Episode 86: Discussing Historical Thinking Skills with Bruce A. Lesh

In Episode 86, Michael chats with Bruce A. Lesh about his book “Why wont you just tell us the answer?”: Teaching historical thinking in grades 7 – 12. Bruce fields questions from participants in a book club study with #sschat. In this interview, Bruce discusses the benefits of historical thinking, teacher prep, assessments and how to make a good historical investigation.

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Bruce Lesh

Books, articles, lessons, and other amazing resources

  1. Lesh, Bruce A. (2010). Why wont you just tell us the answer?”: Teaching historical thinking in grades 7 – 12. Portsmouth, NH: Stenhouse Publishing.
  2. Here are the introduction to historical thinking skills from Stanford Historical Education Group that were mentioned.
  3. Sloan, Kay and Saul Rockman (2011). National History Day works: Findings from the national program evaluation.
    1. Bruce mentioned this to highlight the academic skills that students get by participating in history day which focuses on historical thinking skills.
  4. Reisman, A. (2012). “Reading like a historian”: A document-based history curriculum intervention in urban high schools. Cognition and Instruction, 30(1), 86–112.


Bruce Lesh was a high school teacher and social studies department chair for twenty-two years in Baltimore County Public Schools, where he taught American history, world history, and Advanced Placement United States Politics and Government. A past president of the Maryland Council for the Social Studies and vice-chair of the National Council for History Education, Bruce published three units on teaching American history using primary sources through the Center for Learning. He has also been published several times in the OAH Magazine of History and written book reviews for The History Teacher. He cofounded and served as a member of the board of directors for the Center for History Education at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. In 2008 he was recognized as the precollegiate Teacher of the Year by the Organization of American Historians and in 2013 was named Maryland Secondary Social Studies Teacher of the Year.

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