James A. Percoco is a nationally recognized history educator with over thirty-three years of service to American education. His books A Passion for the Past: Creative Teaching of US History and Divided We Stand: Teaching About Conflict in US History are staples in collegiate social studies methods courses across the United States. Percoco has pioneered the combination of public education with public history utilizing public history opportunities throughout his curriculum. Thirty-six of his students have worked for the National Park Service, and several of them are currently in leadership positions. Many of his former students also became social studies/history teachers.
A prolific speaker, Percoco demonstrates how to use historic sites and museums as adjuncts to his teaching and has modeled his approach in countless inservice programs nationally.
Pulitzer Prize winning author and biographer David McCullough has called Percoco “a national treasure,” and Yohuru Williams has dubbed Percoco “America’s History Teacher.”
Percoco is a Gilder-Lehrman Teacher of the Year (Virginia) and was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame in 2011.
In the Percoco Method, Jim’s students touch as much history as possible through field trips, guest lecturers, and primary source material. It uses a hybrid teacher/student-centric approach with an inquiry-based methodology to cover material in depth rather than skim the surface. The title of the class, “Applied History,” is a giveaway to the method. His enthusiasm and skill as a teacher were a gift to his students. Percoco said, “Setting an unusual course in my teaching (pun intended!) is what I like to refer to as a present of the past, a gift to my students that permits them to recognize their place in the march of time while understanding that those people and events who preceded them affect them to this very day.” But while his Applied History class is a specially designed elective class, each of the strategies in the Percoco Method are relevant to any classroom.
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“Historical” Approach to History Education—I See Dead People; The Percoco Method: Origin of the Method; Applied History: A Model for Modern Classrooms?; Historical Inquiry: (IBL) Methodology for History Education; Percoco Strategy #1: Guide Connections through Historical Inquiry; Percoco Strategy #2: Use Themes, Not Textbooks; Percoco Strategy #3: For Problem-based Learning, Decentralize the Class; Percoco Strategy #4: Create an Atmosphere for Discussion; Percoco Strategy #5: Make Your Course Relevant; Percoco Strategy #6: Create a Spiral Discussion Flow; Percoco Strategy #7: Get into “Good Trouble” by Putting Modern Issues into Historical Context; Percoco Strategy #8: Use Quality Sources to Promote Critical Thinking; Percoco Strategy #9: Create Action-oriented Assignments; Summary; Reflection
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