History: A Cultural Approach

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Transform history into an active and exciting exploration for students.

The Cultural Approach helps bring history to life and encourages students to ask “how” and “why” events happened instead of simply memorizing names and dates they will soon forget.

The Cultural Approach transforms history from boring, rote memorization into an active and exciting exploration by applying anthropological methods to the study of history. While this may sound complex, it could not be simpler. Students study history by analyzing the six dimensions of culture (Politics, Religion, Aesthetics, Intellectual Developments, Economics, and Social Relations) in a given place and time.

They ask questions like “What were the political options of the time?” and “How might religion have impacted their social relationships?” to analyze both why and how a historical event happened, rather than just memorizing names and dates.

What Educators Say

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"It was it is a great program. I plan to offer the cultural approach ideas to my pre-service teachers when we discuss history methods."
UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR OF EDUCATION
"Using The Cultural Approach to History is like looking at a polished, cut jewel, you are able to see all the facets of the event!"
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"One of the best professional development experiences that I've ever participated in. Simply amazing."
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"The Cultural Approach to History is an amazing tool students can use to make connections and truly understand the "big picture." For years I've used something similar in my AP class without knowing what it was called. This summer during the course redesign, I'm going to rewrite my AP syllabus ...
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"This is a wonderful approach to help students see the big picture when studying history. It is also an excellent way to help students organize information for high order activities such as writing."
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"Cultural Approach to History is a great tool to use in the classroom to tackle complex issues."
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
The Cultural Approach allows students to visualize the "big picture" of historical context. It pushes them to find answers and solve problems on their own with the teacher as the facilitator and not leader.
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"I have embedded this experience to be a part of me. I will help and lead my students to become inquisitive, asking questions (why and how). Also, they will become critical thinkers that will lead discussions (because now they connect)."
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"After taking part in this seminar I'm excited to incorporate more opportunities for my students to express their opinions and think critically on substantive issues raised in my class."
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"The seminars remind me how important it is to find different ways of communicating information so as to give the students multiple opportunities to find something from the material with which to draw connections."
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"Every seminar I have attended in the cultural approach rejuvenates me."
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"Learning more about using the Cultural Approach to History more effectively has made me a better teacher."
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"For any teacher who wishes to gain a better insight on history to help increase student achievement, use the Cultural Approach and come to one of the seminars."
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
"The Cultural Approach to History is an excellent approach to teaching for the AP US curriculum. It provides an excellent framework for a thematic approach to history, which can be adapted to serve as an excellent curriculum for an AP US History class."
SECONDARY GRADES TEACHER
“It uses primary resources and helps me see all the major details.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDENT
“Last year, we didn’t do Cultural Approach and Social Studies was hard for me.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDENT
“It tells you a story.  You get to see how it is all connected.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDENT
“You get to hear your classmates’ opinions and share your ideas.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDENT
“There’s more than one right answer.  As long as you can justify it, you can use it!”
EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDENT
“You’re not just choosing an answer.  You know WHY.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD STUDENT
“We, as educators, are looking for ways to reach the "WHOLE CHILD." The cultural approach provides you with a framework to accomplish this task.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
“I had never heard of the Cultural Approach before this seminar, but I walked away with such a powerful, new perspective on teaching history. I cannot wait to try this in my classroom!”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
“I have found myself using the approach in everyday life.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
“My students are able to see connections not only between standards, but also within the standard itself.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
“Using the CAH makes learning about the past relevant and exciting for students.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
“I am giving my students a lens they can forever use to look at history in a holistic manner.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
“It [The Cultural Approach] takes the responsibility off of me as a teacher, and allows me to serve as a facilitator of learning.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
“When students hear we are starting social studies, they get excited.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
“I have always thought that history is boring, that goes all the way back to elementary school. Now I feel like there's a lot more to history than just dates and learning events by heart. You can take it so much further.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
“I can see now how easily and seamlessly this approach can be used with elementary students.”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
“It has totally changed my outlook on teaching history in a wonderful way. I feel my sense of history and how to teach it will be richer for it. I won't look at teaching history the same again!”
EARLY CHILDHOOD TEACHER
"It takes it from the traditional aspect of reading it in a book … to the middle of where this history happened creating a more intimate relationship with a topic. The more senses you engage in a topic, the more the student is going to learn, understand, and apply."
RYAN FREEMANHARRIS COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
"It all intertwines, that is what social studies is. The political intertwines with the religious the religious intertwines with the economic and so on and so forth. It allows them to be able to use their experiences as a frame of reference and to bridge the gap between ...
ANTHONY SHELTONEAST COLUMBUS MAGNET SCHOOL
"It is easier then it sounds to use, it is not as complex as it may look. It is something that you should try, because once you try it you will like it and you will see you can do a better job instructing and enlightening your students."
ROB GRANTCOUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
"I took this class [Summer Seminar] for the two credits in two weeks, but I found I learned more than I have ever learned in any education class."
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER
"The Cultural Approach definitely benefits me as a teacher, because it makes it to where I have categories to try to teach what I need to teach. It nails everything down."
MINDY GILLOWCALVARY CHRISTIAN SCHOOL
"Role-playing, especially in the Cultural Approach, is a big plus to having the students learn what you are trying to get across to them."
ROB GRANTHARRIS COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL
"One benefit [of the Cultural Approach] is the lens that can be applied anywhere, which may help students tell the thematic story of history."
TOM HILTONTEACHER, CHERWELL SCHOOL, OXFORD, U.K.
​"The Cultural approach is a framework from which you may be able to teach your subject area. I am telling you it is a very well organized way of doing it."
ANTHONY SHELTONEAST COLUMBUS MAGNET SCHOOL
"In teaching the Cultural Approach with the visits to Ma Rainey’s House and the Liberty Theater, students are able to go and learn a lot about these people. You have a more personal feel other than what you have heard and read."
DARLENE COOKARNOLD MAGNET ACADEMY
"​​I have learned more about Columbus and the surrounding area than I ever thought I had learned or knew."
HIGH SCHOOL TEACHER