American History Standards

The American History Teaching Standards provide a thorough explanation of the goals which educators will attempt to reach as they instruct their students. Addressed clearly is the idea that teachers, in any subject, should give young minds the ability to not only learn information, but apply their skills. Preparing students for what the future holds is key to education and is crucial to consider when designing lesson plans; it should not be taken lightly. Because the standards outline this point so transparently, it provides to myself, a future teacher, and hopefully many others as well, an overlaying objective we must attempt to achieve with all seriousness. It is a reminder that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves and must always teach this way.

The standards also outline what will be taught in the secondary education setting. It states that it will begin with the French and Indian War in 1763 and span to our current president. Teaching students how to connect events from the past with other events and how they developed into our modern society is addressed also. Some examples of this is the colonial period or the introduction of slavery into what would become America. As an educator, it is important to explain how changes were made overtime and allow the students to piece it together in their own minds. Such as, what actions from Great Britain made the colonists want to revolt; or how did the introduction of slavery into the colonies shape the society and economy of the 19th century? These ideas inspire critical thinking skills in the students while allowing them to gain knowledge on the overreaching themes and trends of history.

Also explained in the standards are the different objectives that we, as teachers, will attempt to meet. These include: Inquiry, Behavioral Sciences, Civics & Government, Economics, Geography, and History. From this, it is obvious that as a social studies teacher, there can be much variety in what exactly you will be attempting to get across to your students. Under each standard are specific subheadings as well that aim to guide your instruction more clearly.

By being explained what exactly our goal as history teachers will be, the standards provide the fundamental building blocks that we will need to prepare our lessons. The guidelines that are put in place both excite and intimidate me as I move closer to instructing my own classroom. These should be carefully thought about and inspire the design of any teacher’s lesson plans. I will aim to keep my lessons aligned with the standards that are put in place!