Messiah College is One of the Best Places in the Nation to Prepare to be a History Teacher

Messiah panorama

Below is a taste of an article on the recent findings of the National Council on Teacher Quality.  Messiah College’s secondary education programs in Social Studies and the Sciences finished in the 98th percentile. along with 10 other colleges. Only David Lipscomb University, Arizona State, University of Utah, CUNY-Hunter College, Ohio Wesleyan, and Wisconsin-Platteville finished in the 99 percentile.

717 colleges and universities offer high school teacher education programs.  Messiah finished in a 10-way tie for second place.

Part of the reason Messiah’s program is so successful is because we require students take 39 credits in history, 9 credits in other social studies fields, and a three-credit history course in “Teaching History” that focuses on content pedagogy and historical thinking skills.  We also work very closely with our Education Department to make sure our students have at least three classroom experiences during their four years at Messiah College.  Our students consistently score in the highest percentile on their content exams and we have even had students who have had perfect scores on this test.

Messiah College is proud to be one of the best places in the country to prepare for a career in the history and social studies classroom.

Here is a taste of the piece:

Lesser-known Hope College in Holland, MI; Lipscomb University in Nashville, TN; Messiah College in Grantham, PA; and St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN surface on a shortlist of the best undergraduate programs for preparing high school teachers, alongside Arizona State University, the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota. What puts them there? According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, each has “solid admission standards, provide sufficient preparation in each candidate’s intended subject area and show them how best to teach that subject.” Many also do well in teaching future teachers how to manage a classroom and in providing high quality practice opportunities.

The complete list is only 16 schools long out of a possible 717 undergraduate programs that prepare secondary teachers. Half of the programs recognized by NCTQ are public, half are private. Programs range in size from Ohio Wesleyan University, which graduates about 20 teachers a year, to Arizona State, which graduates over 800 teachers a year. In-state tuition for the undergraduates ranges from under $7,000 a year at CUNY-Hunter College to a high of just over $44,000 at Ohio Wesleyan.

The NCTQ’s latest report, “Landscapes in teacher prep: Undergraduate secondary,” found that a widespread problem among the programs knocked off the list were a lack of content preparation for science and social studies teacher candidates. For example, even though history is the subject most social studies teachers will be assigned to teach, one out of five programs requires minimal to no history courses for their future teachers. However, they almost universally deliver strong preparation in English and mathematics.

Read the entire piece here.

A Middle School History Teacher Visits “Intellectual Disneyland”

history-teacherZachary Cote teaches middle school (8th grade) history at Stella Middle Charter Academy in Los Angeles.  This weekend he will be writing for The Way of Improvement Leads Home from Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association in Denver. –JF

As a middle school teacher in urban Los Angeles, I am inundated with education strategies and research and am often surrounded by the urban education culture. Now, to be clear, I chose this. However, when not specifically preparing for lessons or classroom management strategies, I find a home in the historian’s realm. Recently a colleague of mine said to me, “I could teach anything. I’m a teacher who just happens to teach history.” I responded, “Well, I am a historian who teaches.” I cannot see myself teaching anything else. I thus often miss the academic days of my college years and try to keep up with my field by reading historical journals, blogs and books. The Annual Meeting of the American Historical Association, to say the least, has been sort of a homecoming.

When I sit in panels and listen to historian’s dialogue and debate I think to myself, “I am at Intellectual Disneyland.” I feel almost as if like I have left the city for the day and traveled to the rural areas of California about an hour north from Los Angeles where I am rejuvenated through a deep breath of that fresh air.  The AHA conference is that breath of fresh air. My lungs and head are clearing, and I am reminded of the joys of the discipline of history.  For those like me, historians at heart who feel called to the classroom, I want to encourage you: Do whatever you can to attend an AHA annual meeting.  It replenishes your intellectual cup, it refreshes your historical mind, and it fuels your educator’s heart to use the past to inspire our future.

"Religion and the Making of American Citizens"

In November I will be speaking at “Religion and the Making of American Citizens,” a weekend teacher’s institute to be held at the University of Tennessee. Conference co-organizer Jonathan Yeager writes:

My colleague Lucien Ellington and I are organizing an institute at UTC for teachers. During the weekend of Friday, November 15 to Saturday, November 16, teachers will hear various experts speak on the theme of: Religion and the Making of American Citizens: Past, Present, and Future.” This weekend institute is sponsored by the Apgar Foundation and the Center for Reflective Citizenship at UTC, which was founded by Lucien and former SunTrust Chair of Excellence in Humanities, Wilfred McClay.

This weekend institute is meant to offer training for local educators, approximately two dozen of whom will hear speakers talk about the importance of including religion in their teaching. The Center for Reflective Citizenship hopes to convince teachers that religion has played a vital role in America, from its founding to the present, and should be included in any basic courses on American history. As sponsors of this event, Lucien and I believe that religion is a subject worthy of serious attention by educated people, and so we hope to remind teachers of the influential religious traditions that have permeated American history and culture. 

Speakers include Tracy McKenzie, Daniel Dreisbach, Wilfred McClay, Molly Worthen, and Michael Cromartie.

If you are a teacher and are interested in attending this institute contact Jonathan at his UT-Chattanooga website.