History 420 - Dr. Gayle Olson-Raymer
Examining the Characteristic of Good History Teachers

roadsign "follow your passion"

Introduction: During our first week, we focused on how to create a collaborative learning community and on the controversies that have long surrounded the teaching of history. One of the things we learned is that there is quite a gap between what the public believes is American history and what history teachers believe to be American history. For the next three days, we are going to try to bridge that gap a bit by talking about the characteristics of good history teachers. By understanding what we should expect from ourselves as history teachers in the making, we can better explain our stance to the public.

Discussion Goals:

  1. To examine what Robert Fried in The Passionate Teacher calls our "stance" as teachers.
  2. To critically think about the characteristics of good history teachers.

But first, let's do two things as we review our last week's discussion on the History Wars and the difficulties of teaching history in a divided nation.

Methods Discussion: Write Around. We had a good discussion about the content related to the History Wars. Now, how do I assess what you all have learned? The Write Around is a great assessment tool. Please take the following steps:

Be sure to keep your "Write Around" method activity. It will go into your Portfolio.

Now, let's briefly discuss most important things we should know about the History Wars.

Goal #1: To examine what Robert Fried in The Passionate Teacher calls our "stance" as teachers

What is a stance? According to the dictionary, a stance is "the attitude of a person or organization toward something; a standpoint."


  1. What do you think it means that teachers need to have a stance?
  2. Should everyone's stance be similar? Why or why not?
  3. Can we share some of our visions for our stance?

Goal #2: To critically think about the characteristics of good history teachers

history teacher characteristics

Good history teachers..

Methods Discussion: Do Now This activity is done at the beginning of class to have students think about a current event OR elsewhere in the class when you want to assess something you have just been discussing.  It should be between 5-15 minutes, depending on the level of complexity of what you are asking students to think about.  So please do the following:

Be sure to keep this and put it in your Portfolio.

Now, back to what are the qualities of good teachers. Good teachers

Methods Discussion: Do Now Assessment. Often, you will want to check in with your students to see how the class is going and how you are doing. This is a time when you want an HONEST assessment of what your students are learning, their comfort level with the classroom environment, and their thoughts about what could be improved. Keeping this in mind, please do the following:

  1. Take out a piece of paper, put your name and the caption "Do Now Assessment" at the top.
  2. Take 8 minutes to address these questions:

When you are done, please turn this in to the professor. Your answers will be confidential and used only by the professor to improve the class content and environment.