RRCHNM Launches New Teaching Guides for Pre-Service History Teachers

Funded by the Library of Congress, the four teaching guides will support new prospective teachers teaching the history of religion and will be available on Teachinghistory.org.

RRCHNM is proud to announce the launch of four new resources for pre-service teachers on the history of religion in the United States. The guides were made possible with generous funding from the Teaching with Primary Sources program from the Library of Congress. These free online resources feature activities for students to engage with rich Library of Congress primary sources to better understand topics in history that can be especially challenging for teachers who are new to the profession.

Now more than ever teaching history is fraught and these resources acknowledge the particular difficulty prospective history teachers face in teaching potentially emotional topics. The guides provide activities centered on analyzing primary sources and model the historian’s approach of understanding people in the past through evidence they left behind — to include the words they used, the songs they sang, the buildings they built, and many other sources.


Mormon Journey Map featured in the teaching guide Mormons and Westward Expansion.

The guides were developed by Nate Sleeter, faculty at RRCHNM in charge of education projects, along with significant assistance in researching and locating primary sources from PhD student Hayley Madl. Sleeter and Madl consulted with scholars with expertise in religion and the history of religion — Jannelle Legg, John Turner, and Lincoln Mullen — to determine appropriate topics for the guides that matched current scholarship. Additionally feedback was sought from social studies methods scholars, Mark Helmsing of George Mason, Stewart Waters of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Karen Kortecamp of George Washington University who provided ideas on how to frame the guides for an audience of pre-service teachers and solicited feedback from teachers in training.

The topics of the guides are Religion and the Civil War, Religion and the Labor Movement, Mormons and Westward Expansion, and the 1916 Children’s Code of Morality. Activities outlined in the guides include having students use primary sources to develop digital projects such as digital story maps, multimedia exhibits, and presentations.


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