Tuesday, February 13, 2007
OU, Waterford history program off to positive start
By Rebecca Wyatt Thomas, OU Web Writer
Working with professors from Oakland University’s Department of History, the Waterford School District is sending its teachers back to the classroom to learn about the American History topics they teach. The fifth, eighth and 10th grade teachers are getting an in-depth look at aspects of American History and new ways to apply them in the classroom.
Through a three-year Department of Education grant, Waterford and Oakland designed a program that would improve the background of the district’s history teachers. OU professors will host workshops, help teachers get access to materials, provide ideas for engaging students and develop reading lists.
The first of three phases for the first year was completed in January. The teachers participated in seminars with the OU history professors. The first half of the day was devoted to lecture and the afternoon was a discussion session. The second session will be held in April and the third, a week-long session, will be held in June. For the next three years, professors will work with the history teachers on different topics.
“The response so far has been excellent. We have heard from teachers that they like the idea of learning content, not just instructional skills,” said Carol Bacak-Egbo, Waterford social studies consultant and organizer of the OU/Waterford program.
The teachers were pre-tested in January and will be tested at the completion of the program to chart the progress.
Matt Sutton, assistant professor of history, is working with 10th grade teachers on the Great Depression and the New Deal. The teachers were given a book to read in advance and discuss during the seminars in January.
“By educating the teachers more on the topics they teach, they will be able to prepare the students to think more like college students,” said Sutton.
The OU professors are also encouraging the history professors to include music, film and other multimedia events in their lessons.
“We’re helping to catch them up on the newest trends in the field and how to apply them in their classroom,” said Sutton. “The response from the teachers has been very positive. They seem enthusiastic to apply this information in the classroom.”
For more information about Oakland University’s history department, visit the Department of History Web site or call (248) 370-3510.