All the elements are in place for history departments to play a more central role in the training of the next generation of history teachers. We urge our colleagues to think about how their departments might best take the lead in preparing future teachers to become skilled and informed colleagues. The need is great, the stakes high, and the means are at hand.
We recommend the following steps:
Departments of History should…
- devote at least one department meeting in 2007 to a discussion of the preparation of teachers of history.
- create new opportunities for students to begin thinking like history teachers as well as history students.
- audit the students in their classes to gain an estimate of how many are considering a career that includes the teaching of history.
- make use of intellectual resources within their own institution appropriate to teaching history to prospective teachers of history, such as Schools of Education.
- explore the K12 classrooms in their local communities to learn how history is being taught and to discover resources available from local teachers of history.
- more formally recognize and more generously reward teacher preparation.
- recognize as professional contributions the work of their colleagues engaged with the teaching and learning of history.
- recruit excellent students to become history teachers and help lay out the paths by which that career can be achieved.
- reconsider their graduate programs in light of the growing demand for advanced training in history teaching.
Departments of History should consider…
- special classes for future teachers.
- a particular path through the history course offerings.
- new kinds of classes that cover history more synthetically in world history, for example, or in comparative history in ways that prepare prospective teachers of history for the demands of the K12 classroom.
- a role for local , state, or national standards in shaping the curriculum.
- department workshops dedicated to teaching, in which students are invited to participate.
- syllabi shared with one another and with historians elsewhere.
- ways in which faculty might make the decisions behind their own teaching more transparent.
- discussion about which particular teaching method might be most effective in teaching a particular topic.