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From the AHA Activities column of the November 2013 issue of Perspectives on History

A New Guide for Teaching in Civics, Economics, Geography, and History

AHA Staff, November 2013

The full document is available, free of charge: www.socialstudies.org/C3.In collaboration with over 20 states and 15 social studies content organizations, including the AHA, the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) has released a guide to help states strengthen their social studies standards. The College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework for Social Studies State Standards encourages states to upgrade their social studies standards by offering robust guidelines to promote inquiry-­based learning in civics, economics, geography, and history. AHA members and staff, joined by representatives of the AHA's Teaching Division, worked closely with the NCSS, state representatives, educators, and scholars to ensure that the standards demonstrate best practices in the discipline of history.

In her recent blog post about the framework (AHA Today, September 17, 2013), Elaine Carey, vice president of the AHA's Teaching Division remarked, "The C3 Framework offers a pedagogical platform for all educators to reconsider how to teach history by creating a vision of K-­12 learning that focuses on change, continuity, and context; causation and argumentation; perspectives of historical observers, actors, and historians; and the development and use of historical evidence. The improved social studies standards envisioned in the C3 Framework will enhance the teaching and learning of history by offering college and university teachers exciting opportunities to build upon those basic skills with innovative pedagogies, projects, and collaborations." 

Susan Griffin, executive director of the NCSS also noted, "Many state standards in social studies are overwhelmed with lists of dates, places and names to memorize-­information students quickly forget. The C3 Framework is a powerful tool that will assist states in establishing fewer, higher, and clearer standards for instruction in civics, economics, geography, and history, from kindergarten through high school. The document emphasizes critical thinking, collaboration, and inquiry-­skills that are critical to becoming active and engaged citizens." Carey added, "The framework embraces the best learning practices in the disciplines by focusing on the development of an argument based on research and evidence rather than names, dates, and places."

The C3 Framework offers a new vision to enhance state standards in civics, economics, geography, and history at the K-­12 levels, with additional guidance for high school anthropology, psychology, and sociology. C3 is intended to be implemented by teachers, school districts, and curriculum writers to strengthen their social studies programs to enhance the rigor of the individual disciplines; build critical thinking, problem solving, and participatory skills vital to engaged citizenship; and make appropriate connections to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts.Maryland and Kentucky are already using the C3 Framework to update their social studies standards, and others are expected to follow. Over 3,000 social studies professionals, university scholars, and others reviewed and commented on the C3 Framework throughout the development process that took over three years.

The full document is available online, free of charge.