Whadda ya think about a “Future-Focused History Alliance?”

To the followers of the Future-Focused History blog:

I promised to return in September (after the new school year was well underway) to discuss where we might go from here. First, I’m pleased to report that our ranks have more than doubled since my previous report: from 33 blog followers in August to 72 today, some of whom are eager to get to work on advancing the goal of future-focused history education.

Here are my thoughts about the role of this blog (and please consider sharing your thoughts in the comment section below…we’re all FFH pioneers here, and we’re in this together).

It seems to me that this blog has essentially two basic functions: education and advocacy. Perhaps most people who signed up to follow the FFH blog are intrigued by the idea of future-focused history schooling and are interested in keeping abreast of any new developments in the field; these people are tuning-in to the education function. Others—often veteran teachers—are so concerned about the state of history education that they are ready to begin taking action now. They are ready to undertake an advocacy function.

I’ve tried to serve the education function by writing a book, Future-Focused History Teaching: Restoring the Power of Historical Learning, and by starting this blog, which features informational articles about contemporary history schooling and the concept of future-focused history.

Of course, both of these efforts are forms of individual advocacy, but an effective advocacy movement will require forming an organization that can combine the efforts of many people working toward a common goal. Such an organization is welcome to have a home on this blog. 

What about a name for this advocacy organization? The best name I have been able to come up with is “Future-Focused History Alliance.” This could be an alliance consisting not only of individuals, but also of sister organizations that likewise support a goal of useful historical learning. Are you comfortable with this name? Do you have other suggestions?

That’s probably enough business for us to cover in this post: Do we want to start an advocacy organization? If so, would “Future-Focused History Alliance” be a suitable name? 

Please weigh in—your input matters. If there is little interest in forming an advocacy organization, I’ll probably drop the idea. If, on the other hand, we decide to pursue an advocacy function, next we can consider the forms this advocacy might take.

Best wishes, Mike

10 thoughts on “Whadda ya think about a “Future-Focused History Alliance?””

  1. Hey Mike, for some reason I cannot login – I’ve been trying for 10 minutes. Do you know my login/password info? Sorry about that!

    I was going to post this comment:

    “I like the FFH Alliance idea! I agree; advocacy of content is needed in the age we live in…the hard part will be figuring out what is important, what testing will/should look like, and more. At the basic level, I hope we can all agree that a foundation of historical knowledge is crucial to make wiser decisions. Count me in.”

    Sent from Outlook

    ________________________________

    1. Chase-
      Due to the technical problems with comments, I didn’t get this post added until today (10/12). I hope those problems are cleared up now.

    1. Chase and Tefel-
      I am so gratified to have the continued support of you two experienced history teachers and stalwart allies, one of whom I got to know years ago from The Student’s Friend Concise World History, and the other I got to know only last year after he read my other book, Future-Focused History Teaching. It’s people like you that make this effort worthwhile.

  2. Well first of all, I think we need to determine and define our vision and mission. If we are to have an alliance, what we’re trying to do must be purposeful and expressed as such. I also agree that we should tie in with one of the platforms of NCSS and/or one of the leading historical associations in the country as well as literacy initiatives. I’ve been wondering lately if there is evidence that suggests a correlation between the decline in literacy of students and the lack of social studies instruction. That would be something I’d like to further research.

    1. Thanks for your feedback. With the technical problems out of the way (I hope), we can return to considering the question of where we go from here, that is, the future of Future-Focused History. Please keep your ideas coming.

    2. Leticia, Daniel Willingham has written well about the importance of knowledge as it relates to social studies instruction. There are strong links: students who know social studies knowledge can fill in unknown gaps, use more vocabulary, think more critically (because their brains aren’t hung up on basic tasks), etc. Also an older scholar who is famous for encouraging a knowledge-base is E.D. Hirsch.
      I agree though, in addition to the alarming statistics about people not knowing history, these points are important to advertise!

    3. Leticia- I have been following suggestions to try to link up with leading historical associations. I became a member the National Council for the Social Studies after they published my article “Historical Thinking Skills: A Second Opinion.” (See October 17 post.) And then contributed to forums there. More recently, I joined the American Historical Association and had a dialogue with its president about adopting a more focused approach to history education. (See November 19 post.) I’ve also contributed to AHA member forums. Just trying to plant seeds wherever I can…hoping they might grow.

  3. This is a comment from Byron Thomas on October 4 that I rescued from a deleted post.

    Hey Mike,
    I like the idea of Future Focused Alliance. Or maybe it could be a working group within an established organization NCSS, etc. platform could be something to discuss. I am a member of a Teacher Facebook group and I love it. Not sure if Facebook might be easier to manage. Also, it might be cool to propose a topic for Organization of American Historians, World History Association, National Council of Social Stidues, etc. Those are my few words. Thanks for the encouragement and your work in thinking about the future.

    Mike responded:
    Thanks for YOUR encouragement and suggestions. I have Future-Focused History Facebook and Twitter pages (FF History) that I post to occasionally, but I’m pretty inept at social media, so I’m probably not taking full advantage of the opportunities they offer. Good idea about forming working groups in history organizations. We would probably need to have an organizational identity such as Future-Focused History Alliance to participate. I don’t think we cold participate as a blog. Keep those suggestions coming!

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