Keith Erekson (University of Texas – El Paso)
The History Survey Project (HSP) aims to explore, understand, and improve teaching of the U.S. history survey course. In the state of Texas, all college students are required to complete 6 hours of U.S. history coursework, but these "surveys" are taught in five different settings: universities, community colleges, early college high schools, dual credit classrooms, and AP history classes. This course, in turn, serves as the primary, comprehensive training that future history teachers receive in preparation to teach U.S. history in eighth (to 1877) or eleventh (since 1877) grades. Yet, there is virtually no coordination between teachers in the different settings. Thus, this course is crucial for the training of future teachers and the success of all college students.
The HSP will create a working group of teachers from each of the five settings that will examine the goals, standards, and requirements for each setting in order to create common expectations for teaching the history survey. Onto this basic structure we will integrate recent findings from the scholarship of teaching and learning, an international body of literature that draws from disciplinary-specific pedagogy and cognitive science. In the end, we aim to create free, online resources based on best practices from the classroom, findings from the scholarship of teaching and learning in history, and the Career and College Readiness Standards in the Social Studies. We hope the resources will be used by all faculty who simultaneously teach the survey and train future history teachers.