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ERIC Number: EJ893814
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Feb
Pages: 10
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2745
Redrawing the Boundaries: A Constructivist Approach to Combating Student Apathy in the Secondary History Classroom
Kaiser, Christopher
History Teacher, v43 n2 p223-232 Feb 2010
While every field of study presents challenges to the educator, the field of Social Studies and history in particular poses unique obstacles to student success. The issue of scope has been a constant source of anxiety to the history teacher, with new curriculum added with each passing day. Further pressure has been applied to the history teacher in the form of state or locally required common curriculums. This trend, while beneficial in standardizing and guaranteeing curriculum, usually has produced the effect of expanding the content of most classes and programs. Furthermore, the driving force behind most of these new standards has been the need for higher student achievement on standardized tests, forcing teachers to adjust their teaching strategies ("teach to the test"?) and remove favorite or pet topics from their repertoire in order to meet the new requirements. However, it must be noted that most of these challenges are inherent in the teaching of history. Issues such as time constraints and scope of coverage have been a staple for history teachers for years. The greatest obstacle to student success in the field of history education therefore, is not the product of school administrations or government mandates. Getting students to engage in the study of history, to find relevance in the events of the past, and finally to analyze the effects of change over time is perhaps the most difficult thing history teachers are asked to do. So how do history teachers combat student apathy, engage all students, and make history relevant? While there is no complete solution to this dilemma, the author proposes one strategy to increase student engagement through a course with an individualized thematic research and assessment approach that forces students to rewrite historical periods through their own lens. In this way, students construct their own historical understandings. Before examining this approach however, the author revisits the traditional divisions that exist in historical study, and establishes why and how those divisions occur. (Contains 5 notes.)
Society for History Education. California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, CA 90840-1601. Tel: 562-985-2573; Fax: 562-985-5431; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A