Teacher Certification


Illinois History

The History/Social Sciences Teacher Certification Program recognizes the importance of solid content knowledge and pedagogical strategies as they apply to Illinois History.  In order to ensure that our certification candidates are prepared to teach such content we have integrated the history, geography, government, and economic issues of Illinois into several facets of our program: 

  • All students in the program are required to successfully complete History 359: History of Illinois in which they complete a course of study on the state, past and present, through several focused units on technology, government, labor, Native Americans, social history, and the state's rich and diverse populations.  Students are required to develop a small project on teaching Illinois history in the secondary classroom.
  • The Illinois Social Studies Project is a team-concept approach to the development of three cohesive lesson plans on any facet of Illinois' history, government, economics, and geography.  Students undertake this project, in cooperation with a partner, during the HIST 496: Secondary Teaching Methods Course.  Past projects have focused on Illinois' various state capitals, slavery in Illinois, the influence of the railroad, industry and labor, the growth of the suburbs, lynching in Illinois history, and our state constitution.
  • Several faculty have developed mini-units of study within their existing History, Geography, Government, and Economics courses that focus on Illinois as a case study.  These units allow students to study the local while understanding the global and develop a better understanding of the world around them.
  • In a partnership with the Illinois Historic and Preservation Agency, students in the program use current and past issues of The Illinois History Teacher to learn more about the state's past, engage primary source documents and to assess the lesson plans of others in terms of how they could be successfully integrated into the curriculum.
  • The Illinois State History Fair holds a Regional History Fair on the NIU campus every spring.  As part of our committment to professional development and outreach, students who are in their final two semesters of the program serve as volunteer judges.
  • Several students have also worked with local and state museums as part of their education and training for teaching, developing lesson plans for the Joseph P. Glidden Homestead and Historical CenterTinker Swiss Cottage, and the Elgin Historical Society.

Illinois' history is vast in scope and varied in nature.  Some of the nation's most significant events and achievements happened within our state.  Some of what happens here is also purely local.  As we engage the study of Illinois history and social facets our students learn about the study of hsitory itself, how to apply concepts from multiple fields of social science to events, oral history, public history, and the nation's story.  

This broad sequence of engagement with Illinois as a case study and as a focal point allows students to study the local while understanding the global and develop a better understanding of the world around them.