The infusion of local history into the New York State eleventh-grade United States History curriculum

Richard E Quest, University of Pennsylvania


This research took place in a small rural upstate New York school district in an eleventh grade social studies classroom. The researcher examined how the infusion of two local history lessons promoted interest and increased participation among these students. The methodology included quantitative and qualitative data in support of the research question. The focus of this research was on improving the teaching of the New York State eleventh grade social studies curriculum through the infusion of local history into students' daily classes. This study looked at the potential of using local history as a supplement to the 11th grade United States History and Government curriculum in New York State and how it increased student interest and participation. This study found that the infusion of local history was more engaging and enriching for students. Local history did enhance the making of connections for students in their history classes. The researcher provided a historiography of the use of local history in teaching social studies. This spanned a time frame of late nineteenth century thought to the present day. Positive results supporting the use of local history in the classroom were gleaned from the qualitative data gathered from student focus groups. Implications of the study concluded that incorporating local history into the classroom increased student interest and participation in the eleventh grade United States history curriculum. The study also makes recommendations for collaboration between professional historians, educators and educational leaders to provide the necessary resources to provide a high quality social studies experience for students. Educators must begin to expose students to history where that most personal of history has been; at home with family, and in the students community. It has often been the case that people who historians would not view as having great historical significance would be highly interesting at a more local level, particularly as a subject of study in history classes. The infusion of local history in the social studies curriculum will engage students much more effectively than simply memorizing facts.

Subject Area

Social studies education|School administration|Secondary education

Recommended Citation

Quest, Richard E, "The infusion of local history into the New York State eleventh-grade United States History curriculum" (2006). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI3209986.