Why History Matters is an initiative of the Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement, developed in honor of Walter W. Buckley, Jr. The effort provides leading historians the opportunity to share why American history knowledge is important, relevant, and critical to a strong nation.
Transforming the way American history is taught and learned is no simple task. Despite the significant shortcomings of modern-day history instruction, many do not see the problem, believing that they know their history and thus others must as well. Teachers – particularly those who have been teaching for many years – focus on the importance of pedagogy, believing they know enough history from their own days as a student. And those tasked with preparing future generations of American history teachers believe that simply doing more of what they have always done, and what they themselves received as students, is more than sufficient to meet the challenge. But we know that is simply not the case. Many teachers’ content knowledge is not as deep or up-to-date as it should be, and the way they convey information certainly does not hold the interest of most of today’s multimedia-oriented students.
For the Driving Force Institute (DFI) to both maximize the opportunities before it and make a real difference in the learning of history, we must approach the problem from several angles, exploring different concerns to inject real solutions. As tens of millions of students across the country shift to virtual learning – and as their teachers look for new, engaging learning materials to hold their students’ interests – now is the time to transform the teaching and learning of American history. A full arsenal of tools and approaches are then necessary to keep that door open, allowing the Driving Force Institute to do the necessary work.
For more information on DFI and its work to transform the teaching and learning of American history, please visit http://www.drivingforceinstitute.org