Engagement in Teaching History: Theory and Practices for Middle and Secondary Teachers, 2nd edition

  • Frederick D. Drake
  • Lynn Nelson

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How can history be taught effectively?  Does knowing about the past give meaning to the present and hints to what will happen in the future?  This book responds to these questions as it explores the key elements of history instruction–the use of primary sources and narratives, involving students in the historical inquiry through classroom discussions, teaching toward chronological thinking, and the use of historical documents to develop in students a “detective approach” to solving historical problems.  Taking a systematic approach to improve students’ historical thinking, this book emphasizes certain strategies that will help students know more about the past in ways that will help them in their lives today.


The second edition is organized in three parts–Part One describes the theoretical background to teaching history.  Part Two, Planning and Assessment, emphasizes the importance of good organization and lesson planning as well as how to assess students’ knowledge, reasoning power, and effective use of communication in the history classroom.   Part Three, Instruction, focuses on the use of primary sources, class discussions, incorporating photographs and paintings, and writing in teaching history.  Both the study of history and the teaching of history are multifaceted.  The author’s hope in writing this book is to engage new and experienced teachers in thoughtful discourse regarding the teaching and learning of history and to develop lifelong learners of history in the 21st century.

Table of contents

PART I--Theoretical Background


Chapter 1--Teaching History

The Present and the Past

Organizing History Around Questions

Primary Sources and Interpretive Narrative Sources

Importance of Historical Thinking

History As An Essential School Subject

Understanding the Meanings of History

The Relationship Between History and Civic Education

Deliberative Discussions

Chapter 2--The History of Teaching History

Searching for the Golden Age of History Education

History, Primary Sources, and Literature

History in the Common School

U.S. History Rivals World and General History

Mimetic and Transformative Traditions of Teaching

Interest Groups Vie to Control the Schools' Curricula

History as a Core Discipline

History and the Creation of Social Studies

History and the New Social Studies Projects

History and the Decision-Making Model

History on the Wane

History Makes a Revival

Social Studies Defined

History Makes a Revival Again

Internal Disputes

Chapter 3--Historical Thinking

What Is Historical Thinking?

Historical Thinking and Historical Consciousness

Historical Thinking and Causal Explanations

Historical Thinking and Frame of Reference

The Need to Teach Historical Thinking

Structured Analysis Guides and Creative Historical Thinking

Students' Minds Are Not Blank Slates

Teaching Scaffolds

Creating a Framework for Meaningful Learning 

PART II--Planning and Assessment


Chapter 4--Organizing Your History Courses: Making Content Choices

The Issue of Time

The Purpose of History Education

Chronological Organization of History

Thematic Organization of History

Content Choices for World History

Conent Choices for U.S. History

The Past as a Wooded Thicket

Chapter 5--Lesson and Unit Planning

Textbooks and Standards

Lesson Plans

Creating a Unit Plan

Chapter 6--Creating Historical Understanding and Communication through Performance Assessment

Peformance Assessment and Historical Literacy

Knowledge Dimension

Reasoning Dimension

Communication Dimension

A History Rubric

Recommendations Regarding the Use of Rubrics

Samples of Performance Assessment

 PART III--Instruction



Chapter 7--Using Primary Sources: The First-, Second-, and Third-Order Approach

Five Typologies of Primary Sources

Conventional Practices in Using Primary Sources

Using First-, Second-, and Third-Order Primary Sources

Selecting First- and Second-Order Documents

An Example of the First-, Second-, and Third-Order Approach

The Importance of Asking Questions

Editing First- and Second-Order Documents

Historical Narrative; the First-, Second-, and Third-Order Approach; and Analysis Guides

Assessing Historical Knowledge, Understanding, and Dispositions

Chapter 8--Considering and Doing Discussion in History Teaching

The Importance of Discussion

Variations of Discussions

Doing Discussions in Your Classroom

Initiating Inquiry

Deliberating on Time and Place

Varying Sources to Engage Students in Discussion

Chapter 9--Using Historical Images to Engage Your Students in the Past

Variety of Teaching Methods

Using Images to Engage Your Students in Discussions

Strategy 1: Analyzing an Image for Discussion: The People, Space, and Time Strategy

Strategy 2: Analyzing an Image for Discussion: Similarities and Differences

Strategy 3: Analyzing an Image for Discussion: Quadrantal/Hemispheric Analysis

Chapter 10--Using Writing to Engage Your Students in the Past

Writing and Historical Knowledge

Guidelines for Writing Assignments

Three Types of Writing

The Importance of Paragraphs

Effective Writing Assignments





Published by Pearson (August 15th 2020) - Copyright © 2009