Pedagogical Essays: Strengthening Civic and History Literacy in Schools

Editor's introduction: The CRC June 14th, 2018 conference resulted in a number of presenter and participant essays and commentaries that should be useful to teachers, students, and others who are interested in integrating academically rich content and effective pedagogical strategies into history and civics courses. This page is a work in progress and several more essays and commentaries will be added in the future. We are also considering posting videos or video excerpts from the conference. 


Editor's note: Peter Myers: 

Peter Myers has devoted a significant portion of his scholarship to exploring the ramifications of race in understanding American history and politics. The essay that follows is an outstanding pedagogical tool that should be highly useful for high school and undergraduate instructors and students.

"Race and Historical Literacy in America: Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln"


Editor's note: Jason Stacy:

Ph.D. Historian Jason Stacy taught history for ten years in the Illinois public school system and currently teaches both history and social studies methods to future secondary school educators. Stacy's essay is useful for classroom teachers or high school and middle school teacher educators who wish to strengthen critical thinking strategies through infusing rich historical content when having students focus upon higher level cognitive skills.

"Educating Aspiring Teachers in U.S. History and Civics in the Era of Critical Thinking Standards"


Editor's note: Luis Cortest

Professor Luis Cortest, in working with teachers at the University of Oklahoma's Center for the History of Liberty and in our conference, has done an interesting and effective job in providing American educators with much more specific information about Imperial Spain’s impact upon American history. Look for teacher reactions to Professor Cortest’s presentation that will appear on this site in the near future.

“How Imperial Spain Influenced the U.S. Before 1800”


Editor's note: Charles Newell

CRC conference participants gave Professor Cortest excellent evaluations and Notre Dame High School English Department Chair Charles Newell, in the essay that follows, addresses the topic of how humanities teachers can increase student understanding regarding Spain's historical influence that helped to shape early America.

"America's Spanish Heritage and the Literature Classroom"


Editor's note: Kelley Zipp

Kelley Zipp, who teaches high school American History and Government at Heritage High School in Ringgold, Georgia, offers readers a good specific overview of what she found of interest in four conference presentations.

"Primary Sources, Early Education, Imperial Spain, and Teacher-Centered Instruction" 


Readings: Strengthening Civic and History Literacy in Schools

Thursday, June 14th 2018: 208 Hunter Hall 

“Civic Education: Addressing K-12 Student Knowledge Deficits” Lucien Ellington, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

A Sense of Belonging by E. D. Hirsch

Core Knowledge History and Geography K-8 Sequence

“How Imperial Spain Influenced the U.S.” Luis Cortest,  The University of Oklahoma

Timeline of key events on Spanish influence in the U.S.

Chapter 3 of An Illustrated History of New Mexico by Thomas E. Chavez 

“Content-rich History Curriculum: Elementary and Middle Schools” Christina Erland, Core Knowledge Foundation

Appendix B: Using Trade Books to Achieve College and Career Readiness: The Principles of Democracy

“Educating Aspiring Teachers in U.S. History and Civics” Jason Stacy, Southern Illinois University—Edwardsville

The Guide on the Stage: In Defense of Good Lecturing in the History Classroom

Does Lecturing Have a Place in the Social Studies Classroom?

“Race and Historical Literacy: Fredrick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln” Peter Myers, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Abraham Lincoln Speech on the Dred Scott Decision
Abraham Lincoln Letter to General N.P. Banks
Abraham Lincoln Annual Message to Congress
Frederick Douglass “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”
Frederick Douglass Speech on the Dred Scott Decision
Frederick Douglass The Future of the Colored Race

“History and Civic Education: What Should Aspiring and Young Teachers Know?” UTC Faculty Fellows Panel