Draft Syllabus as of 7/18
Subject to change

See the daily page links to the right for lesson plans and resources.

Course Objectives:
The purpose of this methods class is to immerse you in social studies teaching by practicing a wide variety of instructional methods. Our subject matter will be the history of secondary world history instruction from the founding of Boston English High School in 1821 through to the present. By the end of the course, participants will have developed a familiarity with a wide variety of instructional methods and be able to discuss some of their advantages and disadvantages. In addition, by your participation in these various instructional activities, you will have a chance to practice some of your historical thinking skills: close reading of primary and secondary sources, finding and evaluating source material, constructing historical arguments orally and in writing. I will also have a chance to assess and provide feedback on your historical thinking skills.

Essential Questions:
History of History Instruction: How has history instruction evolved over the last 300 years in America? How strong is the legacy of early instructional texts, approaches, and curricula? What genuine innovations have occurred over the last 200 years?

Social Studies Pedagogy: How can we use diverse pedagogies to engage diverse learners? What are the strengths and weaknesses of different pedagogical approaches?


We’ll meet for only 6 hours each day, from 9:00-12:00 and from 1:00-4:00 (although generally you’ll have a task to work on during lunch). I expect that students will spend several additional hours each evening preparing for class and for assignments (There are no great teachers who work from 9:00-4:00). In general, there will be very little structured homework, other than perhaps some shared reading. I expect that you will spend most of your time working on the assignments for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. As a result, I have not included homework on the syllabus.

Grading Criteria:

You will receive four grades for this course. Each will be worth approximately 25%, but I reserve the right to make your final grade a holistic assessment rather than a simple weighting of the four grades.

Assignment 1: On day 3, you will complete a Document-Based Question (DBQ) essay about how 19th century textbooks present America’s place in the world.
Assignment 2: On day 4, you will teach a short lesson about a site on the Freedom Trail
Assignment 3: On day 5, you will participate in a debate about the change and continuity of history instruction over the last 200 years.
Participation: You will receive a grade for your thoughtful, enthusiastic participation in the course.