond the growing emphasis on science, math, and technology skills. Today’s students need opportunities to gain broad and deep global knowledge and the language and intercultural skills to engage effectively with people around the corner and around the world.”


Session: Teaching Historiographical Debate in the World History Classroom
Presenters/Panel: Lauren JanesPhyllis Conn - Rodney McCaslin - Clif Stratton - Eva Swidler

Central Question(s): How are debates about the past relevant in the present? What historical theories are used in classes?

Talking Points: The presentation made explicit connections to the demands of the Common Core on history education.  In fact historiography and historical theory are required by the standards.  Just take a look at a sample of standards:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.7 Analyze various accounts of a subject told in different mediums (e.g., a person’s life story in both print and multimedia), determining which details are emphasized in each account.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.9-10.8 Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.3 Analyze a complex set of ideas or sequence of events and explain how specific individuals, ideas, or events interact and develop over the course of the text.

One presenter described teaching historiography to students this way: It is like a party where groups geHorsey - History Cartoont together and are talking about their view of the past. We can go over to each group and listen in on the Marxists, Post-modernists, Environmentalists, Globalists, Annales etc.  Occasionally someone may walk to another group and chime in or synthesize an idea. The point emphasizes that we construct our understanding of the past, and argue about…it also clarifies that history is not an exercise in memorization. Assessments are mega-important in reinforcing this practice.

One lesson suggestion: Have students write their own biography in a short essay. Then have them write it again using a different school of thought or perspective. Both are equally true, but what was emphasized changed. People and events were marginalized or silenced. Agency changed. So it is in learning, constructing, and evaluating historical understanding.

Resources:

  • ChronoZoom: an educational tool for teachers and students who want to put historical events in perspective. Use ChronoZoom to get a perspective of the extensive scale of time and historical events relative to what happened around the world.
  • Historiography The research interests of historians change over time, and in recent decades there has been a shift away from traditional diplomatic, economic and political history toward newer approaches, especially social and cultural studies.
  • Different schools of historiography:The link refers to  a brief glimpse of the definitions of the different schools of historiography.
  • Schools of history flashcards: Vocabulary words for Schools of History. Includes studying games.
  • Prezi on Historiography:   A comprehensive presentation
  • Another Prezi on Historiography: Good for a flipped approach.

 

Session: What Should a 21st Century History Textbook Look Like
Presenters/Panel:  Mary DoughertyRobert BainScott Casper -Suzanne McCormack -Mary Beth Norton

Central Question(s): What is the potential of digital resources?

Talking Points:  The textbook is a curious thin. Classes still assign them and teachers, students, and parents still argue their utility. Digital resources, personalization, and information access all make the print copy rather obsolete.  Augmenting the textbook with multimedia and interactive features is possible now.  Moreover…they can be cheap, or free.  So, what role does the textbook take in your class? Is it THE resource, or A resource. This is a central question for teaching and learning.  Another one is… do you still assign reading, tell students to take notes, and then go over them in class? If so, it is time to rethink what you are doing as an educator.

Resources:

  • The Big History Project: BHP works with a wide range of educators, scientists, writers, curriculum experts, and artists to bring the ideas of big history to life and provide students of all ages with unique views into different fields of knowledge
  • Flat World Knowledge: You can create the perfect book for your course in minutes with our fast and easy online editor. Add, delete and rearrange content to match your syllabus and improve student success.
  • Merlot: is a free and open peer reviewed collection of online teaching and learning materials and faculty-developed services contributed and used by an international education community.
  • College Open Textbooks: is a collection of colleges, governmental agencies, education non-profits, and other education-related organizations that are focused on the mission of driving awareness, adoptions**, and affordability of open textbooks. Our focus is on community colleges and other 2-year institutions of higher education and the first two years (lower division) of 4-year institutions. Some of our activities also apply to K-12, upper division, graduate school, and life-long learning.
  • CK-12: Services like CK-12 make it easy for teachers to assemble their own textbooks. Content is mapped to a variety of levels and standards including common core. You can start from scratch or build from anything the the FlexBooks library.
  • College Open Textbook: the first open-licensed U.S. History textbook that follows the course for the College Board Advanced Placement exam. It addresses the needs of one of the most popular courses at two-year colleges in a very affordable format.


Session: The Historical Enterprise: Past, Present, and Future Collaboration between Secondary History Teachers and University History Professors
Presenters/Panel:  Robert TownsendTimothy GreeneLinda Symcox

Central Question(s): Why, how and for what purposes should secondary and higher education be bridged?

Talking Points: Teachers and professors engaging in projects, dialogues, and research about history education is a powerful exercise. Whether this is done in person or virtually, such collaboration expands the classroom context and  yields opportunities for teachers and students alike.  TAH was a watershed, bridging the K-12 and higher education, with intent, for years.  My experiences with two TAH grants were indeed positive. Those times are gone… now it is up to you to seek out, nurture and apply collaborative efforts fore your students sake.

Resources:

  • Bridging the Gap: On Ways to Improve Collaboration… Interesting paper on the topic.
  • The California History-Social Science Project: is a K–16 collaborative of historians, teachers, and affiliated scholars dedicated to the pursuit of educational excellence in history and social science. The organization exists to improve and advocate for history education, promote teacher development, and facilitate leadership opportunities.
  • History Blueprint: The History Blueprint aims to revolutionize history instruction.  It combines innovative curriculum, assessment tools, student literacy support, and teacher professional development, aligned with the Common Core State Standards.

 


Session: Professional Development In World History Education: The Alliance Project
Presenters/Panel: Patrick ManningLinda Cargile -Ross E. DunnTim KeirnDavid Neumann

Central Question(s): What Professional Development is available for high school world history teachers?  How is the Alliance for World History learning impacting secondary history education?

Talking Points:  Resources for history education are bountiful.  Finding the best programs, resources, and opportunities can be dauntingWell, get ready to put these guys on your radar. The Alliance Project is poised to set the bar high for World History professional development. They provide the resources, you and your school provide the context and implementation… as you see fit. The Alliance provides support and a network of educators.  Your school system doesn’t have to hire a consultant!  Your department and/or central office just needs the leadership to carry the program through.  The Alliance is still developing its resources, webpage, and other features. Keep their contact information close . You won’t want to miss out on this PD program.

Resources:

  • The World History Center at U Pitt: The World History Center at the University of Pittsburgh emphasizes research, teaching, and international collaboration on the global past, with attention to policies for the global future.
  • “Why Study World History”: by J. Bentley-  Practicing world historians rarely address the question ‘why study world history?’  This is unfortunate because world history is one of the big intellectual issues of our times.
  • World History: The Big Eras: World History: The Big Eras is a fine example of how widening the lens through which we view the human past helps students and teachers make sense of all the myriad details and events of history in a way that is not overwhelming, but refreshing and enlightening.  The authors are all very experienced at considering the whole of the past, not just fragments of it, and in their introduction offer powerful endorsements the “big history” approach.
  • World History for Us All: World History for Us All is a national collaboration of K-12 teachers,
    collegiate instructors, and educational technology specialists. World History for Us All is a powerful, innovative model curriculum for teaching world history in middle and high schools.
  • Our Shared Past Grants: Together, the five winning projects will help lay the foundation for a growing coalition of scholars and teachers committed to improving and promoting the teaching of world history in schools throughout the US, UK and the Mediterranean region. Through curriculum development, course assessment and teacher training, the projects will help shift from an “us and them” approach to teaching world history to one that focuses on the rich economic, scientific, social and religious interplay between diverse cultures.


Session: The Future of AP History: Designing and Assessing a “Best Practices” History Curriculum
Presenters/Panel:   Allison ThurberTed Dickinson - Laura MitchellVictoria Thompson

Central Question(s): How has the College Board embraced historical thinking skills? In what ways are AP history courses changing?

Talking Points:  The College Board is on board with Historical Thinking Skills!  I love it. The US  and Europe course revisions include a theme placing those national/regional histories in a global context. Well done indeed.  These are praiseworthy changes and set a tone for advancing the possibilities of historical inquiry and argumentation.  I ask my students to identify a skill/skill set they want to develop in our history course. Often, this is a new request. Students typically enter the course feeling history is a luxury/requirement they will engage with via memorization and cute stories.  They come around, mostly. Likewise, teachers should be able to identify what skill/skill set their lessons are targeting for development.  In a content-first profession, this is a paradigm shift.  I agree… it is. And it is a much needed one.

Resources:

  • AP US History Redesign: The redesign of the AP U.S. History course and exam accomplishes two major goals. It maintains AP U.S. History’s strong alignment with the knowledge and skills taught in introductory courses at the college level. It also offers teachers the flexibility to focus on specific historical topics, events, and issues in depth. The redesigned course begins in fall 2014, and the first AP Exam based on the redesigned course will be administered in May 2015.
  • AP Euopean History Redesign: AP European History’s strong alignment with the knowledge and skills taught in introductory courses at the college level. They also offer teachers the flexibility to focus on specific historical topics, events, and issues in depth.The redesigned course begins in fall 2015, followed by the revised AP Exam in May 2016.
  • AP History Thinking Skills: New exams  will assess students’ application of the historical thinking skills (chronological reasoning, comparing and contextualizing, crafting historical arguments using historical evidence, and interpreting and synthesizing historical narrative) valued by colleges and universities as central to studying history.

 

Magritte’s Windows: Using Narrative, Connectivity, and History to Develop Students’ Worldview

November 24, 2013 by · No Comments · History and Social Studies Education, Instructional Practices

History and the “Past” aren’t synonyms. The past is the totality of time that occurs before the “Now.”As stated in the ubiquitous opening line of L. P. Hartley’s  novel The Go-Between, The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there.”  


Also, history is not an external truth to be memorized.  Have you heard student’s lament “Just tell us what to know (dates, events, and people please).” This passive posture is endemic. It is a major challenge to break down students’ perception of history as a course in memorization when that is the model of teaching used by colleagues.

History isn’t a timeline; a singular projection of events, people, groups etc. Chronology can give insight into a student’s understanding of the past, but it is not an elevated, critical thinking task.

History doesn’t repeat itself.  It doesn’t DO anything.  That is because history isn’t an external force, or a prime mover, or reified force. In addition, claims to inevitability as part of the human experience make me cringe.  (Next time you mess up, tell the authority “Well, sorry but it had to happen, my behavior was inevitable… I was just carrying out destiny’s will.  Let me know how that goes.).

So what is history?  History is a constructed understanding of the past. It is part of an individual or collective world view which changes over time due to experiences, perspectives, beliefs, hopes etc.   In turn, how we engage with the past, and recognizing  the meta-cognitive aspects of this venture, impacts our identity.  Indeed, recognizing an identity, memory, and history nexus  is an architecture for self-understanding.indexPaul

For students in high school, teaching history in this fashion, as a personal construction(which will change) based on experiences,  is an empowering methodology. Students learn to be critical about thought, media,and knowledge claims,  and invites embracing the possibilities of grayness and ambiguity.

One simple adjustment for teachers to utilize this teaching style is to alter their pedagogical language from declarative to inquisitive. “Here is what you need to know!” morphs into questions of inquiry.  An even better approach  is when questions are provocative. For example:

  • “If women were not allowed universal suffrage until the early 20th century, was the USA a democracy before then?”
  • “How can we call the US isolationist in the 1920s and 1930s if the US had active military actions in Latin America, Russia, and the Philippines?”
  • “If the Cold War was a conflict between communism and democracy, why would China (a communist nation) have better relations with the USA  than with the USSR in the 1970s?”

Try making your own questions. The key is to have them be open-ended and to utilize a “conceptual framework” for students to analyze.

Historical Thinking Skills (HTS)

Historical Thinking Skills are content specific applications of critical and creative thinking. Educators have an array of HTS models to select from.  Using them establishes a set of transferable skills to other content and life outside of the classroom.  Which set do you use or encourage history teachers to use? What are some other models not listed here?

There are some overlap of skills among these organizations. Regardless, they all talk to a constructivist (higher order thinking) approach to studying, imagining, and interpreting the past. Check them out and use them with you students.magritte

 

Magritte’s Windows: Do You See What I See?


What can Belgian surrealist Rene Magritte offer to history education? His series of “Window” paintings provide reminders about constructivism and studying the past.  Magritte noted “We see it outside ourselves, and at the same time we only have a representation of it in ourselves. In the same way, we sometimes situate in the past that which is happening in the present. Time and space thus lose the vulgar meaning that only daily experience takes into account.”magritte easel

Take a look at some of his window series (both the shattered windows and easel motifs).MagritteRene-Evening_Falls-We@SnF-1

Click here see my short screencast explaining the utility of Magritte’s window to teach history from a narrative constructivist approach. I contend that the shattered paintings also support the post-modern concept that “master narratives” no longer can hold as absolute truth claims.  Sorry national histories, you can’t/don’t get it all right.

 

Connectivism and History Education

History teachers need to know their content.  But they need to realize that,like the textbook, they are no longer the source nor are they the only source for knowledge of the past their students can access.   The past’s “bottle neck” of historical information has been democratized, mostly through the availability of technology.  A multitude of sources of information demands that teachers facilitate student access, evaluation, use, and creation of information. skills his is a singulart understanding with limitless projections, nodes, and interconnections.  This suggests that students be exposed to a variety of perspectives and sources as they construct their inter-conneted world view.

Growing up, this networked way of thinking about the past was explored in the television series Connections  hosted by James Burke. “Connections explores an “Alternative View of Change” (the subtitle of the series) that rejects the conventional linear and teleological view of historical progress. Burke contends that one cannot consider the development of any particular piece of the modern world in isolation. Rather, the entire gestalt of the modern world is the result of a web of interconnected events, each one consisting of a person or group acting for reasons of their own motivations (e.g., profit, curiosity, religious) with no concept of the final, modern result to which the actions of either them or their contemporaries would lead.” (view all episodes here!)

One of my favorite episodes, Revolutions, is here.  Prepared to be addicted…

 

Also, this type of understanding and world vids was  published  by the McNeil’s in the  Human Web (2003). web

“The general direction of history has been toward greater & greater social cooperation – both voluntary and compelled – driven by the realities of social competition. Over time, cooperating groups of every sort tended to grow in size to the point where their internal cohesion, their ability to communicate and conform, weakened and broke down.”
(McNeill & McNeill, p.6)

David Christian’s 2004 Maps of Time followed suit by introducing the concept of “Big History.”

“Metanarratives exist, they are powerful, and they are potent.  We may be able to domesticate them; but we will never eradicate them.  Besides, while grand narratives are powerful, subliminal grand narratives can be even more powerful.  Yet a maps of time‘modern creation myth’ already exists just below the surface of modern knowledge.  It exists in the dangerous form of poorly articulated and poorly understood fragments of modern knowledge that have undermined traditional accounts of reality without being integrated into a new vision of reality…schools to universities to research institutes… teach about origins in disconnected fragments.  We seem incapable of offering a unified account of how things came to be the way they are.” ”

The first week in November H2 (History Channel 2) aired Big History in two episodes, “Salt” (clip below), and “Horse Power Revolution.”

“In a big-history sense, New York City would not be the city that it is without salt,” says Mark Bitterman, author of “Salted: A Manifesto on the World’s Most Essential Mineral, With Recipes.”


The NYTimes predicted, “The program will probably find a home in many high school classrooms.”Odds are even higher as the curriculum  has the financial backing of Bill Gates,”“Big History is my favorite course of all time. It blurs the boundaries between science, geography and history and literally tells the story of the universe.” And now it is available online .  That is pretty amazing.

Exploring networks and teaching students to view history as a constructed and connected understanding of the past is the way the history should be taught in schools.  By emphasizing “narrative” as the interpretation of the past (with evidence to make your claim valid – see quote above)  students develop important, relevant skills using history content.  What a great way to study the past!

In short, instead of being graded on what you can look up, students are expected to present and support their understanding.

The 411 on 9-11: The Master(mind) Narrative

September 21, 2013 by · 1 Comment · Current Events, Global Education, History and Social Studies Education, Instructional Practices, Professional Development

The posting of this blog, one may think, is poorly timed.  Weeks too late as last month schools marked two global events which use in their moniker “9-11.” Still, both events, assuming classes are taught chronologically, will be relevant later in the school year, and therefore educators can learn from this post. Read on…

The other other 9-11?

The other other 9-11?

In September some students in the USA were taught about the USA’s supported military coup which overthrew Chilean President Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. “Because of CIA covert intervention in Chile, and the repressive character of General Pinochet’s rule, the coup became the most notorious military takeover in the annals of Latin American history.” The death of Allende yielded to the dictatorship of Augosoto Pinochet until 1990. US foreign policy in Latin America included supporting the policies of anti-democratic regimes.  According to the Washington Post, Pinochet’s brutal resume includes  the death of “at least 3,197 people and tortured about 29,000.”

Likewise, last month most schools in the US were taught that, twenty-eight years later, two passenger airliners were flown  by members of al-Qaeda, mostly from Saudi Arabia, into the iconic World Trade Center “Twin Towers” in New York City and one into the Pentagon near Washington D.C.  Nearly 3,000 people perished in the attacks, about 12% of the casualties were from outside of the USA. One outcome of the attacks was a proclaimed “War on Terror”  leading the US along a road which is  “in theory, an endless war –- a war that approaches something closer to a way of life.” It is important to remember the origin of the attackers.   Al Qaeda’s formation is traced back to the  late 1980′s, “As Soviet troops withdraw from Afghanistan, Osama Bin Laden and other Arab fighters from the US-backed Mujahideen movement form “al-Qaeda”, which in Arabic means “the base”.” 

The number of educational resources that have been created about the 9-11 attacks in 2001 is prolific. My previous blog post here focused on educational resources’ attention to the “why” and “what” of the 9-11 of 2001. This year, I want to examine the narrative that has been created in educational and media sources around the concept of the 9-11 “Mastermind”.  I argue that the educational resources are deficient in this area because of the fact that they incorrectly identify Osama Bin Laden as the “Mastermind”  of 9-11.  The “Mastermind” label, branded on Bin Laden, is presented as a  fact, an unchallengeable truth that is replicated and perpetuated in schools vis-a-vis “authoritative” curriculum materials.  Strangely enough, this Bin Laden-Mastermind connection exists despite ample evidence from multiple sources (presented below) that the Mastermind of the 9-11 attacks was Khalid Sheik Muhammad (KSM). The absurdity of KSM’s absence in 9-11 educational curriculum materials is magnified by the fact KSM is currently on trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba for being the Mastermind of 9-11!


 9-11 Resources

So, what is being celebrated by publishers and media as authoritative best practices for and content resources for  9-11?  A sample of materials is below. Are they in your department office or library? If so, I hope examine the narrative promoted by them and the evidence they emphasize.

  • New York Regent’s Exam Review Guide has no mention of Khalid Sheik Muhammad! Their entry for Osama Bin Laden supports the Bin Laden “Master Mind” claim: “Osama bin Laden: Saudi Arabian multimillionaire and leader of the terrorist organization al-Qaeda. He is responsible for numerous terrorist attacks on the United States including the destruction of the World Trade Center.

 

  •  Social Studies Services:  Their binder consists of a range of materials, lessons, and sources to be used in class and is “suitable for assemblies.” The resource is an impressive collection and aspires to laudable goals: “Relying on open-ended inquiry, activities also prompt students to interpret photographs, video footage, and oral histories; and to document their findings by means such as Google Earth and a timeline.” Samples can be seen here.   The most promising resource is the “Student Handout: Activity2 Timelines pp 28-33.  Osama Bin Laden is mentioned over a dozen times and Timothy McVeigh once. But they fall short of mentioning KSM even once.
  • Hippocampus:  This is an amazing site.  “HippoCampus.org is a free, core academic web site that delivers rich multimedia content–videos, animations, and simulations–on general education subjects to middle-school and high-school teachers and college professors, and their students, free of charge.”  Their History selections, despite not having a World History offering, boasts regular and AP level content.  9-11 is housed in the “Bush and Obama” unit under two sections:”Reaction to 9/11″ and “Domestic Response to 9/11″.  KSM is absent.  Bin Laden gets a photo opportunity.

Hippocampus 2

  • The History Channel:  The have extensive resources – videos, interactives, timelines, photos- on 9-11. The Osama Bin Laden  entry identifies him as the mastermind, “On this day in 2011, Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, is killed by U.S. forces during a raid on his compound hideout in Pakistan.  Search History.com’s website for Khalid Sheik Muhammad and you get  ZERO results.  Search “Ice Road Truckers” or “Swamp People” and you get over 28,000 results…for each of them! Oh History channel, how you are misnamed!
  • CNN:  Think about it. When did you realize CNN’s reporting moved from news coverage to info-tainment.  I think it was the late 90′s, but that is just a guess.  Their timeline of 9-11, updated on 9-11-2013, has no reference to KSM!  Bin Laden is still identified as the “mastermind”, “This terrorist attack on the United States is orchestrated by al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.”  However, most ridiculously, CNN still lists the Dec 2001 Bin Laden Confession Tape as a viable part of the narrative “December 13, 2001 – The U.S. government releases a tape in which Osama bin Laden takes responsibility for the attacks.”  They fail to mention that this tape came under heavy scrutiny from international media and research organizations.
  • Digital History: This online US History survey course has an impressive backing of sponsors.  The goal of the project  is also This Web site was designed and developed to support the teaching of American History in K-12 schools and colleges and is supported by the College of Education at the University of Houston. Overall this is an impressive project with some expanded features. However, the final unit”The 21st Century” includes a quiz on 9-11.  Looking at question 3 below, you should figure out where I am going with this:

3. The mastermind behind the terrorist attack was

a. Timothy McVeigh                    b. Saddam Hussein                     c. Osama Bin Laden

I emailed them about this, but never received a response. What a surprise.

KSM, the Mastermind of 9-11, 2001

I lay it out there, Khalid Sheik Muhammad is the master mind of  9-11. Osama Bin Laden is not the mastermind behind 9-11.  Therefore, any educational material, standards, test, curriculum, etc, that professes Bin Laden is, needs to explain its stance KSM-w-620x349against the sources below.  As you review them, please remember, I am arguing that the narrative about the 9-11 Mastermind found in current curriculum resources are faulty,  misleading, numbing, and a gross dis-service to the students, teachers, and education profession.

I offer evidence that questions  and contradicts those resources.  Review them yourself.  Come to your own conclusion. Let me know what you think.

  • The New Yorker Magazine:   In 2010, groups protested the idea of putting KSM on trial in NYC (remember that?).  “Greg Manning, whose wife, Laura, was severely burned in the World Trade Center attacks, stood before the crowd and said, “Thousands are already dead because of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s choices…There’s a place for the courts, but not for the mastermind of 9/11.”
  • The Daily News: Maybe the title says it all “Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, 9/11 mastermind, allowed to build vacuum in CIA prison.”  Maybe not.   But it is hard to ignore this claim written in July 2013.  Too new? Read on…
  • 2007 Military Tribunal Transcript: I guess we forget that these documents are, at least theoretically, our possessions.  Regardless, this 2007 transcript offers a bit to read about KSM and his role in 9-11.  He, and his personal representative, profess “I hereby admit and affirm without duress… I was responsible for the  9/11 operation A to Z”
  • Wikilieaks:  This memo of “Combatant Status Review” of September 4, 2006  signed by Rear Admiral Harry Harris Jr. is telling. that KSM was the Mastermind of 9-11.   Page 5… “Detainee was the mastermind of the 11September 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”  Read for yourself.
  • 9-11 Commission Report:  I guess this is the smoking gun, if there is to be one.  The US committee  announced, in 2002, that KSM was the mastermind of 9-11. The group was “an independent, bipartisan commission created by congressional legislation and the signature of President George W. Bush in late 2002, is chartered to prepare a full and complete account of the circumstances surrounding the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, including preparedness for and the immediate response to the attacks. The Commission is also mandated to provide recommendations designed to guard against future attacks.”  They explicitly state “No one exemplifies the model of the terrorist entrepreneur more clearly than Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal architect of the 9/11 attacks.”

 

The Atlantic  Monthly ran this title in 2012″How the FBI, CIA, and Pakistani intelligence worked together — or didn’t — in the global hunt for the mastermind behind September 11, 2001″… Everything the Americans could rustle up pointed to Karachi. Every source and bit of information said Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was operating out of the capital of Pakistan’s Wild West…

So, where does that leave the us?  Survey your colleagues. Ask them who is Khalid Sheikh Mohammad?  Ask them who is the “Mastermind of 9-11″?  Review the material you use and the narrative about 9-11.  Weigh the evidence and ask why is KSM not in the narratives, standards,  and curriculum materials for high school students.

 

I would like to end by noting another type of narrative around 9-11.   Both TED videos detail attempts at creating meaningful interpretations of what happened on 9-11.  It is important that these messages are in the public sphere, the collective conscious.  Take a look and see how they impact your view of 9-11.  These voices, emphasizing a social historical approach,  remind us that world events and globalization networks are never one-way avenues of “Them” causing harm to “Us.”

Enjoy.

Photography, War, and Worldview: Where DBQs and Media Literacy Meet

September 5, 2013 by · 2 Comments · Current Events, Global Education, History and Social Studies Education, Instructional Practices

I recently visited the Corcoran Gallery of Art located in Washington D.C. to see the exhibit “WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath” on view until September 29th.  The exhibit is on tour, organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.  Its overview description states:

“Images recorded by more than 280 photographers, from 28 nations, span 6 continents and more than 165 years, from the Mexican-American War in the mid-1800s to present-day conflicts. Iconic photographs as well as previously unknown images are featured, taken by military photographers, commercial photographers (portrait and photojournalist), amateurs, and artists. The exhibition examines the relationship between war and photography, exploring the types of photographs created during wartime, as well as by whom and for whom. Images are arranged to show the progression of war: from the acts that instigate armed conflict to “the fight,” to victory and defeat, and photos that memorialize a war, its combatants, and its victims. Portraits of servicemen, military and political leaders, and civilians are a consistent presence.”

I urge you to attend this exhibit if it comes close to you.  If that isn’t possible, watch the promo video below, read the BBC report, and/or take a virtual tour online.

The exhibit was fantastic. It stimulated a mix of emotional and intellectual responses: beautiful, sad, horrifying, motivating, agitating, challenging, clarifying… The combination was something I wasn’t expecting.  One section of the tour was overwhelming and I had to leave it for a moment to recenter.  The exhibit. I thought, was leaving its mark upon me.

Numerous images continue to reverberate in my mind and remain vivid memories. This was my favorite picture -   A wristwatch frozen in time, 11:02 a.m.  marking the explosion of the Nagasaki Bomb on August 9, 1945. It was found under a mile from the explosion’s epicenter. Chilling.

Nagasaki watch

 

So how does this relate to  teaching and education.  This exhibit, and others like it,  represents  the heart of social studies/history education - it helps form an individual’s world view.  I firmly believe  that a major purpose of learning about the past (history), the humanities, and social sciences to be an existential enterprise.  The existential practices  students engage with include:

  • conceptual learning
  • questioning
  • researching their interests
  • reflecting and investigating personal and social beliefs and conclusions
  • developing new information and processes
  • seeking new experiences

The ultimate goal of this model of teaching and learning is the construction of a personal worldview (which will change overtime).

That is a powerful educational outcome!  (And a definite characteristic of 21st century learning). What other fields claim this as an objective?

Let’s explore a little further using contemporary education parlance,.”WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath” provides the opportunity for students to engage with content and demonstrate critical/creative thinking by combining media literacy and document based questions.  (whew!) Let’s explore these two ideas:

1) Medial Literacy:The ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE, and COMMUNICATE information in a variety of forms-is interdisciplinary by nature. Media literacy represents a necessary, inevitable, and realistic response to the complex, ever-changing electronic environment and communication cornucopia that surround us.

To become a successful student, responsible citizen, productive worker, or competent and conscientious consumer, individuals need to develop expertise with the increasingly sophisticated information and entertainment media that address us on a multi-sensory level, affecting the way we think, feel, and behave.

The Center for Media Literacy has numerous resources and opportunities. I think this image does a great job explaining the concept too.

medialit_infographic

 

2) Document Based Questions (DBQ):  Are typically an essay or series of short-answer questions that is constructed by students using one’s own knowledge combined with support from several provided sources.

AP courses use them stating, “the DBQ typically requires students to relate the documents to a historical period or theme and thus to focus on major periods and issues. For this reason, outside knowledge — information gained from materials other than the documents — is very important and must be incorporated into your essay if the highest scores are to be earned.”  Similarly, IB history courses also use DBQs.  The suggested strategy for students analyzing DBQs is the OPVL approach (Origin -Purpose – Value – Limitations).

However, DBQs are not just for students in advanced courses.  Notably, the Regents Exam uses them. Their approach, less analytical than the IB, focuses on preparation and structure stressing “Before actually writing the DBQ essay, one should analyze the task and organize the information that they wish to include in the essay response…carefully read the historical context and the task. Look for clues that will help identify which historical era(s) the DBQ is focusing on, and the information required to thoroughly address the task.”

The DBQ Project co founders Chip Brady and Phil Roden  (now in their 13th year) state “we believe that all students can develop high-level critical thinking skills if they have consistent instruction and a chance to practice. Our engaging questions and use of primary and secondary sources give students the opportunity to investigate history from a variety of perspectives.  Our flexible pedagogy supports discussion and debate as students clarify their own ideas and write evidence-based arguments.”

The DBQ Project provides outstanding resources and professional development. In my experience they have been a model of effective history education.

The DBQ resources and approaches have become common curriculum features.  Organizations have regularly include them in their curriculum materials. But is is also a good strategy for students and teachers to create their own.

Some guidelines are here and here and here.  A Prezi about the process is below.


World View

One  observation I have about DBQs is that they rarely, at least in my experience, utilize contemporary pworldview1hotography.  I imagine this is partly due to perceived content restrictions. However, consider the larger claims voiced by whatever content standards you use.  Using photographs like the ones in  “WAR/PHOTOGRAPHY: Images of Armed Conflict and Its Aftermath”   have students explore their understanding  of big ideas and concepts. These skills, in turn, help students construct their world view.  In other words, the DBQ approach can be used as a meta-cognitive task. Teachers may already do this. If you do please let me know….

In the end I believe this existential objective should be an explicit  and intentional part  of the DBQ process used in social studies and history classes. Set the bar high for your students and make your DBQs relevant with contemporary images.  Considering the current realities of war and conflict, media literacy is a skill which needs attention.  The photos at the Corcoran exhibit will leave a profound impact on students and expose them to realities of war hidden from them in mainstream media. I hope you try this exercise at least once this school year.

Heard of a van that is loaded with weapons
Packed up and ready to go
Heard of some grave sites, out by the highway
A place where nobody knows

The sound of gunfire, off in the distance
I’m getting used to it now
Lived in a brownstone, I lived in the ghetto
I’ve lived all over this town

This ain’t no party, this ain’t no disco
This ain’t no fooling around
No time for dancing, or lovey dovey
I ain’t got time for that now

The song’s full lyrics are here

 

 

 

 

 

 

A (Potential) Cure for the Summertime Blues

August 8, 2013 by · 1 Comment · History and Social Studies Education, Instructional Practices, Professional Development

Hall of Famer Eddie Cochran, and musicians after him covering his iconic rock and roll hit, claimed that there “Ain’t No Cure for the Summertime Blues.”  As we approach mid-August, that end-of-summer-break-sensation starts to creep into our minds as well as the realization that the annual return to the classroom is on the horizon.

This post offers a remedy of sorts for those summertime, back-to-school, blues.  No, it isn’t a suggested career change or an extended excursion (this would be avoidance). Rather, the post is a dose of excitement, motivation, and awareness for your consideration and exploration.  Inspiration comes from all sources and is all around us. Checkout this  excerpt (including part of the poem Los Heraldos Negros (The Black Messengers) by Cesar Vallejos) featured in the film Girl Rising:

NARRATOR “In a lot of the world, school is free. Parents don’t just have to pay for school. They have to buy books and uniforms. Sometimes, they pay for exams and report cards. For millions of families, it is simply too much.

A girl born on planet today has a one and fourth chance of being born into poverty. And a very good school, that is where she will stay.

But the right education could change all that. Knowledge is power, just ask Senna.

SENNA, 14-years-old “Reciting Text”: The Black Heralds, by the great poet Cesar Vallejo.

There are blows in life, so powerful . . . I don’t know!
Blows as from God’s hatred; as if before them,
the backlash of everything suffered
were to dam up in the soul . . . I don’t know!

The first time I read that it took my breath away. The rhythm of it, the force. For me, it was unforgettable.”

What blows will come this school year?  How will you and your students respond to them? How tuned in are you? How do you frame teaching, the  profession, the experience? Can you explain your educational philosophy?

I suggest looking at these resources below and leave a comment in the morning. ;)  Enjoy!

Blogs (I focused on Social Studies/History Blogs)

  • History Tech:You’ll find all sorts of ideas, tools, and best practices in the social studies here at History Tech. So feel free to browse around, subscribe to the feed, or leave a comment.
  • World History Teachers Blog: This is a  webpage written by high school teachers for those who teach world history and want to find online content as well as technology that you can use in the classroom.  There are sister blogs about US History and US Government as well.
  • Not Another History Teacher:  Melissa Seideman teaches 11th grade U.S. History, 12th grade Government/Economics, and AP Government and Politics in Cold Spring, NY. Her goal is for her blog to provide teachers with resources that can excite a student’s love of learning. Technology can meet student needs, engages them, and help them to be the best learner they can be.
  • The MiddleWeb:  all about the middle grades with a sharp focus on teaching and learning in grades 4-8. Since 1996, we’ve been providing resources for teachers, school leaders, parents and others interested in the success of young adolescents. In 2012, they completely redesigned the website around four streams of original content.
  • World Religions Blog: This is a blog by high school teachers for those who teach World Religions and want to find online content and technology.
  • Mr. Martera Musings: World History & International Relations Teacher at University School of Milwaukee, Martera writes “Being creative and making things keeps me happy.”

 

Federal Initiatives

  • Connected Educators:In collaboration with a wide range of educational organizations and educators, the Connected Educators project is increasing the quality, accessibility, and connectedness of existing and emerging online communities of practice.
  • The Institute of Education Sciences: provides rigorous and relevant evidence on which to ground education practice and policy and share this information broadly. By identifying what works, what doesn’t, and why, we aim to improve educational outcomes for all students, particularly those at risk of failure. We are the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, and by law our activities must be free of partisan political influence.
  • US Department of State Office of the Historian: The Office’s public outreach activities include hosting scholarly conferences on key issues in the history of U.S. foreign policy, answering historical research  questions, consulting with scholars, educators, and students, and working with high school teachers across the country to provide high-quality materials for classroom use.

Fueling the Passion

  • EdWeek Professional Development Index: Whoa! Check it out.  From “About Japan” to “Zane Education.”  And that is just for the History/Social Studies filter. There has got to be something for you.
  • Teaching American History:  The website redesign is indeed more attractive.  Did you know they have a free online Saturday Webinar Series?
  • Geoffrey Canada: Our failing schools. Enough is enough! : Why, why, why does our education system look so similar to the way it did 50 years ago? Millions of students were failing then, as they are now — and it’s because we’re clinging to a business model that clearly doesn’t work. Education advocate Geoffrey Canada dares the system to look at the data, think about the customers and make systematic shifts in order to help greater numbers of kids excel.
  • Write your Teaching Philosophy: Your teaching philosophy is a reflection of your education and classroom experience, developed during college or graduate school, and in the classrooms where you have taught.  Take time to write or revise your philosophy statement.
  • The UN Global Education Initiative:

    The Global Education First Initiative is led by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon. It gathers a broad spectrum of world leaders and advocates who all aspire to use the transformative power of education to build a better future for all.

    The Initiative aims to raise the political profile of education, strengthen the global movement to achieve quality education and generate additional and sufficient funding through sustained advocacy efforts.  Achieving gains in education will have an impact on all the Millennium Development Goals, from lower child and maternal mortality, to better health, higher income and more environmentally-friendly societies.

     

    Perspective:

On an existential note, if none of these links act as cures for the summertime blues, you can always find another.  Eddie Cochran couldn’t.  He died in 1960 at 21 in a car accident in the UK while on tour. Tragic indeed.  “Summertime Blues” was ranked number 73 in Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Cochran’s short life provides some perspective that I always found useful right around the start of the school year.  So does this recent discovery; the children’s cook Zoom by Hungarian illustrator Istvan Banyai.

So, don’t forget to smile at the start of the school year.  Who would you  actually be impacting if you waited until winter break?

Classroom Design + Best Instructional Practices = A Buffet of Learning Experiences

July 5, 2013 by · No Comments · Instructional Practices, Online Education, Professional Development, Web 2.0

Best practices in education can be ephemeral or dismissed as old practices in new clothing (titles, jargon, rationale).  Hkindergartneowever, I believe it is important to develop, and periodically reflect upon, one’s own educational philosophy and repertoire.  To this end, I consider the values of student options and choice, content variety, skill development, and frequent  student- teacher interaction to be valuable qualities in secondary social studies and history  classrooms.  To find the best instructional practice which synthesizes these educational aspects is not difficult. In fact, all we have to do is look in our past – to kindergarten.

Well, maybe not everything was learned, and certainly not just in kindergarten. The point is  that the instructional practices  on the  “Buffet of Learning Experiences” menu (Station/Rotation and Learning Zones) are staples in elementary schools, common in middle schools and (unfortunately) endangered/extinct in high schools.  The typical responses when asked about there absence in high schools have claimed teacher control issues, preparing students for college teaching, and lack of space. What’s more, when I see these approaches used in high school, the classes are marked by a dynamism and engagement which are indicative of great teaching and learning.  Just take a look at what can be learned at a buffet!

 

The two models described below require an intentional and dedicated level of planning, flexibility, and knowledge of content.  Moreover, teachers have to be willing to decenter themselves a bit. Total control and the idea that they are the center of all content knowledge is anti-thetical to these practices.  Teachers  are still “in control” of the class, but not the lecture, power point “you need to know this from me” control. Using  Station/Rotation and Learning Zones elevates the role of the teacher to instructional designer, learning facilitator, and content resource.  Lastly, it is important to note that these instructional practices should be done frequently and not treated as rare events or the alternative.  Station/Rotation and Learning Zones builds a  learning culture that celebrates student accountability, investigation, collaboration,. communication, creativity, and critical thinking (sound familiar?). These are all great things in education.

Eat up and come back for more!

 

Station/Rotation Models

This style of learning is so much fun.  Students would enter our classroom and rarely would they see the same setup two days in a row.  Chairs and desks were reconfigured for the class.  Students became familiar with the settings and help me transform our room from a Pink Floyd dystopian nightmare…

floyd

…to an active learning environment.

Checkout the two models below.  What would you change?  How many stations would you have? How big are the groups?

station rotation model 2.gif

 

 

 

station rotation model 1

A major question asks “what to do at each station?”  Below is a suggested list with short descriptions for each:

  • žTextbook Use Area – Students read, review or engage with sections of the textbook.
  • žWriting/Editing Area- Students write, self -edit, peer edit, practice a writing skill.
  • žComputer Area – Especially good if you have limited computers. Explore a website, research etc.
  • žPrimary Source Area- Analyze, discuss, do a DBQ, create a DBQ,
  • žVisual Area- Focus on cartoons, maps, infographics, charts etc
  • Media Area- Listen to a podcast, Ted Video, PPT etc
  • žDiscussion Area- a mini deliberation about a topic.  Students summarize main points
  • žTeacher Feedback Area-  Feedback on projects, grades, National History Day work etc.
  • žTeacher Instruction Area- A mini-lecture or clarification of unit, chapter content
  • žStudent Reflection Area- Metacognition exercises, Apply to the present, what did I learn comments
  • žQuestion Generating Area- Students come up with inquiries and practice how to dissect an issue with questions
  • Other -Sky is the limit… have fun inventing some

Needless to say, keep in mind that directions at each area should be clear and doable in the time allotted.  Teacher’s need not have their own station and can be on call as needed.  Lastly, be sure to identify the outcome of each station – this is the accountability part!

Learning Zones

This approach turns your class into a learning  lab.  Like above,  each zone’s experiences need to be clearly described. The main difference is that their is no set rotation.  Students move freely.  This can cause congestion.  But you can create a max time in a zone or a capacity number.  You can also say that students need to visit 4 of the 5 zones giving them an option. I suggest trying this for a week or two straight or for a full unit morphing your classroom into …

Thinking Zones

For more information on the Zone approach checkout: Bray and McClaskey “Six Steps to Personalize Learning” Learning and Leading. ISTE. May 2013 Issue. Their website is located here.

 

Consider reconfiguring the zones in the model above as activity stations from the list above and you have created a whole new buffet menu!

 

Classroom Layout

What is your classroom like? Is it inspiring? Welcoming? Do you display student work and opportunities? Does it show expectations and goals?

These three articles below discuss the claim:  “The layout of your classroom can have a serious impact on the way you teach and the way your students learn.”

 

Keys to Good Classroom Arrangement​

  • Avoid unnecessary congestion in high-traffic areas.
  • Consider potential distractions: windows, doors, etc.
  • Always have a clear view of students.
  • Verify that all students can see you, instructional displays (e.g., chalkboard) and daily assignments (weekly, if possible). Use walls and bulletin boards to display rules, procedures, assigned duties, a calendar, schedule, student work and extra-credit activities.
  • Place learning areas so students can move from one to another with little or no disruption. Leave walking space around students’ desks.
  • Avoid placing learning centers and work areas in “blind corners.”
  • Place storage space and necessary materials so they are easily accessible.
  • Arrange students’ desks in rows facing instructional areas until you’ve learned their names, work habits and personal traits.
  • Check all electrical equipment to be sure it works and learn how to use the equipment before using it in class.

Things to Consider

1. Where will your desk be?

2. How many student classroom desks do you need?

3. What classroom seating arrangement of the desks will you use; for example, groups,rows, U shapes, rows but in groups,etc?

4. Will you have any classroom computers? Where will you put the classroom computer tables?

5. Will you have a carpeted area, away from the students’ desks, where you can all come together for classroom meetings,etc.?

6. What other additional classroom furniture such as filing cabinets, bookshelves,working tables will there be?

7. How many classroom bulletin boards will you have?

8. What other classroom display ideas are swimming around in your head?

 

Tools that let you design your classroom (These are really fun)

Identifying the “Why” in Education -10 Theories For Educators to Know, Apply, and Share

June 16, 2013 by · 1 Comment · Conferences, History and Social Studies Education, Online Education, Professional Development

Throughout this past school, the concept of “starting with the “Why” has consistently appeared in various settings.  The mantra is emphasized in meetings,  promoted by AVID leadership in our county,  referenced at the NCSS meeting in Seattle, and is a guiding principle around professional development.  At the orientation meeting for judges at the the National History Day tournament, an explanation of “Why” was used identifying  our TheGoldenCirclecollective enjoyment of history and support for students’ engaging with the past. I researched the concept and its “Golden Circle” approach to leadership.  Applying this to education is, I argue, is essential to the professionalism and artistry of our field.  We should all be able to answer the “Why” for our personal practices, content area, school mission, and national purpose… and provide that answer to our students and their parents.

Now that summer is upon us, it is a perfect time to reflect on the Why.
The Golden Circle

Beginning as a student in anthropology, Simon Sinek turned his fascination with people into a career of convincing people to do what inspires them. His earliest work was in advertising, moving on to start Sinek Partners in 2002, but he suddenly lost his passion despite earning solid income. Through his struggle to rediscover his excitement about life and work, he made some profound realizations and began his helping his friends and their friends to find their “why” — at first charging just $100, person by person. Never planning to write a book, he penned Start With Why simply as a way to distribute his message

 

The 10 theories below are obviously not a comprehensive list.  They represent what happens to be synthesizing in my current experiences, reading, and discussions with colleagues and my PLN.  They help me answer the Why which in turn guide the How and What of history and social studies education. What theories would you add to the list?  What do you think of these?  Enjoy!

 

  1. Carol DweckMind Set :
    Mindset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck in decades of research on achievement and mindsetsuccess—a simple idea that makes all the difference.In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.Teaching a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports. It enhances relationships.

Test your Mindset here!

 

2. Daniel GolemanEmotional Intelligence:   The phrase, or its casual shorthand EQ, argues that IQ, or conventional intelligence, is too narrow; that there are wider areas of Emotional Intelligence that dictate and EQ at workenable how successful we are. Success requires more than IQ (Intelligence Quotient), which has tended to be the traditional measure of intelligence, ignoring essential behavioural and character elements. We’ve all met people who are academically brilliant and yet are socially and inter-personally inept. And we know that despite possessing a high IQ rating, success does not automatically follow.

“Most gratifying for me has been how ardently the concept has been embraced by educators, in the form of programs in “social and emotional learning or SEL. Back in 1995 I was able to find only a handful of such programs teaching emotional intelligence skills to children. Now, a decade later, tens of thousands of schools worldwide offer children SEL. In the United States many districts and even entire states currently make SEL curriculum requirement, mandating that just as students must attain a certain level of competence in math and language, so too should they master these essential skills for living.”


3. Sugata Mitra – Minimally Invasive Education:  MIE is a pedagogic method that uses the learning environment to generate an adequate level of motivation to induce learning in groups of children, with minimal, or no, intervention by a teacher.  Mitra suggests this approach develops “functional literacy” in students and demands reflection on how time and money  is being spent in education: “If computer literacy is defined as turning a computer on and off and doing the basic functions, then this method allows that kind of computer literacy to be achieved with no formal instruction. Therefore any formal instruction for that kind of education is a waste of time and money. You can use that time and money to have a teacher teach something else that children cannot learn on their own.” 

Minimally Invasive Education in school asserts there are many ways to study and learn. It argues that learning is a process you do, not a process that is done to you. Another advantage is that MIE ensures that children themselves take ownership of the Learning Station by forming self-organized groups who learn on their own. Finally an unsupervised setting ensures that the entire process of learning is learner-centric and is driven by a child’s natural curiosity.

Mitra has recently announced the Self Organized Learning Environment (SOLE).  SOLE is a place where children can work in groups, access the internet and other software, follow up on a class activity or project or take them where their interests lead them.  Download the toolkit and try it out.


4. Phil SchlectlyEngagement Theory:  Schlectly focuses attention on student motivation and the strategies needed to increase the engagementprospect that schools and teachers will be positioned to increase the presence of engaging tasks and activities in the routine life of the school. The Theory of Engagement proceeds from a number of assumptions. The most critical ones focus on the way school tasks and activities are designed and student decisions regarding the personal consequences of doing the task assigned or participating in the activity.  The use of technology, although commonly supposed, is not a requirement for Schlectly’s theory. In fact,  the technology – engagement relationship has spawned its own body of research and literature. In turn, the theory looks at the effectiveness of teachers leading students through discussions and action planning.  Letting students take control of their learning, and use the school as a network, would definitely be a step in a different direction.  Schlectly also mentions “that relationships, and the work assigned directly impacts student’s performance.”

 

5. Paulo FreireCritical Pedagogy: Critical Pedagogy is a domain of education and research that studies the social, cultural, political, economic, and cognitive dynamics of teaching and learning. Critical Pedagogy emphasizes the impact of power relationships in the educational process. Emerging in the late 1960s with the work of Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, Critical Pedagogy has evolved as a cross-disciplinary field. “Critical Pedagogy would never find it sufficient to reform the habits of thought of thinkers, however effectively, without challenging and transforming the institutions, ideologies, and relations that engender distorted, oppressed thinking in the first place — not as an Freireadditional act beyond the pedagogical one, but as an inseparable part of it. The method of Critical Pedagogy for Freire involves, to use his phrase, “reading the world” as well as “reading the word” (Freire & Macedo 1987). Part of developing a critical consciousness, as noted above, is critiquing the social relations, social institutions, and social traditions that create and maintain conditions of oppression. For Freire, the teaching of literacy is a primary form of cultural action, and as action it must “relate speaking the word to transforming reality”(Freire 1970a, 4).

 

 

 

6. George SiemensConnectivismAt the core, connectivism is a form of experiential learning which prioritizes the set of connections formed by actions and experience over the idea that knowledge is propositional. It shares with some other theories a core proposition, that knowledge is not acquired, as though it were a thing. Knowledge is, on this theory, literally the set of connections formed by actions and experience.  One aspect of connectivism is its central metaphor of a network with nodes and connections.In this metaphor, a node is anything that can be connected to another node such as an organization, information, data, feelings and images. Connectivism sees learning as the process of creating connections and elaborating a network. Not all connections are of equal strength.

The starting point of connectivism is the individual. Personal knowledge is comprised of a network, which feeds into organizations and institutions, which in turn feed back into the network, and then continue to provide learning to individual. This cycle of knowledge development (personal to network to organization) allows learners to remain current in their field through the connections they have formed.

7. Lev VykotskySocial Constructivis Theory:  Vykotsky, when juxtaposed to Piaget, emphasized the social interactions between students and teachers.  In short positive relationships are significant to learning.

His Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and More Knowledgeable Other (MKO) are two of Vykotsky’s major legacies found in contemporary education. ZPD addresses the difference between what a child can achieve independently and what a child can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner. Vykotsky sees the area in the ZPD as where the most sensitive instruction or guidance should be given – allowing the child to develop skills they will then use on their own – developing higher mental functions.

Vygotsky believed during the learning process children first learn by imitating adults. In the beginning, children are unable to complete a particular task without assistance. Over time, this child may be able to complete more complex tasks with adult assistance because the ZPD of a child isn’t stagnant, it continuously changes as he or she conquers increasingly difficult work over time. Focusing more on education, ZPD can be useful to educators because it should remind them how students can be expanded to reach goals with or without adult direction and support. This is often referred to as “Scaffolding.”

The MKO strongly relates to ZPD: “it refers to someone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept.

Although the implication is that the MKO is a teacher or an older adult, this is not necessarily the case.  Many times, a child’s peers or an adult’s children may be the individuals with more knowledge or experience. In fact, the MKO need not be a person at all (website, video).   The key to MKOs is that they must have (or be programmed with) more knowledge about the topic being learned than the learner does.”


8. Gary Marx16 Trends: Sixteen Trends … Their Profound Impact on Our Future, and Future Focused Leadership … Preparing Schools, Students, and Communities for Tomorrow’s Realities, lays out evidence for major trends and then speculates on their profound implications for society at large and education systems, such as schools and colleges, in particular.  He adds, “We have a distinct choice–we can simply defend what we have…or we can create what we need to get our students, our schools, and our communities ready for a fast-changing world.”

His new book will build upon his 16 trends.  Marx states “The next generation in the trends series focuses on political, economic, social, technological, demographic, and environmental trends. Among more than 20 societal forces that will get special attention in the upcoming book are identity and privacy, sustainability, scarcity vs. abundance, and energy. They are in addition to dramatic developments in aging, diversity, the flow of generations, technology, interdependence, and the environment, to name a few. Massive trends that impact the whole of society provide an outstanding launch pad for active learning, project-based education, real-world education, teaching thinking and reasoning/problem solving skills, and learning through inquiry. Students are drawn to using futures tools, such as trend analysis, issue analysis, and gap analysis because each one comes with an invitation to consider implications for shaping their own futures. The new book will be published by Education Week Press.

16Marx

9. Howard GardnerMultiple Intelligences:  Arguably the most influential educational movement of recent educational practice, MI has had to contend against rampant misconcpetions and faculty application of Gardner’s theory.  I have come across this numerous times in my career. So, please, be on guard when practioners reference Gardner. Gardner defined the first seven intelligences in Frames of Mind in 1983.  He added two more, Naturalist and Existentialist,  in Intelligence Reframed in 1999.  “Based on his study of many people from many different walks of life in everyday circumstances and professions, Gardner developed the theory of multiple intelligences. Gardner’s MI Theory challenged traditional beliefs in the fields of education and cognitive science.  According to a traditional definition, intelligence is a uniform cognitive capacity people are born with.  This capacity can be easily measured by short-answer tests.  According to Gardner, intelligence is:

  • The ability to create an effective product or offer a service that is valued in a culture9_MI
  • A set of skills that make it possible for a person to solve problems in life
  • The potential for finding or creating solutions for problems, which involves gathering new knowledge

In addition, Gardner claims that:

  • All human beings possess all intelligences in varying amounts
  • Each person has a different intellectual composition
  • We can improve education by addressing the multiple intelligences of our students
  • These intelligences are located in different areas of the brain and can either work independently or together
  • These intelligences may define the human species
  • Multiple intelligences can be nurtured and strengthened, or ignored and weakened
  • Each individual has nine intelligences (and maybe more to be discovered)

 

 

10. Benjamin Bloom/Lorin Anderson – Revised Taxonomy:  “In 1956, Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. During the 1990′s a new group of cognitive psychologists, lead by Lorin Andersonblooms_gears_ipad_720x952-2cpl0pd1 (a former student of Bloom), updated the taxonomy to reflect relevance to 21st century work. The change from nouns to verbs associated with each level is significant.”   It is important to know that the list of action words that are typically associated with each level does not guarantee that students are engaged at that level.  Specific expectations and follow up questioning is essential to the process.  For example, asking students to “Compare and Contrast two images”  does not automatically place student thought at the “Analysis” level.  More is needed from the teacher.  For example “Compare and Contrast two images.  Explain your 3-4 findings that address the economic and social contexts of both images. Which do you find more appealing and why?”

Debate about the need to master a lower level of the taxonomy prior to advancing to the next one is prevalent.   Can student’s engage with a higher level first or is the lowest level the entry point for Bloom?  My belief is yes students can be engaged at higher levels first. In fact the “hierarchy” dimension of Bloom has been challenged and conceived as a fluid network of thought and action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Memento Mori – Memorial Day Reminders to Live By

May 27, 2013 by · 1 Comment · Global Education, History and Social Studies Education, Professional Development

Happy Start to the 2013 Summer.

I am big on reminders in life that remind us to live our lives actively and with perspective. The part of the title of this post“Mememto Mori” ((Latin ‘remember that you will die) is one of those reminder for me. From  wikipedia – ” Popular belief says the phrase originated in ancient Rome: as a Roman general was parading through the streets during a victory triumph, standing behind him was his slave, tasked with reminding the general that, although at his peak today, tomorrow he could fall, or — more likely — be brought down. The servant is thought to have conveyed this with the warning, “Memento mori”  Likewise, Albert Camus’ existential philosophy stressed that there is really only one main question in our lives: “Why should I not kill myself?”  As he says in The Rebel, “the absurd is an experience that must be lived through, a point of departure, the equivalent, in existence, of Descartes’s methodical doubt.”  If you want some summer beach reading from Camus, my favorite is The Fall.

This past week has provided multiple reminders and reflections on life, memory, and global perspectives. I would like to share a few of them from a beach on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.  As the sign in my guest room says “If you’re lucky enough to be at the beach,you’re lucky enough.” I hope these three reminders resonate with you on some level.

beachkite

I feel like I could do this and play chess at the same time…

  A. The PAST – Memory and War – Teachers. Who among you assign’s students WV Senator Robert Byrd’s speeches in 2003 regarding the United State’s invasion of Iraq? Give them a read. Consider them for your primary source cache and

document based questions.  How important is the voice of dissent in US History? (I assign Dissent in America:Voices That Shaped a Nation to my undergraduate students and believe Byrd’s speeches could be added to update Dissent in three American wars).Remember, threat of invasion sparked a record setting number of protests; the most ever seen in world history.  Byrd’s two speeches, given towards the end of his 57 years of service are classic post 9/11 texts.

  • “Sleepwalking Through History” -speech given on Feb 12th, 2003.
    “Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent — ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war.”
  • “Today, I weep for my country” – speech given on March 19, 2003.  (Includes rebuttal from Sen. John McCain)

“What is happening to this country? When did we become a nation which ignores and berates our friends? When did we decide to risk undermining international order by adopting a radical and doctrinaire approach to using our awesome military might? How can we abandon diplomatic effortswhen the turmoil in the world cries out for diplomacy?

Why can this President not seem to see that America’s true power lies not in its will to intimidate, but in its ability to inspire?”

 

B. The PRESENT -Memory and the Global – an interview with Dr. Ed Gragert

Edwin H. Gragert is Director, Global Campaign for Education-US. GCE-US is a coalition of national and local organizations working to ensure a quality education for all worldwide.  Formerly, he was Executive Director of iEARN-USA. Since 1988, iEARN (International Education and Resource Network) has pioneered the educational use of innovative communications technology and teacher professional development to facilitate on-line collaborative project-based learning in elementary and secondary schools in 130 countries worldwide.  He is a member of the Steering Committee of Global Teacher Education. Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Gragert:

  1. Tell us about how Global Teacher Education came to be and what your vision and  goals are ?
Global Teacher Education (GTE) emerged from discussions between several of us who had worked professional development in the area of international education for in-service teachers.  The key players were the Longview Foundation, the University of Maryland Graduate School of Education, iEARN-USA and Crosswalks Foundation–all pulled together by the former president of Kellogg College at Oxford University–with whom I had worked previously with the World Education Corps project.  We realized from our collective information that there were few institutions of teacher education that were preparing future teachers for their classrooms with skills to enable their students to be globally competent.  At the same time, there were a number of calls from key individuals at organizations like NAFSA, Ohio State University, etc.   We looked at the pioneering work done by the Longview Foundation and explored ways in which we could highlight best practices of institutions that had either systematically integrated the world into their pre-service programs or had exemplary global education programs for possible replication across the country.
We also wanted a dynamic place where various stakeholders at institutions of teacher education could connect with each other to exchange ideas and program ideas–both with each other and as part of national and international community of people interested in global education at the teacher education level–whether they be deans, faculty members, graduate students, researchers.  We also envisioned a place where current and new scholars could post research papers and think-piece blogs for discussion.
“Our Mission is to ensure that U.S. teachers are properly trained to prepare our young people to cope and thrive in a globally-connected world. By partnering with colleges of education and professional bodies in the education and teacher preparation spaces, GTE will support the internationalization of teacher preparation programs by connecting professionals, as well as advancing and disseminating research and best practices.  Our mission is based on a vision of our nation’s young people being prepared to become truly global citizens – confident in their own culture, yet able to understand and appreciate other cultures with which they will increasingly interact in their personal, social and economic lives.”

2. What are some of your experiences around Global Education that you brought to GTE?

The contributions that I have been able to make have been on how to design an interactive and community global education website, make recommendations on technologies to be used, suggest ways to develop and maintain an online community of practice among educators, as well as point to resources that can be of assistance as universities prepare for globalizing their programs.  Further, I’ve seen and been a part of practical examples of how K-12 educators have integrated global content and connections in different curricular areas.   Over the past three years, I’ve worked with the Organization of American States for iEARN-US to provide online courses for university teacher education faculty in the Americas to give them experience integrating collaborative project-based learning using Web 2.0 tools — all in an online setting that involved individuals from multiple countries and cultures.

“(Global Campaign for Education-US) is working with a number of World Affairs Councils (and other organizations) to arrange for partial or full screenings of the new film “Girl Rising,” about 9 girls in 9 countries and the obstacles they face in getting an education globally”
                           3. Can you comment on the state of global education in the US? Where are the challenges, successes, hot spots?
My sense is that the awareness of the importance of making US education more global is at an all-time high.  Although the issue is not a significant part of the Common Core State Standards, there is consistent talk of how we can better prepare our students to interact effectively in global, cross-cultural and multi-lingual environments.   Yet, an “all-time high” is still dismally low.  And it’s in a time when social studies and World Language classes are being dropped in the rush to focus on STEM and test preparation.  If the STEM courses were being infused with global examples, interaction and comparisons, it would be fantastic, but this is not happening on any meaningful level.  One success was the recent strategic plan adopted by the International Affairs office of the US Department of Education, which pointed out the importance of our students becoming globally competent.   But, the downside is that this report did not once mention technology — which is the only way we will be able to reach the exponential numbers of students — and it did not deal at all with the urgent need to provide professional development for our teachers, since they too lack globally competence.  Although, of course, attention should be placed on both teachers and students, in my opinion, priority should be on the teachers as multipliers.  Until this need is met, we will only be dealing with the symptom (globally incompetent students), rather than the problem–that our education needs systemic internationalization.

4. What are some of the demands and opportunities on teacher preparation and PD?

The largest issue in my experience concerning PD is how it fits into a teacher’s daily classroom life.  All too often, PD is arranged by someone (principal or Department chair) who is not familiar with the needs of individual classroom teachers.  In the interest of scale, a PD is often arranged for all teachers in a department, based on someone’s perception of need–rarely the teacher.   Yet, teaches are eager to gain new skills and perspectives. In my experience, they are ready to learn new methodologies to help their students learn better.   Traditional forms of PD, however, are rarely effective because they do not meet the needs of a teacher when s/he needs the information and new skills.  As you have pointed out on numerous occasions, instead of a 1 or 2 day professional development session on software, hardware and/or curriculum that someone else has designed and that may or may not be used (or needed), teachers need on-demand PD on issues and technologies when they are useful.  We often cite personalized student learning as a way to address individual student learning needs.   This same concept is critical for teacher professional development.   Global competency has been skillfully defined, so we know where the goal posts are.  But, few people are looking at how to move teachers along the journey from global beginner to globally competent.    And it’s key that we keep in mind that it is a continuum and that all teachers are at different points.  So, cookie cutter approaches don’t work because either they are beyond where a teacher is or they are at too basic a level.   Therefore, there needs to be a way for teachers to indicate what their questions and needs are when they have them so that immediate and appropriate PD can be arranged for that particular teacher on a particular question or issue.  It’s my experience that the most effective form of PD is when teachers are in their own teaching environments, using the technology and configuration that they daily have available–rather than going to an off-site venue that. Needless to say, this cannot be done on a personalized and scalable level without technology.

5. What advice do you have for administrators and teachers regarding global education/competencies?

Teachers need to be encouraged at all levels.  My experience is that teachers who want to enter the field of global education, as well as those who are already integrating the world into their classrooms at any level are often isolated and looking for support from peers and administration.  Administrators are in a key position to open up the space for teachers to experiment with ways of engaging their students international issues and themes, as well as directly with their peers around the world–as part of their subject teaching.  All too often teachers feel that they cannot take the risk of trying new techniques in their teaching of math, history, literature, language arts, etc., particularly since there is little direct guidance provided by the Common Core State Standards.   Teachers need time to gain the confidence that their students will read and comprehend at a higher level, and that they will be more motivated to learn science if they are interacting with an authentic audience around the world–whether it be in peer editing of creating writing or comparing the chemical content and quality of water samples from different parts of the world.  And in this learning phase, teachers benefit from support from their peers, many of whom are also going through the same process.   So, my advice for teachers is to seek out communities (usually online) that share their interest in globalizing education.  Although the primary focus of the GTE site is for teacher education faculty, administrators and students, we encourage in-service teachers to both explore the resources and join in conversations and blog discussions.   After all, practicing teachers have much to teach the teacher educators.

 

3. The FUTURE-  Memory and Inquiry – CCSSO’s Framework for Social Studies Education.

This is a reminder and a preview.  Last fall in Seattle, at the NCSS conference, we received an update on the “Vision for the College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Inquiry in Social Studies State Standards”    The key word here is “framework.”  These are not standards.  “The forthcoming framework, to be released in 2013, will be a significant resource for all states to consider in their local processes for upgrading state social studies standards, rather than set standardsfor states to adopt.”  At the core of the framewoccssorks are the skills of research, inquiry, and  questioning.  All of these are practical skills celebrated by colleges, employers, and in civic organization.  Collaboration and communicating are also part of the framework’s skill based approach.   “At the heart of the C3 Framework is an inquiry arc a set of interlocking and mutually supportive ideas that feature the four dimensions of informed inquiry in social studies: 1) developing questions and planning investigations; 2) applying disciplinary concepts and tools; 3) gathering, evaluating and using evidence; and 4) working collaboratively and communicating conclusions.”

This sounds great.  I believe it will inject life  into history and social studies education and provide focus and support to a teachers who look to interject into STEM dominated educational discussions. Moreover, it resets history education’s Romantic purpose of building national identities and assimilation in imagined communities. At its simplest, the framework recognizes that life is very often an encounter of narratives and exchange of questions.

 

Anyone for a game of chess?