ERIC Number: ED428999
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Nov-21
American History in the Schools: Its Nature, Functions and Prospect.
Danzer, Gerald A.
The teaching of history is part of the continuous process of redefining American civilization that lies at the center of what it means to be an American. A major challenge facing teachers of U.S. history is how to strike an appropriate balance between the forces of continuity and change. Much of the concern over history standards and the choice of textbooks revolves around the larger social, cultural, and political role of the formal course. The teaching of U.S. history in high school serves many other goals. Two texts, "America! America!" (1977), and "The Americans" (1998), can be used to determine how U.S. history, as an educational subject in schools, has changed throughout these two decades, or to note how many continuities have endured. Both were conceived as fresh, new approaches to the subject, and teams of authors, editors, and consultants in each case rethought and recast the traditional textbook. Both adopted a different design, focused on a single column of text, to facilitate innovation. In the final analysis, teachers and students will be challenged to fashion a personal adventure out of their study of America's past. No two teachers, no two students, no two classes will thread their way through the long annals of the American adventure in exactly the same way. Educators wrestle with the enormous potential of technology for teaching history, along with the prospect of local roots, the use of primary sources as major instructional tools, the expansion of materials used by historians, teachers, and students, and the growing ties that bind U.S. history to other parts of the curriculum. (BT)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council for the Social Studies (77th, Cincinnati, OH, November 20-23, 1997).