Should the one year requirement for U.S. history be changed to a two year requirement as it is for global history in high school?Has U.S. history taken a back seat to current World or...

Should the one year requirement for U.S. history be changed to a two year requirement as it is for global history in high school?

Has U.S. history taken a back seat to current World or Global history in the American classroom?

Asked on by dbello

10 Answers | Add Yours

larrygates's profile pic

larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

With so much emphasis on standards based testing, there simply is not enough time during a given school term to do justice to all the elements of U.S. History which students need to understand. Teachers are literally racing to touch all the bases and expose students to "testable" items that there is no possibility of teaching to the "understanding" level. I have had much more success with getting my AP students to understand; as I can hold them accountable for learning outside the classroom. For those students who are not so academically gifted, and who see history as nothing more than facts and dates, standards based teaching of history has created a monster, and made a larger problem out of the problem it purports to correct.

geosc's profile pic

geosc | College Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

Posted on

The pre-college American Government course could (should?) be a history course.  The pre-high school Science course(s) could (should?) be history courses.

From one who came to history in his mid-30s, after college and a good portion of a career: if you don't have a good strong history curriculum, you don't have a high school, at least not in the sense that "high" is supposed to mean prepared for college and for living (not making a living, living).

brettd's profile pic

brettd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

My approach to teaching history is that, whether it's AP US History or regular history, it is likely to be the last American history course they ever take, in their entire lives.  So my responsibility is not so much to the test score, but to teach a love of the subject, and to show how it can be fun and funny, so they are more likely to learn on their own later in life.

I would still appreciate at least a two year requirement, though.

alohaspirit's profile pic

alohaspirit | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

I think that its very important to learn about our own history,but there are only so many years in middle and highschool, and to cover our own history and world history is nearly impossible.  We need to be able to cover world history as well as American History, so cutting it down to one year is acceptable to me.  We live in a global community, and our childern need to understand the history and societies of other parts of the world.  We cannot have our childern only study American History for sake of patriotism.  If we want to become a more understanding society its very important we pay attention to the world around us.  Now its different state to state too, I live in Hawaii, and Hawaiian history takes importance more so over American History and World History.  When I taught in Pennsylvania, there was one year of American history, one year of World Cultures, one year of European History, and half year of U.S. Government.  But in Hawaii, students have to a cram all world history and culture into one year of highschool.  My opinion is spend more time on American history in the early years, and then more time on World history in the middle and high school years

dbello's profile pic

dbello | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I think the emphasis on standarized tests have shrunk the amount of time devoted to any history course.  Perhaps the movement to a less centric view of the United States as the end all be all is the reason why world/global studies is being emphasized.  As a history teacher it does sadden me when you read/see students from other countries that know more about our country than our own students do. 

I know what you mean about students from other countries who know more about our country than our kids do. I have an exchange student from Germany living with me at the moment and he knows much more about history, American and World History, than our kids. He has been amazed as he goes to class to see how little many of our kids actually know about the history of their own country.

It is amazing to me that students from other nations know more about American History than American students. That being said, I believe the reason for this has many levels. It is this writers opinion that the current wave of American popular youth culture seems to cling to 'conspiracy theories' about our nation's history as well as idolize fictional characters such as 'Scarface' as an example of the American dream and history. As a teacher of American Government and U.S.History I sometimes find myself between a rock and a hard place. Many of our young folks today have such a jaded view of our nations' past, and I realize that the only reason most of my students even entertain what I have to say is due to the respect we have for one another. My only hope is that my students 'HEAR' me loud enough if only to suggest an alternative perspective. For example, character traits such as responsibility, trustworthiness, ethical behavior, fair play, and the realization that greed never creates anything but has the potential to destroy everything must always remain front and center in a free society. For if we lose all of that completely, American history will not be the only disipline other nations will have over us, they might just have us. Something to think about....

jennifer-taubenheim's profile pic

jennifer-taubenheim | Middle School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

I think the emphasis on standarized tests have shrunk the amount of time devoted to any history course.  Perhaps the movement to a less centric view of the United States as the end all be all is the reason why world/global studies is being emphasized.  As a history teacher it does sadden me when you read/see students from other countries that know more about our country than our own students do. 

I know what you mean about students from other countries who know more about our country than our kids do. I have an exchange student from Germany living with me at the moment and he knows much more about history, American and World History, than our kids. He has been amazed as he goes to class to see how little many of our kids actually know about the history of their own country.

lynn30k's profile pic

lynn30k | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

I don't think it has been diminished.  I do think there has been a growing emphasis on the place that the U.S. plays in world history/politics, and in my mind, that is good. When I went through elementary/high school in the 60s and 70s, most history emphasized America and to a lesser extent, Europe--but mainly as a source of explorers.  World history was given a year or a semester at best.  I think the ignorance created by such emphasis has contributed to the poor attitude a lot of the world now has toward the U.S. They think we know little about the world outside of our own interests, and in large part, they are right.

krcavnar's profile pic

krcavnar | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

Posted on

I would love for U.S. History to become a two-year course.  However, it is also important that we teach World Geography and World History.  When I was growing up we got our geography in the elementary school years and then government or Civics in 8th grade. Oklahoma History in 9th grade, U.S. History in 10th and government in 11th grade.  We didn't have a course on World History, which in retrospect probably wasn't a good thing either.

I am teaching conceptual units for my combined World Geography and World History classes.  It seems to be a better fit my my student population and they seem to understand the inter-connectivity of history and geography.  It is very difficult for me because I want things to go in chronological order, however, there is just too much information to get through the material. 

amityb's profile pic

amityb | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I understand how frustrated many US History teachers are as we are frantically trying to get all the information delivered to our students while pressed to get the scores at the end of the year.  Although I understand, I think it is how the teacher approaches the problem that makes the difference.  We can teach the content and get the high scores, all while making history fun for our students.  We should not teach to the test, but teach the information that is in our curriculum that will be tested. This approach opens up different teaching strategies, rather than practicing test questions on a regular basis.  Another problem that I often see in my state is the lack of importance put on middle school history courses.  At the middle school level many students are pulled out of their history courses to review for math and science EOG tests.  Therefore these students are behind in history when they get to the high school level.

saminnick's profile pic

saminnick | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

I think the emphasis on standarized tests have shrunk the amount of time devoted to any history course.  Perhaps the movement to a less centric view of the United States as the end all be all is the reason why world/global studies is being emphasized.  As a history teacher it does sadden me when you read/see students from other countries that know more about our country than our own students do. 

We’ve answered 318,916 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question