The Storyteller's Toolkit.docx - Parkinson 1 Jordan...

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Parkinson 1 Jordan Parkinson Diantha Smith English 2010 9 April 2013 The Storyteller’s Toolkit Target Audience: High School History Teachers, Administrators A fascinating world lies just out of grasp. A world of life and death, war and peace, discovery and loss, innovation and dying empires. It is a world rich in stories, but a world that has died in the memories of man. The stories of our own history have slowly faded, it seems, to the point where we look at our rising generations and realize that past knowledge of this world has not only become shrouded, it has become tedious. Though once a few basic observations have been made, it would seem that this modern lack of interest in our history does not necessarily stem from our students themselves. Rather it can be argued that it stems from a less than likely source: their teachers. The facts point to a realization that not only has history education declined in the United States, but the standards and qualifications that history teachers were once held to have also declined. History teachers are simply not held up to the same standards as other teachers. As a result, students are less prepared for life after high school, whether it includes college or the basics of being a citizen. However, this would surely change if more was required of historical academics in public schools. Highly qualified high school history teachers with advanced degrees impact their students’ future involvement in society by aiding students in understanding the importance of all academics, helping students understand history by applying it to everyday life, and encouraging students to continue their personal education.
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Parkinson 2 According to Diane Ravitch, a Research Professor of Education, “In the 1970s and 1980s, history in many schools was replaced by a mishmash of ill-defined social studies courses that taught things like group decision-making, consumer education, and social science concepts” (Ravitch, Diane). History is not the only subject which has experienced this sort of downsizing. It could be considered general knowledge that the subjects of math, science, and English are much more important to the public school curriculum. Not only has this emphasis been taken off of history and subjects such as the physical sciences and the arts, but the requirements of teachers have also failed to meet past standards. In the same article, Ms. Ravitch brings up data from the U.S Department of Education which states that a majority of history teachers in grades 7-12 lack either a college major or minor or graduate degree in history (Ravitch). But this sort of out-of-field teaching is by no means only a problem of historical academics. More even than history, the physical sciences such as physics and chemistry also suffer from out-of-field teaching. And according to different reports and research, such as the report done by Richard Ingersoll of the University of Pennsylvania, out-of-field teaching has become more widespread. The reasons for this are many and varied, but perhaps the two most
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