Teaching World History in a Global Twenty-First Century
This spring, Professor John Pincince is offering a new 300-level course, "Teaching World History: Pedagogy and Curricula for a Global Twenty-First Century." The course, which is scheduled on Thursdays from 2:30 to 5:00 pm, aims to prepare students, both graduate and undergraduate, to teach world history in high schools and in college/university settings. This is an exciting opportunity for students, particularly those who are planning on pursuing teaching, to engage with both the pedagogy and curricula of teaching world history.
MA student Marie Pellissier spoke to Professor Pincince about his goals and motivations for designing this course.
MP: What is the main goal of the course, and what are you hoping students will take away from it?
JP: I have multiple goals for the "teaching world history" course, three of which I list here:
- To introduce students to the teaching field of world (or global) history by providing examples of content and delivery. The first 45-odd minutes of the course begin with my giving a teaching demonstration on a specific theme or topic.
- To provide students the opportunity to work on and improve upon world history curricula and pedagogical approaches.
- To critically examine world history textbooks and primary source materials in effort to engage in textual modes of delivery of world history content.
MP: Why is it so important for both graduate and undergraduate students to understand world history?
JP: The course is dedicated, but not limited, to undergraduate and graduate students whose pursuit of a history major or minor will lead to profession of teaching (or employed in some related educational institution). In the case of undergraduates, World History is a component for all secondary-level subjects, more frequently a course taught in 10th or 11th grade. Increasingly, more and more students are choosing to take the World History AP exam instead of the US and European AP exams. This course will provide a venue to work on World History developing by examining and developing curricula and pedagogy. Graduate students may find this course useful in at least ways: they will teach a world history class in high school setting or they will secure a faculty position in a university or college in which World History will be one of the courses they teach.
MP: What are the major benefits of thinking and teaching about global or world history?
JP: This course is important in the long trajectory of a revisionist and re-centering mode in the discipline of history to move beyond the limits of nation-centered (nation-centric) historical frameworks and to move beyond Eurocentric and American-exceptionalist perspectives that still plague teaching and research in high schools, colleges and universities. There is a need to move beyond paradigms that limit our abilities to transcend comfort, familiarity and self-hood in our academic or disciplinary foci by historical analyzing peoples, processes, events, discourses, experiences, etc. through global or world historical perspectives.
MP: Who are you anticipating will be the main audience for this course?
JP: Most definitely history and secondary ed (History) students. This course is also the only course in the Department of History that is solely dedicated to "teaching." I believe the department needs to assist in the preparation of future teachers by offering courses dedicated to pedagogical and curricula development. Moreover, I think this course will aid in developing synergistic links with the School of Education, which has been the main location for curricula and pedagogical development for history teachers.
MP: What was your inspiration or motivation to teach this course?
JP: You may be aware that we have graduate teaching assistant training for Western Civ (I and II). However, the training is immersive-- TAs are simply thrown into the deep water of an undergraduate history course and forced to orient themselves to a class that may in many ways be unfamiliar to their academic background. A course devoted to history pedagogy and curricula development will, I believe, better prepare undergraduates and graduate students to swim comfortably in the waters of the increasing expansive discipline of history that in moving toward world and global approaches to studying the past and living in the present.
Undergraduate registration opens November 7th.
Some responses have been edited for clarity.