Educators Blog

What are the themes in your early American history class?

Wednesday, 2/29/12

What themes do you use to teach American colonial history? I came across an interesting critique in Common-Place by Darcy R.Fryer of teaching pre-Revolutionary American history in college survey courses .  The observation rings true for secondary education too. 

Fryer finds that textbooks tend to use themes of geography and demographics as a way to shape the material, but she has found themes of experimentation, innovation, failure, flexibility, borrowing, and  change over time more fruitful.  Certainly these themes align with Pennsylvania History standards that organize material, among other factors, around change and continuity and conflict and cooperation.

I'd love to know your thoughts on this. . .


Hello! I liked your Fryer's

Hello! I liked your Fryer's idea as well and am glad I found it through your blog. I am a college student and agree that history is often taught through sporadic stories and that broader themes could perhaps gel ideas together more easily.

thematic instruction

Thanks for responding. Does any classroom teacher want to let us know how they see the relative benefits and disadvantages of using themes as the framework for their history curriculum?

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