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Socrates and the Battle for the Soul of America: An Online Institute for Social Studies Teachers

September 9, 2018 to October 21, 2018

Play the role of Socrates!

America’s soul is divided...
We see political divisions in our debates over gun control, and over the legitimacy of our law-enforcement institutions.
We see it in our historical arguments over immigration policies and the competing visions of what role America should play on the world stage.
We see it sociologically in our race relations and culture wars, which erupted in Charlottesville, and in the flourishing of the MeToo Movement.
And we feel it psychologically as we struggle with issues of gender identity and defining what it means to be an American.

In this course you will:

  • Design four compelling questions to help address divisions in American society;
  • Apply disciplinary tools to analyze those questions;
  • Evaluate and select sources relevant to the questions;
  • Craft four lessons to engage students in open dialogue to understand and take informed action when differences may arise.
  • Reflect upon the value of teacher/student questions and the challenges and possibilities of students taking informed action to improve society.

Who should register?

This course is relevant for middle and high school teachers of government/civics, US history, sociology and psychology. World history teachers are also welcomed to enroll and apply the course themes more broadly.

(Note: Since Google Classroom is used as the online learning platform, you must have an email account from Google to enroll.)

Cost: $389 member / $465 nonmember (includes 1 year NCSS membership). 

Optional graduate credit available at additional cost.*

* Two graduate credits are available at completion of the online institute for $100 per credit through Quincy University. 

Download the Course Syllabus Here




Instructor: Daniel Fouts

Since 1993, Dan has taught AP government, philosophy and US history in the Chicagoland area. He attained an undergraduate degree in political science and philosophy from Bradley University, as well as a M.S. in education and social policy from Northwestern University. Dan has served as a member of the committee on pre-collegiate instruction in philosophy through the American Philosophical Association from 2012-2016. Additionally, he has presented at several NCSS national conferences and currently works with NCSS to create and instruct online courses designed to help middle/high school teachers integrate Big Questions into their classrooms. Dan also manages a blog which showcases lessons and strategies aligned to inquiry-based instruction.

Twitter: @dmfouts