Factor 4: A Focus on the Relevance of History

Factor 4 can be described as having a Focus on Relevance, connecting the on-site experiences to their students’ lives and worlds. Of all the factors, Factor 4 has the greatest number of participants move on or off of the factor. There were three teachers from both the pre and post who loaded on this factor. Another seven participants loaded on Factor for in the Pre-institute sort, but not in the post. Only one participant moved onto the Factor in the post-institute sort. The distinguishing statements were also far more moderate than other factors and addressed a variety of pedagogical and student-focused concerns. Participants were notably most interested in addressing issues of contemporary relevance and their connection to historical events. This was particularly evident in terms of their interest in the stories related to race and slavery.

 

The teachers in Factor 4 consistently ranked the following statements as “most like me:”

Professional Development at historic sites affects my development as a teacher by:

15: Demonstrating how historical questions are framed by contemporary issues.

33: Helping me select and develop appropriate strategies for teaching the complexities of history.

The teachers in Factor 4 consistently ranked the following statements as “least like me:”

Professional Development at historic sites affects my development as a teacher by:

25: Making it clear that we cannot understand the motivation of people from the past in studying history, and shouldn’t try.

11: Helping me to see the superiority of America’s culture to other world cultures.

 

Many of the participants who moved away from this factor moved to Factor 3, holding stronger post-institute perceptions about the value of working with their peers than at the outset. While these inclinations were present in their pre-institute sorts, the significance of a supportive peer group to having substantive conversations about difficult topics helps explain their shift to Factor 3.

The teachers in Factor 4 can be understood as asking the question, “how can I bring this back to my classroom?” In searching for the significance of on-site topics to their students, these participants are often the most willing to ask difficult questions that speak to a balance between historical reasoning and classroom needs. The project team is curious to learn more about Factor 4 and its relationship to Factor 3 through the follow-up Q-Sorts that occurred in December 2016.

 

The following statements emerged in a repeated pattern that helped the research team distinguish Factor 3 as a unique grouping:

Professional Development at historic sites affects my development as a teacher by:

Positively Ranked:

35: Modeling how to address difficult or controversial topics in the classroom.

15: Demonstrating how historical questions are framed by contemporary issues.

36: Giving me tools to engage students with diverse cultural backgrounds.

Neutrally Ranked:

39: Helping me design activities that support student learning.

40: Providing strategies for how to create learning experiences that draw upon students’ communities of origin.

46: Giving me the opportunity to build a network of peers and mentors with culturally diverse perspectives.

53: Giving me tools to support students with exceptionalities e.g., Physical, language-based, or intellectual disabilities.

54: Giving me tools to support multi-lingual students e.g., ELL.

32: Modeling how to integrate historical content and concepts in ways that draw upon students’ family and community experiences.

Negatively Ranked:

18: Helping me recognize that much of what I see at historic sites is shaped by professional historians.

27: Helping me question what I think I know about historic events and persons.

Discover

Discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *