Episode 3 – Content vs Skills in World History

In this episode Matt and I debate whether to prioritize content or skills in the world history classroom. We also reference Lendol Calder’s famous “Uncoverage” article from 2006 while discussing a possible ‘signature pedagogy’ for world historians. Book recommendations are:

Dave – Levesque, Thinking Historically

Matt – MacGregor, A History of the World in 100 Objects

Get it on Stitcher

3 thoughts on “Episode 3 – Content vs Skills in World History

  1. Mr. Bravim says:

    Although content has become old-fashioned in accelerated high school history courses (AP, IB, Cambridge AICE) it is still critical! The key is balancing content with skills, not abandoning content for skills. You cannot have a survey history course void of content. What will you analyze without content? What is chronological reasoning without something to reason about? How can you provide contextualization with no reference point?

    Love the podcast and your efforts to demystify the dilemma of the world history educator.

    • Dave says:

      I agree that content is still critical! The challenge, I think, is making sure we don’t waste too much time overloading students with information they can easily find on Wikipedia. I’ve seen that happen and it can be very frustrating to all involved.

      • Mr. Bravim says:

        Yes, Dave! Reading or replicating wikipedia is irrelevant to most learners’ needs. What wikipedia does not (and cannot) do is provide the analysis, chronological reasoning, historical argumentation, and contextualization over the content areas covered. The AP program has done a very good job making the exam much more about skills than in past decades (see new DBQ scoring rubric). A jeopardy champion who aces all the history questions would not necessarily score a 4 or 5 in AP World History. Ditto for APUSH and AP Euro. Most likely they would cap out at 3, if that.

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