Program makes history come alive for teachers
COAL GROVE — Local history teachers are getting first-hand experience seeing history come alive thanks to the Landmark Program Fellowship sponsored through the Gallia-Vinton Educational Service Center.
“It’s a professional development opportunity for teachers,” said Dawson-Bryant history teacher Monica Mahlmeister. “In the summer we do a field study.”
The program provides history teachers with continuing education that focuses on methods of teaching history and resources they can implement in their classrooms.
“It allowed for collaboration (with other teachers),” said Dean Mader, principal at Dawson-Bryant High School, who was previously involved in the program.
The program has brought in speakers from the CIA and the Army War College.
“They bring in experts, to say the least, in all areas we study,” said Mader.
Each year, teachers study a particular presidential era and then visit presidential libraries corresponding to the era.
“We get to tour the library and take advantage of the resources they have,” said Mahlmeister. “The purpose of (the program) was to have us go visit all the presidential libraries.”
Mahlmeister, along with Mader and history teacher Derek Parsons, believe being part of the program has had an impact on both them and their students.
“It has really transformed our teaching, the things they show us,” said Mahlmeister.
When the teachers visit the presidential libraries, they have the opportunity to visit other historical sites near the library.
“It was the best program I was involved in as a teacher,” said Mader. “You can get some things from books, but some things you can’t until you actually visit there.”
Mader said during one trip with the program, the group got to visit places on Ellis Island that were off-limits to other tourists. It’s those types of things that gave Mader a unique experience he could tell his history students at Dawson-Bryant.
“It made it so I could bring (history) alive,” said Mader. “I used the content in the program…about 75 percent of the time in my classes.”
During one of the trips, Parsons, who teaches history to ninth graders at Dawson-Bryant, got to see a piece of the Berlin Wall and then was able to show his class pictures when he returned.
“They like seeing the pictures,” said Parsons.
Parsons believes the places he has visited and the things he has learned in the program have translated to his students.
“I think they remember (history) better,” said Parsons. “It raises student achievement.”
Mahlmeister sees the program as a valuable resource for her and her students.
“It’s important to me because I can provide more engaging lessons for my students,” she said.
“All this has translated into better test scores for our students,” said Mahlmeister. “I get a lot of positive feedback from the students.”
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