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In Search of America's Past

Learning to Read History in Elementary School

Bruce VanSledright

208 pages
Teachers College Press
Bruce VanSledright shows how young students can benefit from an investigative, inquiry-based approach to the study of history, as called for by the national standards. Addressing important questions about the teaching and learning of history in today’s diverse classrooms, this volume: Conveys the results of an innovative teacher-research project, using engaging stories of VanSledright’s classroom experiences. Provides examples and guidelines, developed from the author’s own fifth-grade classroom, for teaching novices to engage in historical investigations (in contrast to memorizing details in a textbook). Offers strong evidence that children do have the intellectual capacity to judge the validity, reliability, and perspective of historical documents and images. Wrestles with a number of issues facing history teachers who wish to embark on ambitious projects with their students that can take them against the grain of policy mandates (such as recall-based, high-stakes testing).
Author Bio
Bruce VanSledright is Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and researcher on the teaching and learning of history in public schools.