Guest Post: Don Gifford “Mining or Archeology?”

One of the pleasures of working with KCSS is the many people I get to come in contact with.  One of those people is our KSDE Social Studies Specialist, gifford Mr. Don Gifford.  He has agreed to do some guest posts for the Doing Social Studies blog.  Here is his first of hopefully many more to come…  BB

“In my current role as the History, Government, Social Studies Consultant for the Kansas State Department of Education I am constantly looking for ways to communicate the differences between our previous standards and the new standards adopted this spring by the Kansas Board of Education.  The best I have come up with is that under the 2003 standards we were mining for content.  We were in search of this nugget of information (Shi Huangdi, Fred Harvey, Zulu Wars, Mary Wollstonecraft, etc.).  When we found it we ripped it out of the ground, and studied and analyzed it trying to learn everything we could about it.  We discarded everything that wasn‘t the nugget as unimportant.  The result was that our student’s recognized and identified nuggets of information easily, but really didn’t know what they meant because they had been studied and analyzed out of context.  They only understood the nugget as an element, not a part of a whole.  Archeology handles this find quite differently.  When an archeologist makes a find the first thing they do is stop.  They identify the artifact and analyze the surrounding material to advance their understanding of it.  This investigation of the artifact “in situ” generates a greater understanding of the uses and applications of that artifact, and the broader context of the culture around it.  To me this is the greatest difference between the 2003 standards and the 2013 standards.  The former champions the information and the latter the uses and nature of that information and the broader cultural context.”

Don Gifford

Educational Program Consultant for History, Government, and Social Studies

Kansas State Department of Education

About bradburenheide

I'm an Associate Professor at Kansas State University's College of Education. Currently I am the program coordinator for secondary social studies education. My research interests include instructional gaming, history education, and creative pedagogy.

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