Why Teach History?

A Website for James L. Smith


James L. Smith
is a writer and publisher who has 30 years experience as a history teacher and 18 years as an education consultant. Jim has made presentations to teachers throughout the United States, as well as in Europe and Asia, leading workshops and institutes designed to help students develop analytical thinking and writing skills. Jim has also made presentations on the general art of teaching and advanced topics in U.S. history. As a consultant for the College Board Jim has worked with over 2775 teachers on behalf of the Advanced Placement Program. In 2014 he taught a MOOC for Rice University titled "The Art of Teach History" that reached over 6700 teachers in 148 nations. During the time that Jim is not consulting or writing, he enjoys teaching community education classes on music history, as well as a variety of other topics.

Jim is the author of an American history textbook titled
Ideas That Shape a Nation, a book that has been endorsed by teachers and scholars throughout the nation, including two Pulitzer Prize-winning historians (David Kennedy and Jack Rakove). In 2013, his novel Catherine’s Son was selected as a finalist for the New Mexico-Arizona Book Award as best historical fiction. Jim is also the author of the books Skipper Hall and Flash Back, as well as numerous articles and book reviews in publications such as The Journal of Southern History, Phi Delta Kappan, AP Central, Historical Times, and Healthy U.

Jim has been a recipient of the James Madison Fellowship, the Christa McAuliffe Fellowship, and a two-time recipient of the William Robertson Coe Fellowship. He has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education (history and music) and two master’s degrees (history and government). The Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History has recognized Jim as the U.S. History Teacher of the Year. He has also been recognized as the New Mexico Teacher of the Year and a finalist for the National Teachers Hall of Fame.


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