At a time when Congress is expressing concern about the state of history education in our country and polls are showing that many Americans are historically illiterate, it is good to know that one program is making a difference for history educators. Through National History Day (NHD) thousands of teachers are excelling beyond state standards and reforming the way history is taught and learned in America.
NHD is a year-long non-profit education program. Its goal is to promote the study of history by engaging students and teachers in the excitement of historical inquiry and creative presentation. Through publications and education program NHD teachers are trained to not rely on history textbooks, but expand their classroom to include libraries, museums, and archives.
Teachers use the annual National History Day competition to engage students in historical research just as scholars do. The NHD program combines both historical content and the process of historical inquiry. This way, both teachers and students learn valuable research, critical thinking, and presentation skills, as well as a solid understanding of the history of their country and the world.
This year's 27th annual National History Day competition will focus on the theme, Frontiers in History: People, Places, Ideas. NHD will lead more than 700,000 students nationwide to new discoveries of historical frontiers in politics, geography, science, space, presidential powers, ideologies, and many other ideas. Students begin to prepare for the competition soon after the school year begins. Teachers can brainstorm with students to help them choose topics, and provide them with the guidelines for participating in NHD.
A student can create a project in one of four categories: exhibit, historical performance, documentary, or research paper. They may also decide to enter as individuals or as a member of a group. Students develop critical thinking and problem solving skills while creating entries and competing in a series of district, state and national contests. These skills will help them manage and use information now and in the future.
For more information on free educator workshops and institutes visit the official website at www.NationalHistoryDay.org
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