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What Should an Exceptional History and Social Studies Teacher Know and Be Able to Do?

The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards, which provides a national certification for teachers whom the organization considers to be exceptional, is seeking public comment on its revised standards for what accomplished teachers of history and social studies must know and be able to do. The comment period started today and ends August 9. Find the standards document here and the invitation to comment here.

The document reflects some changes since the national board published its first standards document for teachers of social studies and history in 1997, according to information from the national board's Web site. For example, in some cases, several standards have been collapsed into a single standard. In general, the new standards have less detail than the previous ones.

According to the new standards document, an accomplished history and social studies teacher knows his or her students as individuals and also as members of families and communities, recognizes the importance of student diversity, facilitates students' development as participants in civil public discourse, and is well grounded in content knowledge. The standards are intended for teachers of students ages 11 to 18 or older.

The document elaborates on each of these general standards. For instance, the document contains 14 pages of information spelling out what a teacher who is well grounded in content knowledge should know and be able to do. He or she should have in-depth knowledge of economics, U.S. history, world history, and geography, among other topics, according to the document.

Also this summer, the national board released revised standards for teachers of students who are English-language learners; the comment period for that document closed yesterday.

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