As a teacher, I thought I had found the ultimate historical thinking podcast to listen to back in January 2016. In just some of the first few episodes, guests included Jim Grossman, the executive director of the American Historical Association; Sam Wineburg, founder of the Stanford History Education Group, and Annette Gordon Reed, Pulitzer Prize (and National Humanities Medal and Macarthur genius) winning historian. (Gordon-Reed has also been the subject of one of our past blogs). Since I already looked up to these three scholars, it was special to find a place where they were all being interviewed was such a treat. It felt like a special corner of the growing podcast sphere that I got to be a part of as a listener.
The podcast, hosted by historian John Fea, is entitled “The Way of Improvement Leads Home,” after his first book, which explored the American Enlightenment. Dr. Fea has long been a champion of historical thinking at both the college level and in K-12 education. He has a track record of working with K-12 teachers to help them refine their own pedagogy when it comes to incorporating historical thinking skills into their classroom, and has personally inspired me greatly over the years. His work with the Gilder Lehrman Institute is especially notable. He taught graduate level history courses for teachers looking to get their Master’s degrees and led week-long institutes at historical locations for history teachers looking to gain more content expertise.
Dr. Fea has also graciously helped us refine one of our own units. His expertise strengthened our unit on Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson’s competing visions for government. With all of this in mind, you might imagine how honored I felt when he asked me to join him on his podcast late last month! I felt so fortunate to be interviewed by John and share more about our vision for teaching and assessing historical thinking in K-12 education.
From the podcast’s episode description:
“If you’ve listened to this podcast over the years you know that we champion “historical thinking” as one of our best hopes for sustaining and preserving American democratic life. In this episode we talk with Zachary Cote, the Executive Director of THINKING NATION, a non-profit organization devoted to helping K-12 social studies students mature into citizens who are empowered to analyze information effectively, think historically, and write persuasively in order to build a better democratic future. If you are a school superintendent, principal, or history teacher you are not going to miss this episode!”
With that, we’d love for you to listen! I’m thankful to John for hosting me and excited to continue to share the ways in which we want to shift the paradigm of history education. I’ve linked the podcast here through Apple podcasts, but it is available across all podcast directories.