Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Teaching Tipping Points": A New AHA Website

Patricia Limerick is coming to the rescue of all of us who want to be better history teachers. She is working with the American Historical Association to create a new website called "Teaching Tipping Points."  I will let her explain:

To relieve the loneliness at the front of the classroom and to experiment with a way to see if the AHA could become a "beloved community" (do not scoff—this could happen), the AHA Teaching division will soon embark on an endeavor to harvest the individual and collective knowledge, experience, and wisdom of the membership of the American Historical Association. This harvesting will take the shape of an entirely revamped web site (the functional meeting place for beloved communities in the 21st century) designed to foster, among AHA members, a sense of community, camaraderie, and good company. The communications on the web site will help early-career teachers get their bearings (and manage their terror!), revitalize mid-career teachers who fear burnout, and provide all with resources for coping with a rapidly changing educational landscape...

... We intend, in other words, to capitalize on the distinctive virtues and strengths of our profession. Historians often declare that our theme is "change over time," and thus we want the Teaching Tipping Points to echo that theme, showing our careers in the classroom as a dynamic process. Moreover, narrative, story, tale, and illustrative example are the characteristic methods of expression for the most compelling forms of historical communication. Thus, we invite our contributors to present their Teaching Tipping Points as narratives, stories, tales, and illustrative examples, rather than as instructions, exhortations, or prescriptions. We will not prohibit other forms of communication, but we will do whatever we can to encourage a livelier exercise of prose that matches up with the strengths of our discipline. We will encourage tales of teaching that are closer in style to the literature of action and adventure than to the more plodding genres of manuals, lesson plans, and how-to guides.

We seek stories of experiments that worked, but we also want thought-provoking stories of experiments that should have worked but did not (and yet still delivered, in their failure, an instructive message). Given the rewards of risk-taking, we may even offer special recognition to and appreciation of the authors of stories of failure on a very grand scale.

To learn more about this initiative click here.