Teaching history in the public school system can present educators with a unique set of challenges that are not found in any other subjects or disciplines. Furthermore, the distinction between U.S. and World History course structure need to be identified in order to effectively incorporate textbooks, unit tests, state standards, and student prior knowledge into the class. U.S. and World History classes differ in many aspects; and the teacher needs to know how to separate the two distinct course structures.
As a U.S. History teacher, various forms of accurate student assessment can be incorporated into my classroom which will provide information needed to adjust my teaching styles. I believe U.S History classes provide a more diverse selection of assessment tools because the material is narrower in scope compared to a World History class. I believe I can shy away from the large unit tests in my U.S. History assessments and take a more non-traditional approach such as incorporating group discussions, projects, and student presentations. I feel that U.S. History provides many more opportunities for active instruction as a means of assessment instead of unit tests.
On the other hand, one of the many challenges facing World History teachers is the development of classroom assessments that are on the right scale. This is because the structure of World History units typically include topics on several regions; covering a timeframe of many centuries. In contrast to U.S. History assessments, I believe a good way to overcome this obstacle is to use end of unit projects. According to our class reading Managing the Laments of World History Teachers, having students figure out the story and make global connections is key to any successful World History classroom. Structuring end of unit projects into my class will be a good way to accomplish this goal. This is because these types of projects allow students to show what they have learned about connections between particular events and larger global patterns.
Classroom instruction in a U.S History course provides a vast number of opportunities to develop lessons and material that go beyond traditional use of lectures and textbooks. Although I believe U.S History textbooks are a very important part in course structure, I believe that my classroom structure will be based on creating activities focused on primary and secondary source documents. Furthermore, because I assume that my students’ prior content knowledge is greater in U.S. History than World History, I can allow a more substantial amount of time and space for projects, group-work, and discussions. As our classroom readings suggest, integrating history themes into class instruction is vital. Therefore, I will organize my class structure that balances my student’s prior content knowledge with new material emphasizing historical themes like humans and their environment, and politics and government.
As stated previously, a problem facing history...