Future Social Studies Teachers

The future is bright for Texas school districts and school children, as 12 UTEP undergraduates successfully completed HIST 4330: Teaching History/Social Studies.  This course serves as a capstone experience for pre-service secondary history and social studies teachers as they prepare to become state-certified.




U.S. War with Mexico Symposium and Lesson Plan Contest Winners

On Saturday, April 9th, UTEP’s Center for History Teaching and Learning, with a grant from Humanities Texas, sponsored a talk by Dr. Sam Haynes from the University of Texas at Arlington titled “Why they Fought: Nationalism, Honor, and Military Service in the U.S.-Mexico War.”  This well-attended event was followed by a reception and the announcement of the symposium’s lesson plan contest winners.  Congratulations to the following:

1st Place: Eduardo Hinojos, Americas High School

2nd Place: Aaron Waggoner, UTEP

3rd Place: Joanna Camacho Escobar, UTEP

Honorable Mention: Kevin Guay, UTEP

Many thanks to Sam Haynes and to all of those who submitted lesson plans and attended the symposium!


HTX - Final

Americas High School Spring Teaching Retreat

On Tuesday, March 15th, UTEP’s Center for History Teaching and Learning offered a full-day teacher institute for the social studies faculty at Americas and Eastlake High Schools.  The institute emphasized close interaction with scholars, the examination of primary sources, and the development of effective teaching strategies.  Thank you to all of the teachers in attendance and to the UTEP faculty who participated!


The U.S. War with Mexico Symposium and Lesson Plan Contest


To bring more awareness to an oft-forgotten war, UTEP’s Center for History Teaching and Learning and Humanities Texas are offering area teachers a lesson plan contest on the U.S. War with Mexico which will culminate in a one-day symposium and awards ceremony.  This event features a lecture and discussion on the U.S. War with Mexico led by Dr. Sam Haynes from the University of Texas at Arlington on April 9th.  This even is free and open to the public.  An awards ceremony and a reception will follow.   If you plan on attending the symposium and reception, please RSVP to Brad Cartwright at bjcartwright@utep.edu.




 Dr. Sam Haynes

“Why they Fought: Nationalism, Honor, and Military Service in the U.S.-Mexico War”

Saturday, April 9, 2016 @ 10:00 am

UTEP Liberal Arts Building, Room 323


Sam Haynes is the Director of UT-Arlington’s Center for Greater Southwestern Studies in May, 2009 and has served as a Center Fellow since coming to UT-Arlington in 1993. Specializing in 19th century Texas, the American Southwest, Manifest Destiny, and the U.S. War with Mexico, Haynes is the author of three books: Soldiers of Misfortune: The Somervell and Mier Expeditions (University of Texas Press: 1990), James K. Polk and the Expansionist Impulse (Longman: 1996), and Unfinished Revolution: The American Republic in a British World (University of Virginia Press: 2010).  In 2008 he served as the lead consultant for the History Channel’s two-hour documentary, “The Mexican War.”  He is currently the project director of “A Continent Divided:  the U.S.-Mexico War,” a website that seeks to digitize the holdings of the UT Arlington Library on the 1846-1848 war with Mexico: library.uta.edu/usmexicowar/index.php.




  • First Place – $150
  • Second Place – $100
  • Third Place – $50


All Lesson plans must:

  • be related to the U.S. War with Mexico.
  • be  authored by only one teacher.
  • include measurable objectives.
  • include list of the materials to be used, as well as copies of an necessary handouts.
  • include an approximation of the time involved.
  • include an explanation of the methods to be used and procedure of the lesson.
  • use of at least one primary source.
  • use original work and permission for any copyrighted materials .
  • be sent as one .pdf file to bjcartwright@utep.edu by April 5th, 2016.

 Each entry must be labeled with the following information:

  • Your name
  • Your complete mailing address
  • Your school
  • Your preferred phone number
  • Your e-mail address

Submissions become the property of UTEP’s Center for History Teaching and Learning (CHTL) and will be posted on its respective web sites, and/or shared via other forms of media.


Lessons will be judged by a panel of UTEP faculty members and winners will be selected based on creativity, classroom usefulness, and use of primary source materials.


Winning teachers will be notified by Wednesday, April 7th and awards will be presented at the CHTL’s U.S. War with Mexico Symposium on April 9th.


Need More Information?




This program was made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

EPCHS – CHTL History Writing Symposium

EPCHS-CHTL Writing Symposium Flyer

CHTL Hours – Spring 2016

Happy New Year!

The Center for History Teaching Learning is pleased to announce our operating hours for SPRING 2016. Please come by the Center’s Resource Room to check out a textbook, prepare for certification exams, or get advice!

Spring 2016: Monday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Tuesday 11:45 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Wednesday 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Thursday 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
Friday By appointment
Saturday Closed
Sunday Closed

Future Social Studies Teachers!

This past fall witnessed 23 undergraduate students at UTEP successfully complete HIST 4330: Teaching History/Social Studies.  This course serves as a capstone experience for pre-service secondary history and social studies teachers by uniting content knowledge and pedagogical skills. Congratulations!




Winter Teaching Workshop #2

The State of the History Survey: A Forum on Introductory History Courses

Thursday, January 14, 2016

LART 222 @ 10:00 am

The CHTL and the History Department are hosting aah forum titled “The State of the History Survey.” Designed to generate dialogue about history teaching and learning in the small and large class setting, this forum offers an opportunity for all history faculty and graduate students to come together and share their ideas and concerns about history teaching.  Coffee and lunch will be provided.

For information or to RSVP email bjcartwright@utep.edu.


CHTL featured in The Christian Science Monitor

Texas textbook vote highlights disputes over US history – and how to teach it

Jessica Mendoza | @_jessicamendoza
The Christian Science Monitor, November 20, 2015


Texas education officials nixed a proposal to let university experts check state textbooks for factual errors – reviving a long-simmering dispute over ideological bias in how history and science are taught in public schools.

Some Texas conservatives applauded the state Board of Education’s 8 to 7 decision Wednesday to stand by its current process, which relies on citizen panels to vet textbooks. Others, however, say the vote’s results are another example of how the nation’s increasingly polarized ideologies are affecting school curricula.

“This debate is almost entirely driven by ideology, as history is inherently political,” writes Brad Cartwright, director of the University of Texas at El Paso Center for History Teaching & Learning, in an e-mail. “Thus, people with differing political perspectives will nearly always disagree about the way history is presented.”

“Students should be made aware of the interpretative nature of historical study so they can understand the ways the past is used in the present,” he adds.

With more than 5 million students enrolled in its public schools, Texas is the nation’s second-largest textbook market, buying about 48 million books every year, according to the National Educational Association. When national publishers modify material to meet Texas standards, it affects textbooks used in other states.

“Texas is an enormous market. If I’m buying a book in Florida, it may be what people in Texas chose,” says Susan Griffin, executive director of the National Council for the Social Studies.

With so much at stake, the state’s textbooks – particularly in history and science – have sparked heated dispute. In 2014, debate erupted over perceived biases in the content of 104 new textbooks, “with some liberals crying foul over pro-Christian lessons and conservatives complaining of anti-American and pro-Muslim biases,” the Monitor’s Husna Haq reported.

Among the complaints from both parties were passages that depicted minimum wage as a controversial legacy of the New Deal, marginalized or lionized Reagan, downplayed the achievements of Hispanics, presented pro-Israeli arguments on Middle East conflicts, incorrectly depicted jihad, and overemphasized the influence of the Ten Commandments and other Christian tenets on the American Revolution.

The issue was revived in the run-up to Wednesday’s vote, as critics challenged the state board’s process for vetting textbooks – an approach that relies on review panels of parents, teachers, and other members of the public who are nominated by the board.

The process came under fire in October after a Houston-area mother complained that her son’s ninth-grade world geography book referred to African slaves as “workers.”

In response, Republican board member Thomas Ratliff proposed a measure that would bring in university experts to fact-check textbooks. The measure failed, with the board voting instead to require review panels to consist of “at least a majority” of people with “sufficient content expertise and experience” as determined by the state’s education commissioner, The New York Times reports.

For some, the decision reaffirmed the strength of the current system.

Those stirring up controversy “oppose the majority of Texans who believe in teaching [students] the values that make our country great,” says Roy White, a retired Air Force pilot and head of the conservative group Truth in Texas Textbooks.

But others worry that emphasis on ideology in textbook content discourages critical thinking in students.

“The board appoints [to the review panels] people that agree with their particular perspective. That’s been their tradition,” says Ms. Griffin of the NCSS. “Our students deserve better than being force-fed a perspective.”

Instead, she notes, “they have to learn how think,” which requires ways of teaching history that encourage more than rote memorization. The concept of historical thinking, for instance, invites students to seek primary historical documents for themselves, and analyze multiple accounts of the past to interpret historical events.

“The question is not, ‘What is the story of the past?’ That misses the point,” says Fritz Fischer, a professor of history and history education at the University of Northern Colorado. “History is about asking interesting questions about the past. Historical thinking teaches students how to use evidence to come to reality-based answers.”

By contrast, giving K-12 students access only to texts viewed as ideologically correct can be seen as taking advantage of students at an impressionable time in their lives, critics say.

“If you wanted a student to have a particular ideology, that’s the place to set it,” says Anthony Brown, associate professor at the Department of Instruction and Curriculum at the University of Texas at Austin.

To ensure an accurate and balanced approach, school boards and the review panels that vet textbooks must consist not only of a cross-section of educators in the subject matter, curriculum experts, and the public, but also individuals whose ideas cover a spectrum of political thought, critics say.

“Texas has excellent educators and administrators who are trained to creatively and effectively teach the state’s students; yet, their efforts are continually hindered by elected officials who lack the necessary training and knowledge to best serve our students,” writes Dr. Cartwright at El Paso.

“To move past these disputes, we need the experts to be at the center of the conversation,” he continues. “History teachers should be given the freedom to teach the interpretative and complex nature of the past in all of its contentious glory.”


CHTL-CISD Fall Teacher Institute

CHTL-CISD Fall Teacher Institute

On Wednesday, September 16th, UTEP’s Center for History Teaching and Learning offered a full-day teacher institute for the Canutillo Independent School District’s social studies faculty.  The institute emphasized close interaction with scholars, the examination of primary sources, and the development of effective pedagogical strategies.  Breakfast and lunch was provided and the event was graciously hosted by the Stanlee and Gerald Rubin Center for the Visual Arts.