chapter  2
A New Focus for the History Professoriate: Professional Development for History Teachers as Professional Development for Historians
Pages 18

Writing in the summer of 2006, historian Kelly Ann Long recounted the “transformative” experience of serving as a consultant, instructor, and curriculum designer for Project TEACH, a professional development program serving 200 K-12 history and social studies teachers from fi ve nearby school districts. “As my work with the project took my intellectual interests in new directions over time, my focus shift ed from a desire to communicate with a small group of historians whose interests corresponded to my own, toward a will to communicate more broadly about my discipline and to share a broad base of content knowledge with a wider public audience,” she recalled. Long’s work for the program changed “from that of information deliverer to resource provider … [that] included not only carefully selected materials, but also pedagogical approaches focused on higherorder concepts … and content skills.” By the end of the program’s three-year cycle, she and her fellow historians in the project “recognized that our interaction with precollegiate educators had strengthened our own teaching and provided an important audience,” and as a consequence, “illustrating the reciprocal learning that can result through such grants, my approach to teaching my own courses has been transformed.” Long redesigned her traditional lecture courses back at Colorado State to employ the techniques, philosophy, and objectives learned from her experience with the public school teachers. Such “powerful reciprocal processes entail potential risk for untenured faculty,” she warned, and echoing the words of James Horton, past president of the Organization of American Historians, she urged that “history departments must support individual historians in ways that will sustain outreach and networking between educators.”2