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shayh 
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Re: “We don't need no stinking Arkansas history classes

The textbook not mentioned in these posts is The Arkansas Journey by Dr. Trey Berry - we are so lucky to have amazing AR Hist resources from a multitude of sources in our state.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by shayh on 03/14/2013 at 2:36 PM

Re: “We don't need no stinking Arkansas history classes

To all - I have read all of your comments (some of which are baffling, disturbing, unfortunate and/or grossly inaccurate) as well as having read all the legislation, articles, etc., etc. I am a 10-year teacher of Arkansas History. I am a PhD candidate at UA FYV in Curriculum and Instruction. I am a state-wide presenter of professional development courses in Arkansas History and for pre-service teachers. I also happen to be the author of one of TWO Arkansas History books for students in grades 5 – 12. I am not trying to give you my resume, but want to establish that I am actually qualified to speak to this issue. I will try to be brief, not only because I am short on time because I am actually in a classroom trying to teach Arkansas History, but also, as you might, guess, it would be easy for me to write 3,000 pages on the lunacy and atrocity of not supporting state history education for our students and teachers.

I believe that middle level social studies classes are an excellent time to teach, model and promote good citizenship and tolerance. It is a time for my students to begin to explore, understand and respect opinions that may differ from their own, within the context of Arkansas History, World Studies, Civics and American Government. I believe that a social studies class is one of the greatest places in which students can learn life skills that will carry beyond the classroom. Through a state history course taught at the middle level (of which I am a huge advocate), I believe a student can glean an understanding of history, geography, economics, civics, sociology, psychology, and anthropology - a foundation upon which they can build as they move to higher level, specialized social studies classes. In addition to a passion for journalism, writing, and politics, I have an intrinsic love of state history and a belief in its importance in the social studies educational hierarchy. Having grown up in Texas, where the state’s history is highly prized, I felt that many of my Arkansas students were lacking a sense of pride in their own home state and had a lack of awareness of the amazing, rich tapestry that creates the state history of Arkansas - as well as a lack of awareness of the relationship with and impact on the rest of the world that Arkansas has. I have made it my daily mission to model to my students my pride in and love of Arkansas; the importance of embracing your state and its history, and to be a respectful, tolerant, contributing citizen of your community, state and nation.

Aside from all of that, state history courses are an excellent time to embrace cross-curricular planning – i.e. to be a support and reinforcement to Language Arts classes as they embark on new Common Core standards. That is what professional development should be about – promoting and embracing new strategies and best practices in state history, integrating content – not grumbling about having to review the same history content. If it were good Arkansas History (or any other) professional development, it would energize and encourage the teacher, not beat them with content they should have already mastered.

Yes, there is poor professional development for our teachers, as there is in every profession – no profession is perfect. But, there is also wonderful professional development for teachers each year. It is sad that someone would be so angered about having to enroll in a state history course to become certified to teach it – I do not see it as a burden, but a privilege - I moved from another state and was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn about this one. Everyone should be so lucky.

I am ashamed it appears that we have elected a narrow-minded body of legislators who have very little, if any, experience in this area and are making a mockery of our state’s history. Have they taken a course? Have they visited classrooms around that state to see what our students are learning? It would appear not. The legislature is playing perfectly into the stereotypes we work to dismantle everyday with our students in our classrooms. I guess they have given me job security in that regard.

I hope that someone, somewhere who is in a position of “power” will take a moment to pause and think of our students - they need to be taught state history – period. They need to be taught geography – period. They need to be taught citizenship – period. Social Studies, although the traditional “step-child’ of the core classes, it is what makes us who we are as citizens, Arkansans and Americans.
~Shay Hopper, FYV

5 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by shayh on 03/14/2013 at 2:07 PM

Re: “We don't need no stinking Arkansas history classes

To all - I have read all of your comments (some of which are baffling, disturbing, unfortunate and/or grossly inaccurate) as well as having read all the legislation, articles, etc., etc. I am a 10-year teacher of Arkansas History. I am a PhD candidate at UA FYV in Curriculum and Instruction. I am a state-wide presenter of professional development courses in Arkansas History and for pre-service teachers. I also happen to be the author of one of TWO Arkansas History books for students in grades 5 – 12. I am not trying to give you my resume or promtoe a product - I am a teaher. However, I want to establish that I am actually qualified to speak to this issue. I will try to be brief, not only because I am short on time because I am actually in a classroom trying to teach Arkansas History, but also, as you might, guess, it would be easy for me to write 3,000 pages on the lunacy and atrocity of not supporting state history education for our students and teachers.

I believe that middle level social studies classes are an excellent time to teach, model and promote good citizenship and tolerance. It is a time for my students to begin to explore, understand and respect opinions that may differ from their own, within the context of Arkansas History, World Studies, Civics and American Government. I believe that a social studies class is one of the greatest places in which students can learn life skills that will carry beyond the classroom. Through a state history course taught at the middle level (of which I am a huge advocate), I believe a student can glean an understanding of history, geography, economics, civics, sociology, psychology, and anthropology - a foundation upon which they can build as they move to higher level, specialized social studies classes. In addition to a passion for journalism, writing, and politics, I have an intrinsic love of state history and a belief in its importance in the social studies educational hierarchy. Having grown up in Texas, where the state’s history is highly prized, I felt that many of my Arkansas students were lacking a sense of pride in their own home state and had a lack of awareness of the amazing, rich tapestry that creates the state history of Arkansas - as well as a lack of awareness of the relationship with and impact on the rest of the world that Arkansas has. I have made it my daily mission to model to my students my pride in and love of Arkansas; the importance of embracing your state and its history, and to be a respectful, tolerant, contributing citizen of your community, state and nation.

Aside from all of that, state history courses are an excellent time to embrace cross-curricular planning – i.e. to be a support and reinforcement to Language Arts classes as they embark on new Common Core standards. That is what professional development should be about – promoting and embracing new strategies and best practices in state history, integrating content – not grumbling about having to review the same history content. If it were good Arkansas History (or any other) professional development, it would energize and encourage the teacher, not beat them with content they should have already mastered.

Yes, there is poor professional development for our teachers, as there is in every profession – no profession is perfect. But, there is also wonderful professional development for teachers each year. It is sad that someone would be so angered about having to enroll in a state history course to become certified to teach it – I do not see it as a burden, but a privilege - I moved from another state and was thrilled to have the opportunity to learn about this one. Everyone should be so lucky.

I am ashamed it appears that we have elected a narrow-minded body of legislators who have very little, if any, experience in this area and are making a mockery of our state’s history. Have they taken a course? Have they visited classrooms around that state to see what our students are learning? It would appear not. The legislature is playing perfectly into the stereotypes we work to dismantle everyday with our students in our classrooms. I guess they have given me job security in that regard.

I hope that someone, somewhere who is in a position of “power” will take a moment to pause and think of our students - they need to be taught state history – period. They need to be taught geography – period. They need to be taught citizenship – period. Social Studies, although the traditional “step-child" of the core classes, is what makes us who we are as citizens, Arkansans and Americans.

9 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by shayh on 03/14/2013 at 2:04 PM

 

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