Social Studies Doctoral Students Present at the NCSS Annual Conference

On December 2-4, 2011, Social Studies educators from across the country convened in Washington DC at the 91st National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference. The gathering offered a plethora of learning opportunities for participants around the theme of Dimensions of Diversity.

The three-day event was kicked off with a series of pre-conference clinics during which attendees were able to take advantage of the many resources Washington, DC has to offer. In these hands-on sessions, participants focused on content-based programs to enrich the social studies classroom. Clinic offerings included Bringing International Conflict and Peace Building Alive in the Classroom, hosted by the United States Institute of Peace, Discovering Hidden Treasures of the Middle East in Washington, DC, hosted by the Middle East Outreach Council, and Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources, hosted by the Library of Congress, among others.

The conference, packed with special events, workshops, and presentations, had something for everyone. AP teachers had a wide array of workshops hosted by the College Board to choose from, exploring activities designed to increase student engagement around specific AP course topics. Community meetings, set up as formal subgroups within NCSS, brought together educators with common interests, such as teacher education and professional development, technology, citizenship, and research. In addition, the conference organized a series of tours for participants to experience the rich history and culture of the Washington, DC area. Sites such as the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Battlefield, Clara Barton’s Missing Soldiers Office, and Historic Annapolis and the U.S. Naval Academy gave visitors the chance to experience history firsthand.

The conference was anchored by a series of distinguished keynote and featured speakers who gave talks on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Research Professor of Education at NYU and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute Diane Ravitch, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, broadcast journalist Judy Woodruff, and Associate Director for Curatorial Affairs at the National Museum of African American History and Culture Rex Ellis were just some of the esteemed speakers conference participants were able to hear.

Finally, a rich collection of sessions centered around Vital Issues took place concurrently on Friday and Saturday. TC’s own Amy Mungur, Ashley Taylor, and Scott Wylie of the Social Studies Program hosted a session on Teaching Diversity and Tolerance Using Muslim Youth Oral Histories. The presentation explored the stories of Muslim students addressing their religious and ethnic identity in public schools.

Presenting at the conference was one of the highlights for Ashley Taylor. “There were over 25 attendees at our session, and we had a lively conversation about how to encourage students to understand and appreciate issues surrounding religion and culture in America through a closer examination of the challenges facing Muslim youth- examining their oral history narratives- and how to help students rise above media-driven stereotypes, thus gaining a more diverse understanding of what it means to be young and Muslim in the U.S. Overall, it was incredibly fun presenting with Amy and Scott, and I look forward to many more presentations together in the future.”

See photos from the conference here.

Video highlights of conference presenters can be found here.