The December 2011 issue of Public History News contained an article entitled “Teaching Teachers the Power of Place”, which focused on the Teaching with Historic Places (TwHP) program established by the United States National Park Service.
The TwHP program aims to provide resources for teachers based on the properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Flexible lesson plans, powerpoints, case study examples, and other media tools have been developed by historians and teachers to provide support for any school looking to examine history, geography, or social studies from a place based perspective.
What benefits does place based instruction have? Rooting history or social studies firmly in a place helps make the topic more relevant. If possible focusing a lesson on a local site helps students create a stronger connection with their community’s past. The use of historic photographs, artifacts, and documents can make even a far away place seem real and assist in making the past relevant to students.
Overall, the TwHP sounds like a great resource for educators both in and outside of formal education institutions. Has anyone used a similar resource or been exposed to a Canadian equivalent?
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