Why K-12 Teachers Should Attend the American Historical Association's Annual Meeting

tags: American Historical Association, AHA 2014



John Fea is Associate Professor of American History and Chair of the History Department at Messiah College. He blogs at The Way of Improvement Leads Home.

I was just talking about the AHA's annual meeting with my Teaching History course the other day. When I was starting out in the profession in the mid-1990s it was very rare to see school teachers roaming the halls of the conference hotels.  That is no longer the case.  At the 2013 meeting in New Orleans I met several K-12 teachers who were in the Big Easy to attend sessions on pedagogy and sessions on subjects related to the areas in which they teach.

I have always found conversations with K-12 teachers to be invigorating.  Many of them are better teachers than I am.  They are more creative and think more about student learning than I do.  I remember warmly my seven years as a grader for the Advanced Placement U.S. History exam in San Antonio because I got to spend an entire week at a table with high school teachers--many of them classroom veterans.  I never ceased to pick their brains about how they taught particular subjects. There was a collaborative dimension to those grading sessions that I found educational and enjoyable. I think the AHA meeting could provide a wonderful venue for this kind of collaboration.

Over at the blog of the AHA Dana Schaffer calls our attention to a host of conference sessions that K-12 teachers might find worthwhile.  Here are a few:

Plenary Session: “Other” Civil Wars of the 1860s: Strife in a Time of Nation-Building
Session 3Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: Why Should We Engage?
Session 4Surviving the First Years of Teaching: A Roundtable Discussion
Session 38: Promise and Peril: The Implications of the Common Core for History Education
Session 71: Teaching Critical Thinking in an Increasingly Digital Age: Strategies, Struggles, and Success Stories 
Session 76: Teaching History to/for STEM Students 
Session 79: Collaborating with Curators, Librarians, and Archivists: A Practicum for Teachers and Faculty 
Breakfast: K-12 Networking Breakfast (Sponsored by The History Channel); free, but advance registration requested 
Session 201: “The Historical Enterprise”: Past, Present, and Future Collaboration between Secondary History Teachers and University History Professors -
Session 155: What Should a Twenty-First-Century History Textbook Look Like? 
Session 237: The Feedback Loop: Historians Talk about the Links between Research and Teaching 
Session 238: The Future of AP History: Designing and Assessing a “Best Practices” History Curriculum



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