Using the Elizabeth Murray Site to Promote History Cognition: An Assignment for Pre-Service Teachers
What follows is an assignment for pre-service teachers enrolled in the history social science capstone courses at California State University, Long Beach. These courses are part of the Multiple Subject (grades K-8) and Single Subject (grades 7-12) credential programs in history/social science. A sample syllabus is available for the Multiple Subject course (L/ST 471). A sample syllabus for the Single Subject course can be found at the American Historical Association website.
In advance of this assignment, pre-service teachers read the following materials that are representative of much recent scholarship that addresses the issue of history cognition and learning. These include:
- Bain, R.B. and Mirel, J. (2006). Setting up camp at the great instructional divide: Educating beginning history teachers. Journal of Teacher Education.
- Bain, R.B. (2001). Into the breach: Using research and theory to shape history instruction. In P. Sexias, P. Stearns, and S. Wineburg (eds.), Knowing, teaching and learning history. New York: New York University Press.
- Bain, R.B. (1997). Building an essential world history tool: Teaching comparative history. In Heidi Roupp (ed.), Teaching world history. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe.
- Lee, P. (2005). Putting principles into practice: Understanding history. In M. Donavan and J. Bransford (eds.) How students learn: History in the classroom. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
- Paxton, R. (1999). A deafening silence: History textbooks and students who read them. Review of Educational Research.
- Sexias, P. (1994). Students¿ understanding of historical significance. Theory and Research in Social Education.
- Wineburg, S. (2001). Historical thinking and other unnatural acts: Charting the future of teaching the past. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
- Wineburg, S. (2001). Making historical sense. In P. Sexias, P. Stearns, and S. Wineburg (eds.), Knowing, teaching and learning history. New York: New York University Press.
Based on this reading, the pre-service teachers write an essay that responds to the following prompts.
- How do K-12 students construct historical knowledge and make sense of history?
- How do culture and instructional practice inform student historical epistemologies?
- What are some of the impediments to facilitating authentic historical- and analytical-thinking in the K-12 classroom?
- Introduce and account for strategies that will facilitate authentic historical- and analytical-thinking in the K-12 classroom.
In addition, the pre-service teachers create two lesson plans that utilize sources directly from the Elizabeth Murray Website. One lesson must pertain to generating historical thinking through the direct the use of primary documents. The other must facilitate a specific form of comparative analysis. In both cases, the lessons must reveal understanding and implementation of the aforementioned scholarship.
The lesson plans must conform to either the California State History Social Standards for either grade five or eight or to the Advanced Placement United States History curriculum.
This lesson was created by Tim Keirn, Departments of History and Liberal Studies, California State University, Long Beach.