I will be the first to admit it. I’m in love with Sam Wineburg. The bromance started, I suppose, 15 years ago when I first ran across his book, Historical Thinking and Other Unnatural Acts. It was a fairly typical academic book focused on some guy’s research but I loved the title. And as a newly minted social studies curriculum coach, the content was right up my alley.
A former middle school teacher and college instructor, I was finding it difficult to articulate what quality history instruction could look like and how to share that vision with other educators. After 15 years in the classroom, I knew what had worked for me but I was struggling to find ways to structure that. And perhaps even more important, I wasn’t completely sure WHY it had worked.
Wineburg’s research resonated. I read more of his early articles on historical thinking skills and loved his ideas about how we needed to re-think our approach to teaching history. In a nutshell? We were doing it wrong. It’s not about memorizing. It’s not about multiple choice. It’s about asking kids to think critically about evidence and developing arguments around that evidence. Radical, right?
It’s been over ten years since I first heard Sam Wineburg speak. During a combined Kansas / Missouri Council for History Education conference way back in 2008, Sam opened with a keynote highlighting the main ideas in his book. This face to face meet cemented it. His later books, articles, research, SHEG, Beyond the Bubble, Historical Thinking Chart, civic online literacy tools . . . have all convinced me that the two of us would be great together in an action comedy buddy cop movie.
All this to say that Read more